Stay Current — Customers don't want to hear that the item they ordered was only a special for last week! In order to boost customer interaction and to build relationships, your Facebook page must be active, accurate and current. Be sure to unpublish your holiday menus as soon as the holiday is past, and publish a flyer – even with just a few details – for the next upcoming event.
Interact with Customers — Facebook gives you a new opportunity to build customer relations outside your restaurant. Visitors to your Facebook page can post comments and questions. Be sure you have someone checking the page regularly to reply to these comments. This is especially important if someone leaves negative feedback; in a highly public forum like Facebook, a friendly "we appreciate your suggestions!" can go a long way.
Use the Wall — When you publish a new menu or event flyer to your page, be sure to also Post to Wall so it will display in your news feed. Why? Specials, new menus, and events like Easter Brunch or Karaoke Tuesdays are business drivers, so you want to be sure your customers don't miss it. Plus, your customers are more likely to share a menu than a status update.
Don't bury your contact details — Use the About section to display your phone number, hours, price range and address. This info is displayed right below your name, and will make it easy for customers to find you.
Tell a story in your cover photo — Showcase the unique food or experience of your establishment with a photo of your entrance, sign, or food. Facebook prohibits the use of calls to action such as "visit our website" or "like this page," coupons, specials or other advertisements. Cover photos should be large and high-resolution: 851 x 315 pixels.
Prioritize your apps — In the new page layout, only 4 Favorites display front and center. The Photos Favorite occupies the first position by default, which really means you have three prominent billboards to customize. For these three, consider what your customers want to see most - your menu, your reservations link, your mailing list sign up app? You want these items to be valuable to your customers, yet still have that great social context. To get your Facebook Menu App in the prominent first row, click on the pencil icon next to it, and swap it out with another favorite. Hide the likes and map - they can see these in your About section.
Build your brand with the Timeline — Give your customers an overview of where your brand came from and where you're going. This gives your brand a story and helps you build credibility. Simply click Milestone in the status update bar and add the details. Facebook even gives you the option to tag a photo or upload a significant photo to document the milestone. Start with your establishment's creation, and add major events, new locations, charity fundraisers, etc. Then be sure there are dates on your photos, posts, and past events.
Learn about your visitors — "Talking about this" is a newer Facebook measurement tool, which you can see under your restaurant's name on your page or in the new Admin Panel. This new tool can help you identify how people are using your page. When you have at least 30 customers talking about your page in a seven-day period, you can see details about them - how many men versus women and breakdown by age group. This is valuable information for your page posts and marketing. When you understand who is visiting your page and responding to your posts, you can better target your posts and promotions.
Pin important posts — Pinned posts, which allow you to "pin" a post to the top of your Wall for up to seven days, is one of the strongest new ways to control your customer reach. It's like an ad that's actually interesting. Grab a post that was heavily "liked" or highlight an award your restaurant just received. Then, pin it to the top of your Wall so that it's the first thing your fans and new visitors see.
Use a call to action — Get customers to interact with your page by giving a call to action in your posts. Be very specific about what you want them to do with posts like, "Check in when you dine with us to enter a monthly drawing for free dinner." Ask customers to share the page or event with their friends. This is especially useful when you are running a promotion or contest. Ask them to post their pictures. For instance, if a couple had a proposal last night at your restaurant, ask them to tag your location in the pictures. Or be proactive and take your own photo. Be sure to get the customers' names and tag them (with their permission, of course). Moves like this can earn you likes and "talking about this" credits.
Highlight big events — You have the option to make a post span the Timeline, meaning that it will stretch across the two columns of your new Facebook page. This is a great way to highlight something big on your timeline such as your St. Patrick's Day shindig or your Easter brunch promo. Simply click the star in the upper right corner of the post, and the post will span your timeline. You can only highlight a post or pin a post - not both - so experiment to see what engages your restaurant's customers more. Be sure to add a flyer or photo to make your post visually interesting.