LinkedIn is an established social network with more than 200 million users that focuses on building business to business relationships but it can be a very valuable resource for a restaurant marketing plan, the most important thing is to know where and how to use it for your advantage. Business clients in the end are the most who spend on lunches and restaurants as companies and as individuals inside a company.
To start , you must have a LinkedIn profile, then you must add your restaurant as a company with a profile, this will establish your restaurant presence on LinkedIn. Always remember to link back to your restaurant website, or what we call the home base on the internet virtual estate.
Then you must fill your company profile with relevant information like your most recent menu, your opening hours, your happy hours and your specials. Highlight things that could be of interest to companies and corporate account like the ability to host lunches, gatherings, and the ability to offer corporate discounts. Explain in details what you can offer not just stating them in bullets and if you have delivery or catering tell them to where you can deliver and what could be offered.
Creating a group for your restaurant could add more interaction with your potential clients, where you can communicate directly with them, large corporate accounts are always seeking to offer something new and affordable for the employees and for their clients, especially during product launches and business gatherings, offer them to come and sample your food and your service, you can offer an incentive to join the group.
Join other groups of local business owners and network with them, promote your restaurant offerings in other groups as posts or directly to other people in your network , always have something new to offer, like a new free complimentary dish. Imagine you are speaking to them in person and selling them to visit your restaurant.
LinkedIn is a valuable source for media relationship building, remember that media and press people are always on the lookout for new ideas, new locations to talk about, and about new features, connect with them directly or indirectly through other groups.
You must build the relationship first and then promote, working the other way will be shouting in a crowded place, while the first is to whisper to someone who is already listening to you.
Another way to reach beyond your immediate network is to use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates which will make you go further in your involvement where you can focus your offering to a target niche who could be of interest to you, or you can go with an advertising plan targeted to your market.
Your presence on LinkedIn is not an island, your information and posts should be cross shared with other social networks that you are already on, like Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and YouTube. Cross share and interconnect your messages and points of contacts will increase your perimeter to where your potential clients could interact and connect with you, and remember that the more exposed, the more the chances you have to be noticed and remembered.
Do you have any other ideas on how to use LinkedIn? we would like to hear your input.
Could LinkedIn Be A Weapon In Your Restaurant Marketing Arsenal by Akram Sabra