Businesses often wonder how they can make their content “go viral” (go viral, by the way, is one of my least favorite phrases in the English language, but that’s another post). The basic principle for making something spread around the internet is to make it easy for people to spread it around the internet. It’s what I call the shareability factor – or, how easy is it to share your web content?
Many restaurant websites miss out on the opportunity for customers to share marketable or useful content. Here are some ways to increase the shareability of your web content.
Menues that travel
Any restaurant worth its salt has a menu on its website. Most restaurants, however, have downloadable PDF versions of menues on their website that are only good for single-use printing. Your menu is the most important element to your restaurant’s story. Make that story easier to tell by turning your menu into a shareable piece of content that can be posted to Facebook or emailed to a friend. Share This widgets are one way to achieve a more shareable menu, but there are lots of other options too.
Provide media that means something
Instead of adding some lame background music to your restaurant’s website (trust me, you aren’t creating any “ambiance” but you ARE annoying the crap out of people), why not add things that people care about? People mostly care about the food, what your restaurant looks like, and how to get there. So give them more photos of your dishes to pull and share, maybe an embeddable POV video of your restaurant’s layout, and perhaps add a Google Maps API so they can email their friends directions.
Share the good word
Review sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Open Table are great ways for people to find out about your restaurant. I know restaurants are leery of review sites, but if you’re confident in your concept and product (and you already sport some good reviews online) then why not show off a little? Provide links to popular review sites so people can get a true sense of your restaurant at the decision-making point. And if you happen to have a few poor critiques, that’s no big deal. As long as you’re active in responding to critics in those spaces it shows you have a commitment to customer service. Having links to these sites also encourages people to leave good reviews once they dine with you.
Make use of bad cell phone habits
Look around your restaurant. Everyone is covered in the faint glow of mobile device light. It’s a sad commentary on the decline of civil society. But hell, it’s also a great sharing opportunity! Consider a table tent that encourages your diners to check in with you on FourSquare, become a friend of your Facebook page or connect with the manager on LinkedIn. The online connections these folks make in your store will grow exponentially as they share your content and you share in their good experiences.
Go back to the store, pull up your site online. Make an audit. Get creative. Are you enabling your customers to share the good word about you?