February 15, 2018
HOW RESTAURANTS ARE USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO REWARD CUSTOMERS
Whether you’re an established restaurant or a new one, complacency could mean the end of your business in one of the most competitive industries in the world. Great food spots are a dime a dozen in almost every city and the competition is only increasing. As the general manager or owner of a restaurant, what is your value proposition to your hungry consumers? What is it that sets your restaurant apart and how do you voice that to them? Maybe it’s your locally sourced food, fresh recipes, organic or vegan options, luxury dishes, customer loyalty program, your unbeatable prices, or a combination of these. Whatever that X-Factor is, it should be one of the core components of your restaurant marketing plan. But how are you getting that message to your potential customers?!
As the chief operator of your restaurant, we’re sure you’d take any advantage over the local competition to bring more hungry customers in the door. In today’s highly digital and mobile age, having a strong social and digital presence is the biggest factor that will help distinguish your eatery from all others. Why is this? Consumers report being on their phones for upwards of 4 hours per day on average. According to a recent poll by Marketing Sherpa, the number one deciding factor affecting consumers when choosing a new restaurant or bar are the social reviews provided by previous customers. It’s a well known fact that positive word-of-mouth advertising will do wonders for your business; nowadays, your business’ social reviews fill this role of advertising. Tied for being the second most important factor for consumers deciding on meal options, is social media presence. If these two statistics don’t emphasize the importance of having a powerful digital and social presence for your restaurant then we’re not sure what else will. Social media is your edge above the competition in the restaurant industry… utilize it wisely.
Restaurant marketing has evolved drastically in the last 20 years. Today it’s hard to keep up with all the avenues you have to market your restaurant. Honing in on your most effective marketing tools for your restaurant will be crucial for your marketing ROI. So what can you do with social media for restaurants? Luckily, the cards are stacked in your favor. With an array of social platforms all boasting different strengths, all you need is a social media manager to optimize your business’ profiles to attain the most reach from your posted content. Let’s explore how some of the most prevalent social platforms can benefit your restaurant below:
Facebook is a great place to host your restaurant’s social landing page. Your restaurant’s Facebook business page will display your hours, contact information, specials, reviews, and more. Facebook is also a great way to interact with consumers in your local area. If your advertising budget permits, Facebook has some powerful social media advertising tools that yield some of the highest-reward, lowest-cost options available to businesses. With the largest user base and most advanced platform, Facebook is a must have as a restaurant.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social mediums with some of the highest user engagement. It also is picture and video oriented - really emphasizing the “a picture is worth a thousand words” saying. What better place to showcase your restaurants menu items, full course meals, specials, and culture? A delicious looking menu item posted to your restaurant’s Instagram page could be the deciding factor for a hungry person browsing through the app!
Twitter is a dynamic platform and one of the strongest for direct interaction with users. This translates into your restaurant’s social marketing strategy as more engagements with potential and loyal customers. Twitter is also capable of housing HD picture and video content. As one of the fastest growing platforms for younger generations, you could soon learn that a giveaway tweet can reach 10,000 people!
While there are several other social platforms that can be used in your restaurants social media strategy, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are your best bet for your restaurant’s marketing strategy. As more and more people turn to these social media platforms to get their news, find updates on events from businesses, and expand their social experience, there’s never been a better time to amplify your social presence.
One of the biggest facets of success for any restaurant is happy customers, happy bellies, and turning that experience into customer loyalty. Customer loyalty will not only go a long way for your restaurant from a return customer standpoint, but it will serve as another form of positive word-of-mouth advertising. Social media can intertwine itself with customer loyalty in several ways and should be a primary focus in any restaurant’s marketing strategy. Prompting your customers to take their dining experience to your social pages can be a huge catalyst for increasing engagement and getting your social profiles in front of more eyes - all organically. There are several ways to do this with your restaurant that will usually magnify your customer’s overall experience and increase their loyalty. See some examples below that will further detail this mutually beneficial trade off:
Rewarding a customer for an honest review with a coupon, discount on their bill, or free item.
Point of sale displays that show your restaurant’s social media handles and sparking them to find and follow them. Engagement will ensue!
Asking customers permission to publish content with them in it - usually reserved for your most loyal customers.
“People love free stuff”… using your social profiles to leverage a social media giveaway has proven to be one of the strongest marketing tools for restaurants and bars.
As you can tell, there are several ways to interact socially with your customers and build or establish the customer loyalty your restaurant is seeking. Not to be overlooked, and quite possibly one of the biggest pros to these marketing tactics, is the organic reach gained. Organic reach is the cornerstone to increasing your restaurant’s social following, and is one of the most important metrics your social marketing agency should be tracking.
It’s not too late for your restaurant to catch up to the pack or get ahead of the curve in your local area. Do your research or look to hire a social media agency that can effectively take your restaurant’s goals and translate them into initiatives in your social marketing strategy. At Bloom Social, we take pride in our proprietary social marketing strategy for restaurants and bars. With a background in hospitality as a base, we are able to fully understand consumer pain points and identify the best social marketing tools to reach these target markets. Reach out to us today for a free consultation of your restaurant’s social presence or for a proposal on how we can help take your eatery to the next level! It’s time for your business to BLOOM!