Your restaurant does have a Facebook page, doesn't it? No? Go set one up and come back.
"But my restaurant already has a website," you say. "Isn't that enough?"
No. Everyone is on Facebook, and for many folks, it's become the primary way they access the web and where they spend the most time. Location is everything, they say. There's a reason you see major brands displaying their Facebook URLs in ads these days rather than their actual domain names.
Maintaining this basic presence on Facebook can help you capitalize on any publicity and goodwill among customers and help you monitor for any discontent that may be happening below the radar.
Claim Ownership of Your Restaurant on 'Places'
In mid August, Facebook launched its Places feature for its smartphone app. Like Foursquare or Gowalla, or like Yelp's Check-In feature, Facebook Places allows mobile users to notify their friends when they visit a location.
There's a chance your restaurant is registered in Facebook Places already. Checking this is as simple as logging into Facebook from your computer and using the search box to scan for your restaurant. If your restaurant appears, you can claim "ownership" of it by finding the link titled "Is this your business?" at the bottom of the page. Facebook will have you fill out some forms to verify your ownership. In addition to your address, phone number, and website (if any), here's what else you'll need on hand:
- A third-party listing (Yelp review page, BBB listing, a Citysearch page, etc.)
- Your business email address linked to your personal Facebook account. Facebook requires that it clearly relate to your business—so, for Joe's Big Doughnut Factory, say, email@example.com.
- Document verification. This is a big one. You'll need a scanned or photographed copy of a utility or phone bill that includes your business name and address. Facebook asks you to upload this document as part of the process.
If your restaurant doesn't appear to be in Places, you can add it using a smartphone running the Facebook app. Simply run the app and select the Places feature. Do a final search for your restaurant; we've found that sometimes a Place appears in the mobile app but not on the web-based version of Facebook. If your restaurant still is not online, tap "Add 'Joe's Big Doughnut Factory'..." Once added, log on to the desktop version of Facebook and revisit the process above for claiming your business.
Claim Your 'Interest' or Community Page
What does this mean for the average restaurant owner? Probably not much. But for those restaurants that are iconic enough (having a Wikipedia entry is a good indicator), then there's a better-than-average chance it's in Facebook Interests. Pink's Hot Dogs in Los Angeles or Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn are two examples.
Here, the process for claiming an Interest page is similar to claiming a Places page. Scroll to the bottom of your Interest page and look for the link that says "Is this your Page?" Click it, and follow the steps, which are a little less involved than those for the Places page—you need only give your name, relation to the page, email address, physical address, and phone number. No need to upload a scan or photo of your phone bill!
Once you've staked your restaurant's claim any or all of these Facebook realms, click over to our OPEN Forum friend Adele Cooper's post on using your Pages smartly: Top 5 Things for Facebook Page Success.
Image credit: researchgirl