How to Protect Your Restaurant’s Online Brand
Have you checked out what customers are saying about your restaurant online? There are probably plenty of good comments from people who loved your food and were happy with their service. But what do you do when the online response is less than favorable? Bad reviews, negative tweets, and unhappy Facebook comments can really damage your reputation—that is, if you don’t take control of the situation. Here are a few ways you can protect your restaurant’s online brand.
Read what’s being said about you.
Advertising and word of mouth aren’t the only ways customers find out about restaurants any more. Online reviews are super important—in fact, 72% of customers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations! But you can’t do anything about what your customers are reading if you aren’t reading your reviews, too. Check out Yelp and be sure to monitor your Twitter mentions and your Facebook page. Set up a Google alert for your restaurant’s name so you’ll know if a food blogger writes a review of your restaurant.
Don’t just stop at reading what customers are saying—you also have to respond! The time to respond to a negative review or a complaining tweet isn’t tomorrow or next week—by that time, tons of potential customers will have seen the offending comment. Be sure to respond ASAP. However, remember not to take reviews personally (even though it can be difficult!). Never respond with anger! Being polite and apologetic in your response shows that your restaurant is professional, and that’s one of the best things you can do to protect your brand.
Have a strong online presence.
Although you can’t control what people say about you, you can control the image you put out online. Negative online reviews have less influence if your Internet presence is strong and positive. Be sure your website is well designed, professional looking, and easy to navigate. It should make your food look great! And be sure you’re using social media to promote your restaurant and interact with customers. Develop your restaurant’s “voice” and use it consistently across all social media platforms. When customers can see your strong online brand, they’ll be less likely to believe negative reviews. It’s also important to post often on your blog and your social media platforms—this way, positive information about your company will be more likely to come up in searches.
Protecting your restaurant’s online brand can seem overwhelming. Between all the different review sites and social media platforms, you might feel like you’ll never get a handle on it. However, by keeping these three tips in mind, you can start to manage your restaurant’s brand. Monitoring your reviews and mentions, responding quickly (and politely!), and having a strong online presence are three great ways to protect your brand.