The landscape of social media can be a treacherous one. Well intended posts can turn into nightmares of bad timing or poor taste. In fact, the landmines that await the active social media marketer are so prevalent that you don’t need to inflict any self-wounds by being tone deaf or just plain dumb with your content. The last few years have shown plenty of “how-NOT-to” examples that you would think most folks would be sensitive to avoiding the same mistakes. Not so much.
You can put social media self-inflicted wounds into three basic categories – tone deaf, immature, and angry rants. Here’s why you want to avoid these restaurant social media fails.
Some restaurants publish social media posts that are so tone deaf that you have to read them twice to be sure you didn’t miss something. Two perfect examples of a restaurant being totally obtuse revolve around a subject that is deadly serious -- domestic violence.
See the Facebook post from a Kansas City restaurant that proves the rule -- don’t let a misogynist manage your social profile. Yes the play of words is clever, but clever doesn’t mean smart or advisable. Only a truly disconnected individual wouldn’t see how horrid the sentiment is -- any irony or humor notwithstanding.
But don’t think this type of idiotic and unenlightened post is exclusive to small restaurant operators. Take Del Giorno’s Twitter post with the hashtag, #WhyIStayed. The very idea that they wouldn’t be aware of how not-ironic or witty this post is, based on the experience of battered women, shows a density rivaling that of platinum.
If you haven’t followed IHOP (and we would certainly understand if you haven’t) then you don’t know what “worst practices” of maturity look like. Aside from sounding like your dad attempting to be hip IMHO (yes that’s what I mean), they have made some truly stupid and sexists remarks.
One example is comparing their pancakes to a little endowed women, which isn’t likely to get your guests to break down your doors for pancakes. They are assuming that only a crowd that appreciates their low-brow humor is tuning in -- at least until that last tweet blew up in their face.
The Angry Rant
If you have seen the movie Groundhog Day, then you remember Bill Murray warning the referenced rodent not to “drive angry.” This is sound advice for the average restaurant operator, too. Of course you can have opinions and even share them on social media, but when you turn expression into an angry rant, you can only lose. T
Take the Thai restaurant owner in Austin, TX who couldn’t abide the focus on the tragedy at Sandy Hook when Palestinians are being oppressed in Israel. He belittled the coverage and ranted that moral relativism causes people to ignore one tragedy in favor of another. This wasn’t particularly well received and eventually the person who posted it left the restaurant for a new situation.
While political content is a particular dangerous “rant” topic, many times it’s ranting against their own guests that causes the damage. Take Amy’s Baking Company in Phoenix, AZ. After the restaurant appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, their real nightmares came true. Not because Ramsay was particularly hard on them. Nope, these owners decided to go after their own clientele and defend their poor performance while excoriating their own guests. It didn’t end well for them and they are a perfect cautionary tale. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, even if that hand is cruel or rude to you.
Solutions: Live by the 24 hour rule
Sure social media is both a blessing and a curse, but you don’t have to exacerbate the negative by your own silly choices. The most potent advice we can give is the 24 hour rule. If you are ready to post something and you aren’t sure if it’s a good choice, wait one full day. After that much time to reflect, if you still feel good about posting it, then fire away. But if you reconsider, think about just how much a difference a day could make.