When I visit a new city I usually check review sites like Urbanspoon or TripAdvisor for information about the best places to eat. Recently however, I’ve noticed a few Facebook groups which are gaining traction in my community so I thought we’d take a look at Facebook groups for cafes, restaurants and food retailers in more detail. We’ll look at how to search for groups, who should join groups and some of the things you can do once you become a member.
Facebook Groups are communities set up within Facebook for people with like minded interests.
Some of the groups you might be familiar with in your local area include:
The list goes on. It’s great to see all of these communities popping up with the aim of helping like minded people, not to mention the positive impact that some of these groups are having on local small businesses.
If you’re a small business and you aim to service the local population, Facebook groups can be a great starting point. In order to join a Facebook group you must use a personal Facebook profile, simply type in ‘Groups named <insert your city>’ into the search bar. For me it looks like this:
This search will find all of the groups from your local area provided they have the city name in the title of the group. For me this returns over 1000 search results! Narrow down your search using the menu items on the right had side. In this instance I’ve narrowed the groups down to my friends groups, this gives me a good indication of the most popular groups.
Joining is easy, you simply press the ‘join group’ button. Depending on the group settings (open, closed, private) you will gain access based on the administrators accepting you to the group. You’ll receive a notification when this happens.
To find all of the groups that you have joined, click on the ‘Groups’ option which is located down the left hand side of your personal profile menu.
For cafes, restaurants and food establishments the following people might like to join food review and customer service groups:
The more people you have involved in the group, the better chance you have of seeing content and being able to address any positive or negative posts.
Shopping Centre Marketing Managers and Centre Managers might find it helpful to take part in these groups to gain insight into the performance of food establishments within their shopping centre or the groups might provide opportunities for leasing to investigate.
First and foremost listening to reviews is important. Pay attention to what people are posting about, where they are visiting, why they are visiting and what they are interested in. Learn about the things that are most important to people in the group and respond where appropriate. If your business is mentioned in a positive or negative way you can comment appropriately too. Some users avoid these types of groups because they are concerned about negativity festering, however I’ve found that most Facebook administrators work hard to maintain a fair balance.
If you have recently joined a new group and you’d like to find more information about a particular topic or your business name you can search the group by clicking on the search icon and entering in the topic:
The search will return the most recent results for your topic. You might search terms like: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Business Name etc.
Depending on the rules of the Facebook Group you might be able to upload menu’s into the Files section of the group like this:
If you’re unsure if the group permits this, send a message through to the Facebook administrator or read through the description for the group.
Use the group for market research. If you’re thinking about adding something to your menu or perhaps wanting to start a business, see if there is demand. Asking the group for feedback is a great way to gain insight into your new venture.
Now it’s over to you: Are you using any Facebook groups which are helpful for your cafe or restaurant? What’s the best thing about the groups you’re involved with? Feel free to join the conversation on our Facebook page.
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