Our Sean Beckingham dished on how to effectively speak to your audience through social media in the November/December issue of Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice News. Read on for tips on appealing to your target customer.
Social media is built on its human audience, a fact that is sometimes forgotten when brands set up their social media platforms. It’s important that your brand speaks directly to your customers. Ultimately, they’re the ones for whom you’re posting pictures of your scrumptious food. To appeal to your target demographic, our agency suggests picking a strong voice and sticking to it, having an inviting tone, and connecting with your audience.
Here’s how to sound more personable and less robotic when posting on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
Before you start a social media account, identify your target audience. Do you serve craft cocktails and bite-sized gourmet food that attract a young professional crowd? Maybe you’re a family restaurant that will be speaking to Mom and Dad. Your audience may encompass an entire geographical area or contain multiple target audiences. Once you isolate your demographic, you can start thinking about the tone of voice that directly speaks to your customers.
As the saying goes, it’s not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. Your tone must be consistent and make your audience feel comfortable while at the same time showcase your winning personality. One of the most influential factors in this area is language. You will have to decide if formal is most appropriate, or if a casual tone is a better fit. If you choose a more relaxed route, and want to add a little humour and spice to your social media feed, it will be important to continue to give your customers useful information about the menu or help with answering questions.
Colloquial terms and slang often speak directly to a younger audience. Home of the Brave restaurant in Toronto has a tone that is chock-full of cheeky, everyday sayings. A tweet promoting wing night describes the daily feature and includes a popular phrase along with an emoji. Smoque N’ Bones also has a strong social media presence due to their understanding of brand tone. Since their offerings consist of Southern Style BBQ, it was fitting to establish a Southern twang for their voice. This allows them to connect with their audience in a way that’s fun and approachable. Aleeza Balita, Branding & Buzzing’s community manager, expands on Smoque N’ Bones’ ethos, saying: “Because their menu is inspired by the four pillars of BBQ (Memphis, Texas, Kansas, and the Carolinas), we wanted it to have an authentic voice that was also relatable to people in Toronto. We thought of what Southern hospitality meant to us and conveyed it through our social media channels”. Smoque N’ Bones is successfully using “Y’all speak” to guide their content.
The content you post allows you to connect to your customers. One way to do this is to make your business more personable by posting “behind-the-scenes” images on Twitter or Facebook. Behind-the-scenes photos, especially pictures that contain your staff, are a good way to show your customers the human side of your brand. Thinking back to your chosen demographic, your target audience could be the difference between riffing on a trending meme or posting a Pinterest-worthy infographic. Remember, it’s hard to go wrong with a well-shot “#foodporn” picture.
You want your followers and customers to feel like they are conversing with a good friend, which will lead them to share content and feedback with you through your social media accounts. Part of that is posts that are conversational and inviting, while also interacting with customers that reach out to your brand. Participating in social listening (monitoring every time your brand is mentioned on social media) is an important tool in creating a well-run social media account and can give you “the information you need to jump in with a useful comment, propelling the conversation. You can also tailor your content to be more personal and engaging by listening first,” according to the Social Media Examiner website. A foolproof way to ace the human factor on social media is to “talk” like you would if you were chatting with a customer face to face in your restaurant; thank them for their feedback, listen to their concerns and attempt to find a resolution, and of course, invite them to come back. A little personality can go a long way when forming advocates and long-lasting relationships for your brand.