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In order for a business to have a successful social media strategy, it requires two things:

  1. Your offline customers need to join the conversation online.
  2. Your online fans need to make a purchase offline.

This is what I like to call the online/offline cycle of social media. It’s one thing to have hundreds or even thousands of fans on different social networks, but if they’re not coming into your store and spending money, you won’t ever see your ROI. And this goes the other way around too! How can you take your loyal customers, and bring them online to be an evangelist for your company? Without your current customers’ recommendation, how will you be able to grow your online presence?

How to use the Online/Offline Cycle of Social Media for your restaurant

*Disclaimer: These are just ideas that I have, I did not actually try this. That being said, they are still solid ideas, and have great potential to work! Enjoy :)*

Let’s say your restaurant is starting to get a few followers on Facebook, but you can’t seem to get these fans to try your food. An example of what you could do to get your fans into the restaurant is get one of the social media managers to send a ‘message’ to every new follower, thanking them and telling them that you would love for s/he to come try your food! You could also provide them with some sort of coupon like this:

Now this could be tricky, because if that social media manager is not friends with the person on Facebook, the message they send will end up in the ‘other’ folder in the Facebook inbox. You could post something like this on your wall once a week: “Hey everyone! We would like to thank all new followers for ‘Liking’ our page! Make sure to check out your ‘other’ message inbox, as one of our company representatives has sent you a gift! 🙂 Have a great day!” And then post a picture of where you want them to check for your message:

One of the great things about having a personalized coupon (which would only take a few minutes to create using a Photoshop template), is that you know exactly who ended up using their coupon once they present it to the waiter/waitress. You can then take that coupon, and send a personal thank you ‘message’ to the person – something like this: “We would like to take the time to thank you Daniel for coming to taste our food! We hope that you enjoyed your experience at Acme Restaurant, and would love to hear any comments or recommendations you may have! :)”

Now that you have your online fans coming into your restaurant, you need to get your offline fans to promote you online. Have your waiter/waitress ask the customers if they have smart phones on them. If the customer says yes, say that if they will publicly recommend you on Facebook and like your page, right there and then, that they can receive a free dessert (like apple pie). Most people won’t have a problem with this. And if they simply don’t want to, they just won’t receive free pie! If all of your employees know about your social media strategy, and they make an effort to push it, this type of strategy should work.

What kind of strategies have you used to bring your online fans offline? What type of strategies have you used to bring your offline customers online? Please leave your comments bellow! 🙂