Learn how to use LINE OA, a great helper for boosting sales through the roof!

Jul 17, 2021
It cannot be denied that the digital world has come to play an increasingly important role in the lifestyles of people every day. Even in the restaurant business, the internet provides an important channel for accessing massive numbers of customers. Whether close by or far away, it is possible to introduce yourself to your customers at any place and any time and motivate people to try out your food. It also provides a channel for distribution. Particularly with the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that the online channel is essential. Many restaurants are now surviving just by marketing and generating sales online such as through LINE official accounts. Thus, for this occasion, we invited Ms. "Zoey Digital Shortcut" or Pharm. [for pharmacist] Sopa Pimsiripanich, an online marketing guru and the first certified LINE@ trainer in Thailand, to help share some advice and usage techniques of LINE official accounts for restaurant businesses.

Why Restaurants Need LINE Official Accounts

Restaurants are businesses that need LINE official accounts (LINE OA) because they are like great containers for collecting customers, which is important to restaurant businesses. Moreover, they can be used to directly communicate with customers, which is different from other social media platforms where messages or food pictures you post might not be seen by your customers. LINE OAs are like direct messengers because customers have to open and use them regularly, making it possible for you to build their appetites whenever they do.

How Important Are Approved Accounts (Blue Shield Accounts)?

There are three different classes of LINE OAs as follows: 1) Standard accounts or gray shield accounts; they're the ones you generally get when you open an account; 2) Approved accounts or blue shield accounts; they are accounts approved by LINE in Thailand and so have greater credibility; they can be applied on your own; and 3) Premium accounts or green shield accounts; these come with many special privileges, but you have to contact LINE in Thailand.

If a restaurant entrepreneur has a storefront and a clearly designated place of business, it is easy to apply for a blue shield account. The privileges for such accounts include the following:

  1. You can print posters of LINE characters such as the Brown the bear and Cony the bunny. The posters can be put up at the restaurant or posted on social media. The posters alco contain QR codes for adding friends and following.
  2. You gain the advantage of increased search visibility. Ordinary customers will be able to search for your restaurant through the LINE application. For example, when a person searches with "Japanese restaurant" as the keywords, a LINE OA restaurant blue shield account containing the keywords will instantly show up in the results, but gray shield accounts will not be recommended. Therefore, this gives you a way to increase your brand awareness.
  3.  Nearby special privilege or feature – Blue shield accounts will immediately be recommended whenever a person starts using this feature. For example, if someone is in the Rama III area and searches for a restaurant nearby, all LINE OA blue shield accounts in the Rama III area will be recommended and presented in categories such as restaurants, fashion stores, auto shops, etc.
  4. You have a survey menu for subscribers to enter useful business information in such as how they learned about the restaurant. To that question, they will be able to say whether friends recommended it to them, they saw advertisement media or the restaurant was near to their home. Although gray shield accounts can use this feature to conduct surveys and broadcast, blue shield accounts can use open-ended questions, making it possible to gain more customer reviews.
Sometimes people can't apply for these accounts. One of the most frequently encountered problems for this is that the LINE OA business name is not similar to the name of the connected website. As a result, approval fails after verification. This means you have to take care to check your information.

Exploring 7 Great LINE OA Features – LINE Official Accounts offer many features for marketing, so restaurant businesses shouldn't miss out on them. One amazing thing about a LINE OA is that it can broadcast your messages in one-to-multiple format so that every follower can receive them, and you still can talk one-on-one with customers. Some features that we recommend for restaurant businesses are as follows:

1. Greeting Message – This is an automatic greeting message generator. You should make the most use of your greeting messages, since you get only one chance to show them to each of your customers when they add you as their friend. If you have something great you would like them to know, you need to let them know in your greeting messages. You can send up to five message balloons (1 text message, 1 picture counts as 1 balloon). This means you can add your Rich videos to introduce your restaurant, customer and celebrity reviews, awards or the television shows your restaurant has been on. You can also try to boost your sales and promote first orders by recommending your monthly promotions or handing out coupons. This feature is managed by an AI system, so follower names are added automatically such as in "Thank you, A, for adding us as your friend. For this month, we would like to offer you a special promotion of a 20% discount for your first purchase. Just click to claim your coupon privilege below…," etc.

2. Rich Menu – LINE OA users should create a rich menu or keyboard pop-up menu that can facilitate convenient communication with customers such as for reward cards, viewing points collected, promotions, food recommendations, even LINE Man services. This feature also makes your restaurant appear more professional.

3. Rich Content – Rich content adds to the professionalism of your account. Your customers will share in your experience and feel closer to you. Creating content by using large pictures will give your customers a clear view of things. It is also possible for you to embed additional links for accessing your websites or destinations. However, sometimes customers can also keep ordinary, unembedded pictures without having to capture their screen. Moreover, videos offer clearer communication nowadays, and rich videos or large videos can effectively communicate with customers. For example, your video can show the inside of your restaurant when packed with customers or a video zooming into steaming food or fresh crabs which attract customers' interest.

4. Reward Cards – These are points collection cards that allow your restaurant customers to collect points and make old customers want to return to you more. It's a form of customer relationship management or CRM that makes customers feel attached to your restaurant and want to return for repeat service.
5. Coupons – For this feature, you use coupons to encourage customers to make decisions. This means it is necessary to broadcast yourself. You might offer buy-1-get-1-free coupons or 20%-discount-by-date… coupons, or promotions to invite friends to pick up green tea ice cream, etc. to make customers feel like they have to buy or lose opportunities.
6. Auto Responses – This feature allows you to respond to messages automatically. It increases convenience and cuts administrative personnel cost. You can set up an auto response system such as by telling customers that they can type "1" to ask about promotions, "2" to ask about the restaurant location, "3" for a daily list of delivered ingredients, "4" opening and closing hours, and "5" to see a map to the restaurant, etc. When customers type these options, they will receive automatic responses.
7. Timeline Post – Many people might think that broadcasting is enough. However, timeline posts are enormously beneficial. LINE OA users can make unlimited timeline posts for free. Moreover, LINE recently released an update that causes posts to also appear on the timelines of followers you like your posts, making it so that their friends can see the restaurant's posts, thus increasing awareness for free. You can also use your private LINE account to share with various groups, making this another great feature that you should use.

Case Studies to Follow and Learn From – For examples of restaurants that you should follow in regards to effective LINE OA usage and to provide ideas for entrepreneurs who are just beginning to use LINE OA, you have Maguro Sushi. This restaurant knows how to make good use of blue shield LINE OA. For example, the restaurant uses card messages or messages shown as sliding picture cards that offer a variety of menu items. It is possible to send up to 9 card messages per message balloon and up to 3 balloons per time. Maguro also creates content and organizes appropriate campaigns for different situations. The restaurant posts pictures of fresh ingredients, makes videos sharing stories about fishing and flights to Japan. All of these posts make customers want to eat at the restaurant. Importantly, the restaurant uses its LINE OA to effectively organize activities with customers such as customer reviews and voucher giveaways, and Maguro also posts on its timeline.

Another example is the Shabu You Restaurant in Rayong. This restaurant uses every LINE OA feature and LINE MyShop, which allows up to 5,000 listed food menu items. Because Shabu You has added all of its food menu items, customers can order deliveries directly through this channel.

Final Comments for Marketing by Restaurant Entrepreneurs – For marketing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is impossible to for you to do things based on your feelings. You have to actually have in-depth knowledge. You need to really know and do well. People who successfully use LINE OA succeed because they use it seriously. They use every feature available. If you don't do it like them, you might turn into a loser who won't survive. Some people say they have it or they use it, but this doesn't mean that they are using it effectively. It might mean they are doing things half-heartedly. You cannot just have it. Winners win because they are effective. Think about it. Of 100 people who know about something, 10 people do something with what they know, and maybe just 1 person succeeds. We believe that a lot of you take in a lot of knowledge.
You follow many different gurus. However, maybe just 10% actually follow the recommended techniques, and perhaps just 1% succeeds. They work constantly and they don't stop when they run into obstacles. We hope that the people who read this article are the 1% who succeed.

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