Invariably, when speaking to a client, or someone else in the restaurant industry, the question comes up: “Okay, I get it –  I need to use Social Media in promoting my business and it doesn’t make sense to let the intern, or weekend hostess manage it – but if I do invest resources in all these new networking tools, how can I tell if it’s working?”

Well, the answer to this question isn’t always as obvious as the customer comment on the right (although I wish it was), but it is related.  One simple way to tell if your Facebook posts are drawing a response is simply by checking the comments.  What are people saying?  What’s the buzz?  And while  a few comments or “likes” may not seem significant, don’t forget the old restaurant rule of thumb – each comment, good or bad, represents five to seven similar comments.  Studies also show that unhappy people tend to express themselves vocally to restaurant staff about 25% more often than satisfied customers.

Facebook now also offers advanced metrics or “insights” which measure the reach of your message.  The “People Talk About This” or PTAT is a new Facebook analytics metric, which shows the overall “health” of a Facebook brand Page. It analyzes the “conversation” happening around a Page across Facebook and provides a numerical score.  PTAT counts stories and structured content users share about a Page. The actions that are counted towards a PTAT number are:

  • Liking your Page
  • Posting to your Page’s Wall
  • Liking, commenting or sharing one of your Page posts (or other content on your Page – such as photos, videos, albums)
  • Answering a Question you posted
  • RSVP-ing to one of your events
  • Mentioning your Page in a post or photo-tagging your Page
  • Checking into one of your Places or liking or sharing a check-in deal
This stat should give you a fair idea of well your message is getting across and make it easy to compare your efforts with your competitors, you can find more info from Facebook here.

After taking a look at the interaction on Facebook, just move over to Twitter and do a brand search to see what people are saying about you.  The key here is ReTweets – every time some re-posts one of your Tweets to their friends.  This can mean reaching exponentially greater numbers.

A bit more advanced are the Insights offered by third party Social Media Dashboard applications, such as Hootsuite, which can give even more in depth analysis.  The best method obviously, would be one tool that brought all of this information together in one place and combined it with a survey of your online reviews which would break down the metrics into keywords.  There are many such tools out there, but few that are scaled for restaurants – I’ll be writing more about them shortly.