In today’s article, we’re going to uncover how to engage your customers and then how to turn that into something powerful for your restaurant. First, though, let’s decipher the term, “customer engagement.”
Customer engagement is simply the emotional connection your customers have with your restaurant. Bottomline, customer engagement is the relationship they have with your business.
The whole reason you market to your customers and your target audience is to build relationships with them. You hope these strong relationships will make people choose your restaurant over the competition. Engaged customers come back time and time again, and they tell their friends and family to dine with you.
Since it is so important, let’s look at five types of customer engagement and how to use them to your advantage.
#1: Use Your Brand Voice
Does your restaurant have its own personality? If not, it should. You want your restaurant brand to look, sound, and feel a certain way. This should be reflected not only in your restaurant but across the digital sphere as well.
Your brand voice is unique to you, and it’s what attracts and engages your customers. (tweet this) Therefore, you want your brand voice to be relatable to your customers. It should also be something they remember and something they want to respond to.
Your brand voice may be playful, authentic, serious, formal, humorous, or something else altogether – you get to decide. You want your customers to look to you for leadership and even for advice. For example, if your pizza tastes better with locally sourced mozzarella, make sure to share it with your customers in a way that sounds just like your brand.
#2: Leverage Social Media
This is where you can shine and encourage customer engagement while fostering relationships with current and future customers.
It’s a must for most businesses, including your restaurant, to be posting on at least one social media platform throughout the week. In addition, most marketers know how important social media is, especially for customer engagement.
The first thing you want to do to engage people on social media is to respond to all of their comments. This means responding to both positive and negative comments. Let people know you care and are interested in what they have to say.
Next, you want to post regularly, consistently, and frequently. While you don’t have to post every single day, consider posting at least five times a week. You want to have a content strategy in place so you are posting content that people care about and want to engage with.
Finally, start conversations with your customers. Invite their comments and use interactive content.
#3: Harness the Power of Video
Don’t underestimate the power of video to build strong relationships and engage customers. It’s one of the most powerful ways to reach people.
You can use videos on your website, in your emails, on YouTube, and on your social media platforms.
When creating videos, you want to tell a story, teach people something they want to learn, and also make them laugh. These strategies are great for engagement.
#4: Use Contests
You can use contests to your advantage to have some healthy, friendly competition. You can advertise these on your website, email marketing, and social media. (tweet this)
There are many options with contests and giveaways to draw people in and engage them. For example:
Have a contest to name a new dish.
Host a contest, and the winner receives a free entry.
You might even host a contest asking people to vote for the dish they would most like to see added to your menu.
Host your contests strategically, and make sure your giveaways are something people are interested in. If you do it right, you’ll engage people on an ongoing basis as they are always looking forward to your next contest.
#5: Use SMS Texting
Texting your customers is a great way to engage them and stay on their minds. For example, you may have signed up for text messages with a brand you like. They send you a text every day, and you engage with it.
You can do the same with your restaurant, offering tips, specials, and more through texting.
Did you know that texts have an open rate of 98%, which surpasses even email marketing? Texting your audience is a personal way to engage them and build your relationship with them. If you aren’t using it, now is a great time to start.
Make sure also to use text messaging to let people know things like when their takeout order is ready or when their table is ready. You can also use software to send customers a thank you text after they’ve eaten at your restaurant.
The possibilities with texting are endless!
Final Thoughts on Customer Engagement
The goal of customer engagement is quite simple. You want to offer value to your customers that goes beyond your food. You want to build a relationship with them to keep them coming back.
For example, a customer, Bob Smith, is first attracted to your restaurant for the food. He may come back a second time because it was so delicious. But on his second visit, he was recognized by his server from the first visit. The server welcomed him and rolled out the red carpet.
Bob is so happy he joined your email list and follows your YouTube and Instagram accounts. He sees your content all the time. Bob loves your food so much that he pays particular attention when your chef shows viewers how to make his favorite appetizer.
Bob is hooked and engaged. You have offered him something of value inside your restaurant as well as online. You’ve gone above and beyond the great food and excellent service.
Your customer engagement marketing has worked. Bob is an engaged customer. He goes on to engage his friends and family by telling them about your restaurant. He shares your content on his social media pages, and now his friends are engaged, too.
You can see how customer engagement is a powerful tool and one you can put into practice right now!
At Restaurant Engine, we create websites that increase your customer engagement. You can count on us to create a website that engages customers through brand storytelling. Let us help you make the perfect site that draws customers in, improves customer engagement and your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business! Ready to take the plunge and create a new website? Get your free website consultation today!