New Stamp - Coupon You have a problem.

The social media content posted is spot on.  You’ve identified your culture and have created a strategy around the specific restaurant visitors you want to attract. Hell, even the restaurant’s social media communities are growing, but still… you have a problem.

The conundrum at hand is that while everything seems to be going quite awesome, you just can’t nail down which customers are coming in from social media.  The “likes”, followers, comments, and +1’s are helping and we applaud you for seeing their value, but unless you can prove at least some trackable ROI from social media, it’s hard to imagine the push will continue.

The answer to your problem is social media coupons.


Why Use Social Media Coupons?

Let’s just jump right into bullet points here:

  • Trackable (or at least should be):  Facebook apps can be set up, which can include a contact form.  Why not capture some emails if you’re giving a small discount on your gooey brownies?
  • Easy Content Category: Weekly or monthly coupons are an awesome (and needed) category for content.
  • Use to Highlight New or Popular Menu Items: Feeling fancy in the kitchen? Try out a new dish on your biggest social media supporters.  Ask customers who claim their discount to write a small one sentence review for you to see if it should remain on the menu.
  • Great for when Business is Slow:  Every restaurant knows the exact season, day, month, and hour of when things are just slow.  Use an awesome coupon to generate some business when you otherwise would be twiddling your thumbs.


How to Deliver Social Media Coupons

Third Party Apps:  This will always be the cleanest and most effective way to ensure social communities (and their friends) find your coupon.  You also have the most control, ability to set time frames, start and end dates, and also request information from the customer claiming.  You can ask the audience to show the coupon on their phone or print it out.  Both methods are trackable.

The only cons to Third Party Apps is that they may have a monthly cost associated with them, but it’s worth it if you have enough community members.  The other is that you may need some graphics created and an HTML mind won’t hurt.

Coupon for Rumblings Post

This is an example of a social media coupon that could work for your restaurant.

Say “This Phrase” to Claim:  A popular and cost effective way to deliver a coupon is to just tell your social audience to say a certain phrase when they check out or when they give their order to the waiter.  It’s harder to track and the restaurant staff needs to do a great job of creating tick marks or writing down the names of each customer.

The cons to this method are plentiful.  It’s hard to track who is coming from which social media channel.  In fact, other people could eavesdrop and learn about the special phrase, yet not be a member of any of the restaurant’s social media communities.  The other problem is that some customers will feel weird saying a phrase.  Actually, that’s more common than you might think.

Check In Coupon: FourSquare made checkins popular and their check-in deals were also a great idea for restaurants.  You can either set up a check-in coupon right from FourSquare or ask your customers to show their phone when they check in on Facebook.  Check ins are great for gaining restaurant exposure through your current customers.

Cons here are that if dealing with FourSquare, you’ll need do some quick research on how to get set up.  If dealing with Facebook check ins, you may run into the same eavesdropping problem as with the say “This Phrase” method above.

Read Part 2 of our “How Restaurants Can Use Social Media Coupons” series by going here.