Ordering delivery, picking up curbside, getting a family pack or even dining in or on the patio are fantastic ways to enjoy your favorite meals while supporting local small businesses. But if you want to go the extra mile, take “dine local” to “dine social.”
What is dine social? No, we’re not advocating to get a big group of people at a restaurant. Sharing your dining experiences on social media can have a very real, positive impact for your favorite local restaurant. You’ve seen those silly millennials trying to get the perfect insta-shot; well, without a crowded restaurant watching you, you can shamelessly give it a try. Here are some ways to start.
- Follow your favorite restaurants on social media and invite your friends. This one is easy – just search for the restaurant on Facebook or Instagram and click “Like” or “Follow.” Only invite people that already love the restaurant or would actually try it. (Would your cousin in Alaska really want to follow a North Little Rock Mexican restaurant? But that friend who always meets you for Happy Hour might!). It takes a little time, but being thoughtful about your invites means you don’t spam your friends.
- Check-in or recommend on Facebook. In a couple of clicks, you can show people where you are (or “were,” if you’re worried about people knowing where you are. You can always check-in afterwards). May not seem like much, but it may help someone else – a potential customer – know the restaurant exists.
- Leave a review. Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor…any and all positive reviews on review sites can help a small business. It can be as lengthy or as to-the-point as you like.
- Tell your friends, family and/or co-workers. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective and cheapest ways for a small business to promote themselves. You can help by suggesting your favorite restaurants when people ask where to go.
- Share photos. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – with food, that’s definitely true! If possible, tag the restaurant in your posts (type “@” and the business name; if you follow them, it should pop up) and add the business location. Tip: natural light outdoors or by a window goes a long way in making something look more delicious.
- Represent with apparel. Did you know several North Little Rock restaurants also sell branded t-shirts, hats, hoodies, mugs? We’ve got a short list to get you started. Besides getting some awesome apparel, you’re helping your favorite restaurants “advertise” to more people.
Want to go the EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA mile? Here’s what you do: 1) the next time you order from your favorite restaurant, add a branded item to the order; 2) take a photo or have someone take a photo of you in the branded merch with the meal; 3) share the photo on any and all social platforms, tagging the business and using the business location whenever possible, and 4) tag a few friends in your post that you think would actually give the restaurant a try.
“But what if I only have 50 Facebook friends?” The quality of your relationship with your friends on social media is just as important as the quantity of friends. Just be you, sharing food you love with the people you love. You might just help your favorite restaurant become someone else’s favorite too!