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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If Facebook's Free Marketing, Why Aren't More Restaurants Active?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Mission Beach Cafe's Facebook page
  • Mission Beach Cafe's Facebook page
Yesterday, Mashable posted 13 Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook a listicle that made SFoodie think about how many San Francisco restaurants we should forward it to. After all, we're always seeing "check-ins" from friends bragging sharing the news about eating at certain places, only to click on those names and find nothing, which is about as welcoming as calling the restaurant's main number to find it hasn't set up voicemail. Other restaurants maintain Facebook pages that are almost as reliable a source of basic information as Google and the SF Weekly iPhone app.

The tone of the Mashable article reads "marketing newsletter," but it makes some solid suggestions to restaurateurs: Respond to everyone who writes in, share your positive press, don't feed your Tweets into Facebook, and post photos. 

It was surprising how many restaurants that we searched Facebook for yesterday had either no presence or a shell location with little content: Anchor & Hope, Town Hall, Piqueo's, Wexler's, Lafitte, Kokkari, Limon, R&G Lounge, La Folie, Colibri. A few more simply fill their Facebook pages with tweets, making no effort to exploit the site's visual dimension.

Who's getting it right? RN74, for one, by posting photos of its specials and holding miniature contests for Facebook fans. The overall effect is to create a personal connection without overwhelming anyone's news feed. 

Other longstanding neighborhood restaurants are using the site to keep themselves fresh in customers' minds. Their walls aren't just a repository for positive comments. Mission Beach Cafe has used Facebook to publicize the new beehives on its roofs, Firefly is pimping its Fried Chicken Tuesdays, and Delfina posts articles about the restaurant and creates FB events for all of its special dinners. Just as importantly, these restaurants have posted full info on their websites, hours, and management. It doesn't take a full-time tweeter on staff to make social media work.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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