It's a Thursday morning at Socio Local and while the team can usually be found plugged into their computer screens turning over a new week of fresh content, this Thursday starts a little differently. There's a bustle of excitement in the Socio lounge area as we are joined by the captivating Lisa Cope of "All the Food" who talks us through her experience with hospitality, social media and the do's and don't of working with the two.
Having honed her creative flare working in journalism and television, Lisa turned to food blogging and set up "All the Food" - a genuine and respected source of news, reviews and features on what is happening on the Dublin dining scene. She was recently given the nod as one of the "ones to watch" as a leading Food Media Entrepreneur by the Irish Times, which comes as no surprise as our team struggled to take their eyes and ears off the Gastronomy Master during her talk.
Lisa begins by expressing three crucial aspects that need to be spot on when it comes to your restaurant and Social Media - high-quality imagery, accurate tone of voice and timing.
Here are the do's and don't of what we learned from Lisa...
While the image is where you grab your audience's initial attention, the copy is your chance to express your personality, wit and purpose! According to Lisa, every single post that goes out should do one of the following...Inspire. Entertain. Educate.
Are you at the forefront of #foodgoals in your city? Are you providing a laugh or intriguing your followers? Do you aspire to enlighten your followers about proper food preparation and sourcing? Each post should allow your audience to understand your ambition and create a talking point for them to carry with them to further conversations...
It's an easy mistake to make, but there are so many restaurants who make the pitfall of constantly selling to their audiences. This is your opportunity to tell your story, and after all, audiences engage with restaurant profiles in the same way they might engage with the profiles of their peers.
"Conversational is the new professional", says Lisa, who describes shouty, shiny language as a profile pet peeve. It's important not to sound too excitable by throwing in exclamation marks at the end of every sentence and clarity is most definitely key.
Long, windy sentences are an instant trigger in turning people off your content. Lisa explains that "if it's not the way you'd explain it to a friend in the pub over a drink, then it's not how you should communicate on social". Tell your audience about yourself the way you would introduce yourself to new people - humbly but accurate. Discuss your restaurant history, inspiration, the people work there, who visit, where your produce comes, your community and all the other natural elements of conversation you'd discuss with friends (And always bleed in the first line - most social platforms will only allow you to preview the first line - so make sure that hook is sharp!
While it's important to have a sole focus - it's also imperative to have a wide variety of content, to interpret your focus from different angles and remain at the forefront of what's trending. We now live in an age where attention spans are next to non-existent so you need to stop your audience in their scroll! This means having clean, vibrant imagery that's not repetitive and flaunts as many dimensions of your business as possible.
You would imagine this goes without saying - yet, it crops up more often than you think! Yes - it's important to remain real and to show the work that goes on in the kitchen. However, raw meat and fish may not be the way unless you have a very good eye for photography. Don't forget, most people don't carry the same culinary eye that you might!
The Dean in Dublin city has the famous swing, The Ivy London had their Chelsea Flower Show entrance. All very "Instagrammable" experiences that customers love, capture and share. People are now seeking out more than food - they are seeking out experiences. Memories that they will continue to hold and discuss with other people - Lisa goes on to discuss Lifestyle Trends and how people evolved from service seekers to experience adventurers
"Consumers want to express the views and values of themselves and their community, and have their uniqueness and creativity respected and celebrated." - Bord Bia, Bord Bia's Consumer Lifestyle Trends 2019
So, do find ways to create a memorable experience that patrons can keep, snap and discuss!
The hospitality scene is ever-changing. Therefore, it's always important to remain refreshed and keep reinventing yourself where possible - whether it's a small menu tweak or a venue facelift. Lisa explains that no matter the genre, your restaurant should always seek to invite Millenials - but why? Putting it simply, Millenials are the market that has the freest time, the least responsibilities and therefore the most disposable income! So, while it's important to maintain your brand values, it's also vital to find new ways to incite excitement among potential guests.
Consumers want to use their time to be as productive and sociable as possible, flowing from one thing to the next - and want to be helped, not hindered, by tech. - Bord Bia, 2019.
It would be naive to think that your guests have walked blindly into your midst without having done any research. These days people are conducting full-scale investigations on their proposed options so as to minimise the risk of having a bad experience.
According to Lisa, these risks range from financial to social, temporal and even physical. So it’s best to believe that customers are scraping the web for as much info on you as possible - this includes your website, social media and even what others are sharing online.
Customers want to be able to find information fast. Your website should not only promote your business but act as a benchmark to which guests expectations can be held. Depending on the occasion, possible patrons are looking for not just the right price but the right dishes, the right wines, the right conditions and most importantly the right experience - if you can manage these expectations correctly, they then become easier to exceed.
According to Lisa, your website MUST ALWAYS contain the following:
If you are a client of Socio Local and need your website update you can contact our web team here. As an addition to some of our service packages, we offer website maintenance for existing websites or we also design new ones. You can find more information here.
Above we discussed your social media and what you have the power to post. But what about what other people are sharing about your restaurant? The fact that people can check-in and "hashtag" your restaurant is very much a double-edged sword. Yes, it's great that people can openly discuss your brand and act as a virtual word of mouth - but this then creates a responsibility for you to ensure all aspects of your service are ready to be put on blast. Before serving up a dish, ask yourself, how would this look online? Does the restaurant look photo-ready during each service?
It'll never be possible to ensure every single aspect is to perfection, but it's important to be aware.
While we've done our best, we have not yet begun to scratch the surface on the wealth of knowledge Lisa Cope offered us. From the Do's and Don'ts, to patron psychology, we hope you found something you can take away from this, as we did from having her as a guest. To say we could have sat and listened to her all day would be an understatement - it's a powerful thing when people with similar passions come together and the team came away feeling upskilled, uplifted and hungry to generate new content!
We'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time to visit us and sharing her expertise! If you’re interested in learning more about her you can visit her blog All The Food here.
If there is anything here that piqued your interest and you'd fancy having a chat with your Community Manager, please feel free to! We'd love to hear your thoughts...