As my good friend Mel (Melissa Giovagnoli-Wilson) has so nicely described it, LinkedIn is the board room, Twitter is the water cooler and Facebook is the barbeque. Social media can impact your business financially when understood and leveraged in a timely, compelling and relevant fashion.
Most restaurants have Facebook and Twitter pages, and do a great job of pulling together the barbeque and water cooler crowd. However, if you are responsible for or have employees that are focusing on growing private dining or catering events, there is potential to leverage some of the most powerful tools on LinkedIn to add top line revenue that your restaurant may be overlooking. Here are some suggestions on rounding up the LinkedIn board room crowd to help in adding to that top line.
- Grow Your Network: I have a little over 800 people in my current network, which gives me the ability to reach out to over 200,000 second degree connections and over 7 million 3rd degree connections. This is a bit overwhelming when you think about how long it would take to connect with 200,000 people. The point is that growing your network in a strategic fashion gives you access to meeting pretty much anyone that you want. Now I get asked, “Should I let anyone into my network”? That depends. In my business, professional services, I have to be mindful that a lot of people in my network consist of clients and high level decision makers. In this case, I would not necessarily be willing to connect with someone I did not know. As someone in charge of private dining events, your answer might be, “Yes, the more the merrier”. The point is, develop a strategy and stick to implementing it by adding to your network on a consistent basis.
- LinkedIn Groups:I like to think of LinkedIn Groups like your “Wall” on Facebook, but a bit more professional (again we are talking board room not barbeque). LinkedIn Groups are a great way of keeping your network abreast of what in going on professionally within your restaurant. For example, letting people know that your chef just received an award, as a way of promoting a special event at your restaurant, or that you have a new spring/summer menu are all great ways of promoting the newest happenings at your restaurant. LinkedIn recently enhanced “Groups” by making them open. The advantage to open group discussions is that they can be seen by anyone on the web and can be shared on other social networking platforms.
- LinkedIn Events:LinkedIn Events are a great way to promote special events you have going on at your restaurant. The advantage to this is that the event will be shared with your network and will show up on your profile. Additionally, you can manage the event by seeing how many people have RSVP’d or are thinking about attending.
- Customizing Your Public Profile URL: LinkedIn allows you to add up to three links to other web sites. This is a great way to drive traffic to not only your restaurant’s web site but to your Facebook and Twitter pages as well. They can be customized to fit your brand name or corporate message. This URL link will direct you to LinkedIn’s Help Center if you want to make those changes.
Yes, even restaurants can benefit by leveraging the “Board Room” of social media applications. Keep in mind that these are just a few suggestions on how leveraging LinkedIn’s applications and your network can assist in growing your top-line revenue. The trick is to grow your network strategically and to stay in touch with your network in a consistent fashion.
If you have any questions about this or other LinkedIn applications, feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to assist and “connect” with you.