Millennials might be your restaurant’s most overlooked marketing strategy.
While boomers have the income to make or break your business, Millennials are more likely to leave a review that can impact your business in the long term.
No demographic loves devices more than the Millennial does – 83% admit that they even sleep with their smartphones – and those connected devices are the gateway to networks of active communities.
Simply put, a connected Millennial is an influential Millennial.
Your employees are trusted trendsetters and represent a huge potential to reach new audiences, so it’s wise to harness their digital interactions and transform them into powerful promotional tools for your restaurant.
Here are five ways to help your young employees become brand advocates on social media.
1. Implement a Social Media Policy
Your social media policy can be as simple as a quick one-pager of Do’s and Don’ts to guide your workforce on how to talk about their work on social media. Need inspiration? Starbucks shares their employee social media policy online.
While the Millennial workforce lives much of their lives on social networks, asking your team to speak on behalf of your restaurant can be a nerve-racking concept for everyone involved. But, with a management-approved policy in place, employees can feel empowered to exercise creativity and show their personalities without having to worry that what they’re sharing could negatively impact their career.
Feel free to lead with a collaborative approach. Set up a team meeting to discuss everyone's favorite brands on social. Then brainstorm tactics and collaborate to build your own policy. With a policy that everyone agrees upon, understands, and takes ownership of, you’ll reduce ambiguities and ensure everyone starts off on the right foot.
2. Choose a Hashtag
Ask your employees: why do you love working at the restaurant? You can gain a lot of insight from those conversations…now, imagine those insights shared with the world.
Choose a unique hashtag that your employees can use across all social channels when sharing real, on-the-job stories from the inside. Hashtagged content creates a database that can help customers learn more about your restaurant and employee culture.
Use the hashtag as a catalyst for restaurant-life dialogue – encouraging conversations about work life contributes to the unity of your team and helps attract new talent.
3. Lead by Example
Use social media! Be visible and active on your personal accounts and your restaurant’s accounts. Participating in conversations will also help you become more accessible to customers that follow your restaurant on social media.
Talk shop. Chat with employees in a staff-only, work-specific digital environment, like the 7shifts in-app chat function. You’ll streamline internal communications as well as engage in real-time feedback. By reaching your younger staff in their comfort zone (aka “in their devices”), you’ll build rapport and create a new way for your restaurant’s community to unify and thrive.
4. Inspire Friendly Competition
Studies show that employee-generated content receives eight times more engagement than business-generated content. When employees share organic, honest, positive content with their networks, your restaurant benefits.
If you’ve even spent a few minutes browsing Instagram, you’ve surely noticed the irresistibility of #foodporn. Your young workforce is well-versed in sharing pics of their lattes and brunches, so put that skill to work. Ask employees to share photos of their favorite dish on the menu, or a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes into the creation of the most popular dishes.
Turn sharing into a friendly competition—see whose posts garner the most attention via likes, shares, and comments over the course of a week. Up the ante with an incentive—an extended break, an item from the coveted company swag collection, or simply offer up bragging rights.
5. The Best Part: It’s Not Just for Millennials
While Millennials are the undisputed superusers of the social network, bear in mind that your diverse workforce offers access to a variety of valuable demographics.
Put those superusers to good use and consider reverse mentoring. Encourage younger staff to guide their coworkers in best practices, efficiencies, and the next ‘big’ thing. By holding regular, casual info-sharing sessions, you’ll have an empowered and inspired workforce in your corner and on your social networks.
About the Author
Kim Warner is a Content Strategist at 7shifts, an employee scheduling app designed for restaurants. She works with the rest of the 7shifts team to help their customers all over the world save time scheduling, reduce labor costs, and improve employee communication. When she’s not slingin’ words at her desk, she’s either in search of yet another cup of coffee or is on the hunt for the next addition to her record collection.More Content by Kim Warner