Facebook Can Benefit Your Restaurant.
By Jose L Riesco
Sunday, 29th November 2009
Let's now look at 10 ways Facebook can benefit your restaurant, after all, the more connected you are to your clients without being intrusive, the better your working relationship.

Note: you need to have already an existing Facebook profile to follow some of these links.

Think about Facebook as your own personal working desk.

This means that you should display ONLY on your profile what you'd put on your desk or your restaurant. Don't add anything to your profile that you wouldn't display for your clients to see as they're walking by your restaurant's office.

Add only valuable friends.

Because you want to promote your restaurant, you should add many local friends. Please don't waste your time trying to add thousands of friends who live far away from you, and will never visit your restaurant. It is better to have a few hundred quality-friends than thousands all over the place.

If you want to keep in touch with your distant friends and family members, I suggest you to open a personal Facebook account.

Add only a few valuable applications.

You should be very selective when adding applications. Right now, there are over 2000 apps you can add to your Facebook profile. The temptation may be to try them all. Don't. Just because you can add Love Quotes to your profile, it doesn't mean you should if you want Facebook to be a professional tool for you.

Pick apps that won't waste your time when you visit your Facebook home page, so avoid those that involve playing games or wasting everybody's time.

You can find HERE many applications useful for businesses. Please, read the app description carefully and know exactly what you're getting, and what the privacy settings are before you go. Also, look for green check marks next to "Verified Applications".

These applications passed Facebook review and have committed to providing trustworthy user experiences. You may want to check applications like Email or Calendar that can help you communicate with your clients and let them know about your events.

The good news about applications is that you can remove an application as easily as you added it.

Think of your apps in two ways…what do you want to see (that will appear on your Facebook home page) and what do I want the world to see (that will appear on your profile)? You might consider adding an app that you don't display on your profile at all, but it uses the collective wisdom and usage patterns of your network to provide you with valuable information. Or, if you visit your Facebook home page often it can help keep you organized having nothing to do with your friends' actions.

Edit your news feed preferences.

You don't necessarily have to know the moment someone adds a new picture, but you may want to know when they've made a new connection you may have in common. This is very important for you to capture new clients. Most likely, local friends of your clients will be the perfect targets for your marketing campaigns, since they could become potential clients of yours as well.

Click the "preferences" button on your Facebook home page and use the sliders to give preference to the type of information you want. The more you fine-tune this information, the less time you'll waste sifting through useless updates.

Edit your profile and security settings.

Consider exactly who sees your profile and when. Don't just accept the default settings, which tend to expose more information than you may be comfortable.

Take the time to go through each link in the Privacy area and make necessary adjustments.

Incorporate the tools you're already using into your profile.

Do you use other social media tools as part of your restaurant marketing? Do you blog? Do you Twitter, Pownce or Jaiku? Do you read or send feeds?

There are Facebook apps available for all these services. If you are already using these tools to promote your restaurant, why not add them to your Facebook profile? After you add the respective app, you simply do what you were already doing and let the app do the work. You can see the Twitter updates from your Facebook contacts without necessarily following their updates in Twitter itself.

If your blog or your restaurant website is on WordPress.com (highly recommended, by the way), you can add the WordPress app and your posts will automatically be pushed to your Facebook profile, along with recent comments. If you don't host your blog with WordPress.com, you can easily use the built-in Notes application to post your blog feed as you publish. It will let your contacts know through your mini-feed when you've posted a new entry. Since your friends can edit their news feeds as easily as you can, they can control how much of your restaurant life and business they really want to see.

The Google Reader Shared Items app publishes to your profile those items you've shared in Google Reader, as the name implies. Do you think your contacts would like to read that interesting post? Don't disturb them by emailing them, click the "Share" button in Google Reader and now it's right there on your profile with minimal added effort on your part. The "Top Shared" panel shows the most shared posts across everyone who has installed the app.

Join Groups related to your business interests.

Many groups on Facebook are nonsense, but there are quite a few that can provide useful information and professional connections. Each group can feature a Wall (a Wall is like a guestbook with a continuous scroll of messages) and threaded discussion lists.

Rather than trying to search for groups, watch the groups that your friends are joining and see if they are of interest for yourself. After all, you want to appeal to their friends and acquaintances, right? I only wish there was a way to see updated discussion threads on one screen rather than clicking group to group...

Limit time wasted on Facebook.

Facebook can suck you in easily. Remember, you have work to do. You won't run any restaurant if you are too busy playing with Facebook.

If you find that you're spending too much time reading Facebook message boards, or reading about your clients and friends' interests, then set limits for yourself. Facebook is a black hole. In order to get the most of Facebook, you have to be on the platform.

Consider the Facebook toolbar for Firefox, which will notify when you have a reason to go check the home page. You can also work with Facebook from your mobile phone, so think about babysitting your profile while you're waiting in line to purchase merchandise, or otherwise not being productive anyway.

Be philanthropic.

And look good to your clients while doing it. Can Facebook change the world? Probably not. But you can do your part and show it off. You can add the Causes app to specifically benefit nonprofit organizations.

You can join groups that stand for actions you believe in. Use your Facebook profile to show the best side of you to your clients, and if the environment or a cause benefits from your actions then all the better.

Ask Questions.

Tap into collective intelligence with the My Questions app.

Don't know the best resource for a particular problem? Maybe your network can provide some insight. Many of us have used our blogs for this very purpose.

Asking your question on Facebook instead filters out the general public, and doesn't leave a trail for Google to follow.

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