Social media is buzzy. Every restaurant needs a Twitter account! Get on Facebook! Is your menu photo-documented on Instagram and pinned to Pinterest? When it is all you hear about you have to get involved, right?  Sort of.

Social media marketing works because it builds relationship between brands and customers. A direct, ongoing line of communication outside of the walls of your restaurant. Relationship drives engagement and loyalty. But marketing is not just about the cool new channels like Facebook. You need to cover the basics as well. 

A recent NPD study reported in Forbes found that online marketing influences just 8% of restaurant purchases. Online reviews influence 14%.  Basic menu information? That influences 30% of decisions, and “general information” influences 27%. 

Don't be relieved that social media is not as important as your menu and address. Most restaurants do a lousy job of basic marketing, as well. Website menus are out of date pdf files that are slow to load on a website and impossible to view on a phone. Address and contact info are hard to find. Stock photos are used instead of real photos.

Restaurants need to nail  basic marketing just be in the game. No one comes to your restaurant because the tableware is clean. That's expected everywhere. And no one comes to your restaurant because your address is on your website. But they won't eat with you if they can't find you.

Marketing is about finding different ways to connect with customers. Social media is a critical tool for building relationships that will pay off down the line. Do it. But make sure you ante up with the basics as well.