Top 2017 Restaurant Marketing Lessons & 2018 Channels To Invest In From Tangoo Talks Ep. 5
Tangoo Talks is run by the restaurant community for the community and revolves around successful restaurateurs serving up expert advice on how to make your restaurant more popular.
In episode five we took time to reflect on 2017 and make predictions on where restaurant marketing is going in 2018.
We linked up a panel of all-star restaurant industry professionals included:
- Daryl Louie, Co-Founder & CEO at AntiSocial Media Solutions;
- Zach Berman, Co-Founder & Co-Owner at Juice Truck;
- Josh Boettcher, Instagram Influencer & Nativ Media Ambassador
- Ian Bruce, Founder at Umaluma
To kick off the night, the CEO’s of Tangoo and Ready App presented Trend Reports on the online and technology worlds.
Panel Learnings & Takeaways:
- Top lessons from 2017
- Key tips on making sure your content rocks
- The most important social media channels and media to invest in 2018
- Why you need to get serious about your newsletter and optimize your website
Can you tell us the top marketing lessons you’ve learned in 2017?
Daryl: Two things.
Stay away from trending topics if it is controversial at all and anything that would offend the majority of people.
One of our bar clients in Toronto uses humour as their content strategy.
When Caitlyn Jenner won the award for Woman of the Year, a bartender – who was looking after the content – posted something controversial about it.
Now if you Google that bar, it would be the top entry. So do not post anything controversial even though a lot of people talk about it or if you think it’s funny.
If someone else is managing your social for you, instruct them right off the gig, these are subjects you stay away from – period.
Secondly, invest in people who are running your digital for you. Invest in your relationship with them and their knowledge of what makes your business, your product and your service better than the other people.
Resource properly and incentivize your team.
Ian: When I thought about launching Umaluma, it wasn’t, “Oh, we’re going to service the vegan community” – I always had a broader vision for food. Anybody who likes ice cream will like Umaluma too.
Just after we launched in July, I was so shocked by the response from the vegan community.
Someone pointed out that we claimed to be a 100% plant-based. They had an issue with that because we used honey in four of our flavours.
I go – oh wait a minute, really? Honey isn’t plant-based?
I was just so naïve about what people were sensitive about. My initial response is to that those few initial post was, I wouldn’t say defensive but it was, yeah what’s wrong with that?
People have felt really strongly about this.
I had someone call me offensive. I started getting one-star reviews or people claiming they would not come anymore.
Imagine this – you’re running a business, people seem really happy, they seem to enjoy the product, and then there’s some nasty stuff going on online. And every day I just wake up looking at Instagram, or looking on Facebook just cringing.
Finally, I took down the 100% moniker and just left it at “plant-based”. I wrote this long apology, for being defensive, and it instantly had the effect on people accepting it and moving on. But it went on for three weeks. This was really painful.
So be aware of, if you don’t want that kind of reaction, be very careful what you say, and how you say it.
Zach: Whether you’re on the food side, or on the customer side, there’s always an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a memorable positive one.
Yelp is hard because there’s not a high response rate from there. However on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or emails, we are always able to take your opinion.
It’s impossible to keep everybody happy, like no matter what you do, you think you’re doing something great – someone’s going to think otherwise.
Sometimes negative experiences have turned into our most loyal customers. Just by listening to them, hearing them out, and then try to talk about what went wrong.Sometimes negative experiences have turned into our most loyal customers. Just by listening to them, hearing them out, and then try to talk about what went wrong. - Zach Berman Click To Tweet
If you’re on the customer side, it’s actually really helpful and positive to hear that criticism as long as it’s not an attack.
But as a restaurant owner, we want to hear all of the bad stuff because that’s how we improve our business.
Do you have any tips regarding content? Whether that be in content creation or strategy.
Daryl: Plan your content.
By that I mean like on a monthly basis, you sit down with the people that are running your digital and you map out this month, I need to highlight a menu item, import a menu rollout, I need to hire five people, and we’re sponsoring an event.
It saves you time and saves you shared resources.
If you’re sitting there trying to figure out what to post at 12 o’clock because it’s lunchtime – You’re like, oh, come down #lunchtime. If you want the person handling your social posting as things happen, they’re wasting 50 percent more of their time. That’s your resources.
Once you plan your content with someone who runs the marketing, you can be rest assured.
It does require an hour or two every month to sit down with your team. Or if it’s just you, sit down and write down everything that you’re doing as a business. Then you will know your communication/marketing objectives are being met.
That’s the very core basic of marketing.
Ian: To me, marketing is an experiment. Does this work, or does this work better?
What I saw early on, was that it’s the very basic stuff.
When someone influential like Ryan or Zach posted about Umaluma, we got 48 new sign-ups, in an hour. Not just likers, I mean followers. When Erin Ireland and I did a post, suddenly there was a lineup. It translated into people coming in, cheering us, and buying our products.
Midway through the summer towards fall, my staff told me the content needs to be more curated and higher quality. I went away on a couple of business trips and they took over.
They’ve gotten some good results and have gone on to create an actual plan.
The great part about social media, even if you hire someone to help you, it’s really not that expensive relative to print, television, radio. You really don’t need a big budget. Maybe a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars.Great part about social media, even if you hire someone to help you, it’s really not that expensive relative to print, television, radio. You really don’t need a big budget.-Ian Bruce Click To Tweet
So my approach was to try and learn. I’m not a very curated kind of guy. Just doing natural stuff. And it worked just to a point. The next step is to experiment with more technical aspects.
Zach: Whether you’re an influencer or a business, identify your filters and your values.
Be consistent with them.
If I’m going to hire an influencer or give them some product, I will look at their thread, their feed, their consistency and their value. If they’re saying that they’re a mindful yogi and all their pictures are of them wasted in a bar, they’re not aligned with what they’re representing.
We want our values and cultures to be transparent in our posts. If it doesn’t check those boxes, we usually don’t post it.
Sometimes we do go outside the box and it’s an exciting thing. It can be a good thing. But other times it can confuse followers, like, what is this?
I did our social media myself for the first six or so years. We just hired someone to run it. In our store, our staff interacts with one person at a time. But our social media is interacting with potentially forty thousand people with a post.
I spend more time with our social media manager than any other staff.In our store, our staff interacts with one person at a time. But our social media is interacting with potentially forty thousand people with a post. I spend more time with our social media manager than any other staff. - Zach Berman Click To Tweet
There are a ton of platforms out there now. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – a bunch! What are the top social channels and media you think are worth investing in 2018?
I don’t have a long attention span, so I want everything delivered as quick as possible.
I do like scrolling through Instagram, just be able to like and if something catches my eye, I’ll stop and read the full comment section.
As an influencer, one of the most unique ways to promote a business was when we were given a personal QR code.
We would post it on our own Instagram Stories and people would have 24 hours to screenshot it and they could go into a restaurant to redeem the 2 for 1 deal.
Not only was it fun for us, because we were engaging with our audience, but you can hear from the restaurant that these people came in and they’ve used my specific code.
It was more than a tasting. I wanted to do more than go to a restaurant and eat.
Zach: Instagram and Facebook are the two biggest drivers currently. Like we do twitter but it’s more like maintaining it than like driving for it.
I love listening to what young people are into.
All the young people talk about these days are video.
We are not dialed into video at all right now. I know that if that’s where young people are interested in, that’s what we need to invest our resources and time in.
We’re not there yet but we are thinking about doing a Youtube channel and more shareable Facebook videos that are under a minute long.
I’ve used Snapchat a lot until Instastories.
We worked so hard to build our followers in Snapchat and then it just dropped off once Instastories came out.
We simply followed the followers and we’re now only on Instastories and stopped using Snapchat.
Daryl: Videos are definitely the number 1 driver.
Let’s say all you guys are all moving forward with a budget towards video. I would be investing in different types of video content.
If you look at Instagram vs. Instastories vs. Facebook, all these platforms are trying to own different types of media. Facebook’s trying to own the square video. Instagram trying to own the fullscreen vertical video.
Make sure that you’re negotiating different video dimensions as part of your deal.
So that one piece of video content that may cost $5,000 to $10,000, you don’t come out only getting one type of video.
That might require a little bit more money too because honestly to cut those video dimensions is labour and man hour.
Always invest money in a prize that you give away to your consumers every single month.
Put a budget aside where you can give away a gift card, a product, or service every single month.
Then pair it with a contest for your social media program.
It rewards the people who are sharing your content. It rewards your followers who are helping you reach 40,000 people every day. You should be rewarding this audience group if they’re the ones who are spreading the word and giving quality word of mouth.Always invest money in a prize that you give away to your consumers every single month. You should be rewarding this audience group if they’re the ones who are spreading the word and giving quality word of mouth. - Daryl Louie of AntiSocial… Click To Tweet
Also pair that contest with a video. You will get way more views on the video.
Or pair that contest with a marketing initiative that connects to your seasonal promotion.
You’re going to get much more organic reach, higher engagement and you’re gonna reward your community all-in-one.
I’d also say Snapchat is good for like a 15 and under. We don’t include it in any of our pitches unless the client specifically asks for it.
No one is going to Instastory live and then awkwardly switch apps and Snapchat live.
Any innovation that comes through Facebook in terms of reporting, the way the content is deployed or its metrics, Instagram will follow.
Even though social media is all the buzz these days, what about email and websites?
Zach: We don’t send newsletters out enough.
When we do, the conversion rates go through the roof. It’s the channel that has given us the highest conversion.We don’t send newsletters out enough. When we do, the conversion rates go through the roof. It's the channel that has given us the highest conversion. - Zach Berman Click To Tweet
We spend the least amount time with newsletters. I’m trying to remind myself to do it at least once a month.
Whether people open it or not, it’s delivered 100%.
It comes down to your subject line. Is it interesting enough to get somebody to open? Usually, a little bait like a sale will get them to interested in the email.
For instance, we did a Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale blast even though our mailing list is not that great.
It’s like around 6,000.
Around 5300 people opened it and we ended up selling 300 items that cost between $100 – $500.
We were really happy with the conversion rate.
Daryl: Websites get invested in the least. Specifically in the food and beverage industry.
Which is too bad.
If you don’t have a good website, you’re turning people away.Websites get invested in the least. Specifically in the food and beverage industry. If you don’t have a good website, you’re turning people away. - Daryl Louie of AntiSocial Solutions Click To Tweet
Every extra action your consumer has to take after seeing an image of your menu item to get into your website, to make a reservation or buy a gift card – 50% of people leave right there. Which is crazy.
You just got to simplify the process.
Tangoo Talks Episode 5 had an awesome panel that shared some of the lessons they’ve learned in 2017 and gave their suggestions on what channels to invest more resources in 2018.
To be featured as a future panelist or sponsor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at Tangoo Talks Episode 6 in March 2018!