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Star columnist: Neil Anderson - Social media helps – if done right way

Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

The first quarter of 2014 has heralded a glut of bad news for Sheffield’s eating out community.

High profile restaurant closures, stories of struggling catering businesses and a rallying cry for a combined marketing effort to attract new customers has left a cloud of uncertainty over the sector.

It’s the kind of unwelcome news you’d expect in the depths of recession rather than at a time when we’re meant to be on the up.

Many restaurants – in fact many businesses – have struggled to get to grips with the publicity tools out there.

Knowing exactly who your target customer is and how to reach them can save you major time and expense.

How many people have forced themselves to use Twitter because everyone else seems to be using it?

Well, before you waste more time and money check your publicity tools are actually working. A recent study showed 90 per cent of businesses were using Twitter wrongly and causing damage to their brand rather than developing their business .

There’s no doubt social media is now an essential part of marketing for most businesses but ensuring you’re using it wisely and getting results is essential.

The age breakdown of your audience should tell you exactly what social media channels you need and how often to use them.

The days of getting by with a glitzy launch party, some nice newspaper articles and bunch of favourable restaurant reviews to open your eatery are long gone.

It’s now as important to monitor conversations on social media, utilise the correct social media channels and build an online following.

In fact it makes the job for PR people like me far easier.

I recently launched a city centre restaurant, El Paso at the bottom of The Moor and helped them get their social media marketing just right.

El Paso have been busy since the day they opened (early January). In fact they struggled to believe how effective PR can be.

Social media is an amazing tool that, used correctly, can say goodbye to the bad old days of simply opening a restaurant (or any business) and praying the customers will walk through the door.

Sheffield undoubtedly has some fantastic restaurants. Let’s hope inadequate or inaccurate marketing isn’t to blame for the loss of any more of them.

 

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