Your customers are online – you should be too
Just like F&B businesses can take on many different forms and styles, there is no single solution to online engagement for food-related businesses.
That said, there are a handful of steps any F&B business owner can take to boost engagement over digital channels. Consider this checklist your starting point for using online engagement to deliver a great customer experience.
If the goal of your business is to provide a great customer experience for your customers, then the ultimate goal here is to bring a personal touch to your F&B business’ online presence (check out the examples from Pieology Pizzeria’s Facebook page!) These are the 6 checklist items for using online engagement to deliver a great customer experience:
- Reply to Reviews Religiously, Good and Bad
- Ask Your Audience Questions (and respond!)
- Feature Customer Photos
- Turn Social Media Into a Communication Channel
- Make Sure Your Online Presence is Complete
- Get Creative With Special Offers
#1: Reply to Reviews Religiously, Good and Bad
Review sites aren’t just a way for new customers to find your locale – they are a fantastic medium for engaging with those who have already paid you a visit.
Thank customers for a positive review, and authentically respond to feedback in negative reviews. Good reviews and bad reviews don’t matter in this arena as much as showing that you care.
#2: Ask Your Audience Questions (and respond!)
Content marketing is a two-way street these days. Instead of simply posting your weekly specials, ask your customers what they want to see on the menu for the summer. You can create a poll or ask followers to leave a comment – anything that requires a response. The key here is to actually implement the feedback that you receive.
Getting comments and responding is a way to build word-of-mouth
Live video is also a great way to build engagement by involving customers. For example, a live video tour of the kitchen will do volumes more for engagement than a photo of your daily special.
#3: Feature Customer Photos
People trust customer perspectives more than branded content – it’s as simple as that. F&B businesses have a unique opportunity to bring a customer-generated visual element to their online content.
Ask customers to post their photos of a recent event or of your weekly special – the interaction will speak volumes for those just coming across your business.
It helps to build a sense of community as well
Many restaurants post a menu on their social media profile or website and call it a day. If you’re looking for online engagement, make sure your customers know they can communicate you without picking up the phone.
One idea: make your goal to have that “typically replies instantly” badge popup on Messenger.
And, of course, try to avoid the most common social mistakes made by restaurants – and fix it if you can!
#5: Make Sure Your Online Presence is Complete
Speaking of a web presence, having both a social media presence and a website is a great place to be in – but linking them is just as important. Make sure you include the basics: your address, contact number, reservations and opening hours.
Make the website functional, leave the fancy to the food and decor
Make sure customers can easily find your menu, contact you, leave reviews and submit orders. Including social buttons on your website and a link to your website on your social profiles is a good place to start.
#6: Get Creative With Special Offers
Asking your customers questions goes beyond passive posts, and introducing special offers on social channels brings the whole experience down to earth.
For starters, you can offer customers who come into your physical location a 10% discount for leaving an online review. You can also publish incentives for shared posts or correct answers to quiz questions directly on your F&B business profile.
Need inspiration? Here are 31 examples of loyalty rewards you can offer
Checklist: 6 Ways to Use Online Engagement to Deliver A Great Customer Experience for F&B
Again, the goal in completing this checklist is to bring a more personal approach to your interactions with customers. Make sure you incorporate your own touch to these suggestions!