Have you already established your restaurant’s social strategy?
Yes? Great. It’s now time to decide: do you carry it out yourself or outsource your restaurant’s social media management?
Social media is a ball game of its own.
And it’s not everyone’s game of choice.
An increasing number of businesses are starting to outsource this operation. Reasons for outsourcing vary – not enough time, no resources, or simply the lack of expertise on the ins-and-outs of social media.
Regardless of whether you want to DIY or hire someone else, there is no escaping social media.
Users of all ages and demographics get most of their information from the internet. If you’re nowhere to be found on social media today, that isn’t good news for your restaurant.
Granted – you understand this.
But are you confident enough to make your social media profiles shine? Are you already aware of how much work social media management requires?
If you’re on-the-fence about whether you should stick to handling your restaurant’s own social media or outsource it, consider these few factors:
Do You Have Enough Time in a Day to Manage Your Restaurant’s Social Media Accounts?
Ideally, you’d like to spend 1-2 hours on managing your restaurant’s social media yourself.
Realistically, however, you need to be more hands-on than that.
Imagine if you devote one hour in the morning (say, 9am) and another in the afternoon (say 2pm) to check the social media accounts you’ve set up.
Now, if a customer requests some information around 3.30pm, this would mean they would have to wait more than 12 hours to receive a reply.
And if you’ve been in the F&B industry long enough, you know you don’t want to keep a customer waiting.
The scenario above showcases just one part of social media management – maintaining conversations. The reality, however, is that managing social media entails many other day-to-day tasks.
It’ll require you to invest a sizeable amount of time into:
- Developing and posting content
- Maintaining consistency in voice and frequency of interaction
- Engaging in conversations with customers
- Tracking brand mentions, goals and growth
- Keeping up to date and banking on latest trends and updates
And this is just an overview.
Let’s breakdown each of these tasks for you so you have a better idea of the work involved.
Did you know? In Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, it was reported that 63% of marketers spend more than six hours per week on social media.
Develop a Constant Stream of Content Ideas
It takes effort to come up with a regular flow of content for social media.
Many business owners struggle with this.
Even though there are numerous types of content that you can post, and a truckload of content ideas for your restaurant, the challenge is to find time to put these together.
The content development process starts with planning what you want to do. Come up with an editorial calendar that breaks down what you post and when you post it.
Once you know have an overview, you’ll have to start creating these content:
- Thinking of banking on the #throwbackthursday hashtag? Find content from your archives.
- Displaying your menu or promotional offers? Take photographers of your dishes or restaurant front, edit them, add your logo and post.
- Want to share customer-generated content? Continue encouraging your audience to tag you on their photos.
- Planning to cash in on the demand for video content? Find time to record videos, edit them and post them up.
Then there’s trending topics that you need to keep up with. If a popular person in the media makes a funny comment, businesses like to cash in by creating promotions that revolve around such current issues.
Another example of doing this is via festive ideas that are fun, engaging and have the right call-to-action to convert your customers, just like Pizza Hut has done.
An abundance of content ideas is great. But if this is your first time running a social media account, it may feel a little overwhelming.
Pro-tip: Make a list of content that you already have and what you’re confident with producing. Work on your editorial calendar at least 3 months in advance.
Ensure You’re Keeping a Consistent Posting Schedule
When planning and producing content, you need a brand voice and visuals that are consistent. This makes it easy for your audience to identify you on any platform.
And it doesn’t just stop there. It isn’t only the messaging that you give across to your customers that need to be consistent.
- Does your restaurant have multiple locations? Your social media promotions must be consistent for all outlets.
- The frequency of posting on individual social media accounts should also be consistent. If you’re new to this, trial and error time-slots and optimize them within your first three months so you find what fits best for your audience.
- Do you have a color scheme for your restaurant? Try to find colors that complement these colors when designing visuals for your feed.
You probably have multiple social media accounts and think – oh, I can just create one message and push it to all my platforms.
Unfortunately, the consensus on doing so says otherwise. Auto-posting (scheduled posts using third-party tools) that cross-post the same update across all platforms may ruin your efforts of keeping your social media accounts error-free.
The result? You need to be more hands-on when it comes to posting content on your social media.
Pro-tip: Believe in the power of documentation. Write down the characteristics of your brand (funny or formal, high-end or fast-food?). This way, even if you decide to outsource your social media management, the brand’s personality stays consistent. Jot down the preferred timings for your audience after trial and error to regularly upload posts during these peak periods.
Engagement Needs to Form the Center of Your Campaigns
Great content and great timing aren’t enough if you don’t take it a step further and engage with your customers.
Some of the easiest ways you can engage with your customers are by:
- Replying to comments and messages
- Responding to their reviews (positive or negative)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Engagement methods can be as simple as the above or as time-consuming as running competitions, promotions, loyalty programmes, and even advertising campaigns.
It’s this aspect of social media that runs round-the-clock. Even if you decide to upload photos on Facebook once a day, your comments and messages can come at any time of the day or week.
Pro-tip: Use tools like jumper’s chatbot feature to make it easier for your customers to talk to you and place orders via social media.
Staying on Top of Your Ongoing Monitoring & Analytics
If you’ve already set your goals, you’ll know which metrics you need to monitor (e.g. clicks, likes, follows etc).
The issue here isn’t that there aren’t enough tools to measure performance. It’s the excessive amount of information that needs decoding. Making sense of the large numbers and data graphs can be overwhelming.
Monitoring analytics is more laborious than it is difficult.
Plus, social media tools give you more than just numbers on your posts’ performances.
These numbers help you understand what your audience wants. A good analytics tool like Google Analytics can provide insight on keywords to work with. You can use this data to improve your social media postings.
For instance, jumper can provide insights on your customers that’ll make it easier for you re-engage them.
On top of that, with constant changes in algorithms, you’ll need someone who is constantly updated with the latest in social media technology to ensure that you stay ahead of competitors.
Pro-tip: Play around with the top tools of the trade first before you decide if you want to do it yourself or engage an external social media consultant.
Can You Afford to Outsource Your Restaurant’s Social Media Management?
Now that you know how much time it requires, you have a better understanding of how much you can do yourself or need to outsource.
If all the tasks above feel overwhelming, go ahead outsource them to a social media agency or freelancer consultant.
Finding someone to run your restaurant’ssocial media isn’t difficult.
But how do you decide whether the price is right or not?
Factors to Consider Before Hiring Social Media Help:
- Job scope: Which aspects of your social media marketing do you want to outsource? If budget is a concern, choose specific tasks that you have less expertise in and get a professional to sort it out.
- Expertise: How much knowledge of social media platforms specific to your business does this person possess? Have they worked with clients similar to your cuisine or locality?
- Reliability: Read through testimonials and reviews. Understand how often you can contact them in a day (e.g. their working hours).
- Deliverables: Establish expectations for weekly deliverables – make them monthly when are more comfortable working with them. Break down deliverables to tasks such as “How many posts a week?”, “How many new users or new followers in a month?” Set KPIs early.
- Cost: Are you being charged hourly, monthly or a retainer? According to Upwork, the price will depend on the amount of work you outsource and the number of profiles and hours that the consultant will spend.
If you get the right kind of help you need, and if the price is right, go for it.
Pro-tip: Not sure where to find a social media consultant or agency? Ask around for referrals. Find social media that you like within your locality and find out who runs them. Alternatively, search for profiles on LinkedIn or Google.
Taking the Best from Both Worlds
You now know that managing your restaurant’s social media profiles takes time and effort.
You also know that if you don’t want to do it yourself, you will have to pay someone else to do it. Money that you may not have if your establishment is new and still solidifying your place in the F&B industry.
If you still want to do it yourself but not spread yourself too thin, find the middle path.
If you have the time, budget, and experience, consider hiring someone in-house.
If you’re looking to get some help but not have a full-timer help you, hire a freelancer or outsource specific social media tasks to an agency.
Whatever your choice, pick and choose the areas that you cannot manage:
- For instance, when it comes to content – hire a graphic designer on an ad-hoc basis. Or for monitoring purposes, get a social media consultant to give you monthly reports.
- You can also choose to outsource the management of a specific platform – maybe just Instagram instead of Facebook.
- Outsource tasks that don’t need your brand voice, but are just as important to get that voice across.
Remember: even if you outsource, don’t mistake it for a quick fix.
You will still need to keep your consultant in the loop of what’s happening in your business from time to time, e.g. promotions, changes in operational hours, new location, team updates, positive/negative reviews from outside of social media, links to articles your restaurant is mentioned in, events you will be participating in.
Communication is key.
Making Your Final Decision
Social media requires a lot attention to detail.
You can get away without being “live” on social media 24/7, but you need to be active at regular intervals – enough to make customers confident about purchasing from you.
Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else, always go back to your social strategy to stay aligned to your social goals.
And have fun while you’re at it.
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