Having been in social media for quite a while, I have come to have a little bit of experience with how a website is set up. As a customer, like every other customer, there is often information that I need from a business that I intend to…well…do business with. Being involved with the food industry, I am frequently invited to restaurant openings and events of that kind.
I have to confess, that nothing frustrates me more that visiting the website of a restaurant that I plan to eat at, and not being able to find any good information about it. Or worse, finding out that they don’t even have a website, and merely rely on Facebook as their only online presence. Why!?!?
So here’s a list of a few things I would suggest if you are a business owner – restaurant or otherwise:
Do not rely solely on Facebook as your online presence
I can not stress this enough and for a cornucopia of reasons, and here are a couple of them: Facebook limits who can see your updates. The whole point of putting yourself out there is to get customers engaged in what you have to say. If the only source you have for connecting with your customers, limits your ability for them to even see what you have to say, what is the point? When you post updates to Facebook, on a good day you are lucky if 10% of your followers (those who have “liked” your business’ page) even see your posts. Unless you pay Facebook to show it to them.
Additionally, many people are not on Facebook. I personally know several people who have not, and never will have a Facebook account. Think of all those potential customers that you could have reached, if only you had a website!
Keep it Clean, Keep in Modern
The design of your website should be clean and easy to find things. Don’t clutter it up with a bunch of random images or text. Be intentional about what you share. Make it easy to find whatever information your customers could possibly need. The internet has been around a long time now (I know, I’ve been a webmaster for nearly two decades!) but your website shouldn’t look like it was created in 1998.
Use a modern design that is mobile friendly. That way when customers search for you on their smart phones, they can actually read your website.
Choose your Social Media Platforms Wisely
I know there is a never ending list of social media platforms out there. Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat. The list goes on and on. You do not, I repeat, do not have to be on all of them. But if you are on social media, you must maintain engagement with your customers and post updates regularly. If I look a business up on Twitter, and see that they haven’t posted an update in three weeks, I’m not going to bother following them. There’s no point, because they aren’t active.
Make sure that when you do have a social media account, that there is someone who monitors that account regularly. And by regularly, I don’t mean once a week, or even once a day. If a customer asks a question, “I know it’s a holiday, but are you open today?” – there needs to be a person to answer that question quickly. Statistics show that customers actually expect a response to social media queries within an hour! If you don’t answer their questions right away, they’ll take their business somewhere else.
You don’t have to be on every social media outlet there is, but choose the one(s) that fit you best, and be as active as you possibly can on those.
The Contact Details
Nothing frustrates me more than when I go to a website and have to search and search for a way to contact the business, or how to find them. Phone numbers, addresses or some means of communication should always be readily available.
Some time ago, I was going to an event at a restaurant, and I looked up their website to find out where they were located and to see what they had to offer. I found the site in an internet search, but when I went to the site it was a huge disappointment. The page had nothing more than a cartoon person, their hours, address and phone number. there was no menu, no photos, nothing to draw me in as a customer. The internet is very visual. I’m not saying that a restaurant should photograph every single item on their menu, but featuring images of their top dishes would go a long way. Remember half of our appetite gets started with our eyes!
But the worst part about that particular restaurant’s site, was that the restaurant said it was hard to find. But rather than providing a map, or even a strip map, they said to call and find out how to get there. There are a lot of people who hate to talk on the phone. Don’t make them call you to find out how to get to your restaurant. Not when it takes seconds to include a map of your location.
If you have a business with a physical location for customers to come to, please, please make it as easy as possible for people to find you.
Proofread Your Content
I know nobody is perfect, and typos happen. We are all human. But when you have a business website, take the time to proofread all of the text you put on there. Look for spelling errors, grammatical errors, and for heaven’s sake use some punctuation. If you don’t trust your own editing skills, have someone that you do trust look over your site before you publish it. You want the writing to be clean and able to be understood. Customers do not want to have to try interpret what you meant to say, and you certainly don’t want to misrepresent your business in any way. Typos can be dangerous! What if you put the wrong price for your product, or gave out the wrong address? Double check and triple check it. It’s worth it.
Have a suggestion that you would like to give to restaurants or other businesses? Share them in the comments below!