Last week, we wrote about 8 ways that restaurants of any size can use Facebook pages to bring in more business. All of the successful examples we used were from national brands with big marketing budgets — Pizza Hut, for example, has built its own application so Facebook users can place orders from the site.
For local restaurants short on time and money, even taking the time to create a page can be a challenge. But some have figured out how to use Facebook to really boost their businesses.
Here’s an interesting anecdote about Mo’ Bettah Steaks, a Hawaiian restaurant in Bountiful, Utah. One of the owners, Kalani Mack, first set up a Facebook account to watch over his daughter’s activity on the site. But then, according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, he realized he could use it for his livelihood. He and others from the family-run restaurant now regularly post photos, thoughts, customer anecdotes and more to the page, they let fans post their own items, and are actively commenting back to the people who engage with them.
They’re also running a contest that makes good use of Facebook’s features to spread more news about the restaurant. Post a photo of yourself and your favorite Mo’ Bettah dish on your Facebook profile, then tag yourself and Mo’ Bettah on the photo — “otherwise we won’t see your pic and won’t enter your name in the drawing.” By tagging, of course, anyone who enters the contest also broadcasts the photo to their Facebook friends.
So far, the page has 1,819 fans. Considering that this is a small, locally-owned business, that’s not bad. “Just being in contact with customers directly that way was huge,” Mack tells the Tribune. “I’m not sure what kind of value it brought them, but I noticed that they enjoyed being in contact with their favorite restaurant.” And, in June Mo’ Bettah opened up a second restaurant in Salt Lake City. “I attribute the second location totally to Facebook because of what it’s done,” he said. “It clearly increased our business. We were not planning on expanding to Salt Lake City until 2010[.]”
As with any new technology, it takes time to spread from the early-adopter crowd to the general population. A recent Citibank survey of 500 small business executives in the United States reveals the scope of the issue: “76 percent have not found social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, while 86 percent say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.” For local restaurants, it may just a matter of trying things out.
Are you a small business with an interesting experience using Facebook pages? Let us know in comment, or email us: eric (at) insidefacebook (dot) com.
And, check out our Facebook Marketing Bible.