More than any other industry in the world, social media pair’s best with restaurants. Like fine wine to a good cheese, social media’s share-driven nature and the restaurant industry’s visual qualities make a perfect match. Consumers are using sites like Facebook and Instagram to brag about and endorse their restaurant experiences. From check-ins and photos to reviews and tips, patrons are using social media to give fellow consumers a heads up on the best spots to head to. And yet, so many businesses are unsure of how or why they should use social media themselves.
If you’re a restaurant owner who thinks they can get by without signing up for social media, these top three opportunities should be enough to prove you otherwise.
It Can Turn Customers into Promoters
It’s no secret restaurants run their business on word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews. Social media is probably the best tool restaurants have access to ignore to produce prime reviews and generate the most effective recommendations. Fortunately, there are hundreds of channels that are available and able to provide this service. Sites like Facebook (which has Recommendations) and Foursquare (which as Tips) provide users with a platform that they can leave reviews and recommendations. The more buzz your restaurant receives on social media the more attention it will receive from search engines. This boost in SEO efforts can build awareness amongst clients old and new.
As such, social media can also work to keep businesses a part of the online conversation. Remember, people aren’t just rushing to social media to tell users how great their food was. They’re also writing about the bad experiences too. A good handle over what’s being said about your business online can help you to manage the perception of your brand. In today’s information age, this has be at the top of your priority. Consider, how many times your decision about a restaurant or facility was swayed by the slightest star difference in a Yelp score. Well, recent research has revealed you’re not the only one. Economists who conducted the study found that a half-star distinction in a restaurant’s Yelp score alone could affect a patron’s decision by nearly 27%. By actively encouraging customers to make positive reviews restaurants can produce generous returns on investment.
Don’t underestimate social media’s PR factor as well. These channels allow restaurants an opportunity to both resolve customer complaints and defend themselves in a way that the public can see. Finding new customers can be expensive. These sources can help restaurants prevent customer loss and also clear the air for potential customers who are watching.
It Can Boost Search Discovery
There’s no doubt the internet is giving everyone a platform to start a business in practically every industry. Search engines are becoming flooded with information about new and well-established businesses alike. As a result, the ultimate battle for consumer attention is only just beginning to culminate.
With nearly 55% of online users relying on search engines to find advice on where to dine, restaurants have to ensure that they’re the first to pop up in non-branded searches. A non-branded search is one that that doesn’t contain a target website’s brand. In today’s overcrowded search space, these non-branded searches can decrease a restaurant’s visibility. So, for every time a consumer types in the words “chicken and waffles Memphis,” chicken and waffle restaurants in that area have to make sure that they’re at the top of the results. By publishing content that is optimized for non-branded keywords, restaurants can boost their rank in search results and drive more traffic to their site. The benefits don’t just end there, though. Restaurants can use this new site traffic to generate more recommendations and reviews.
Unlike the traditional media tactics of yesteryear, with social media, “little guy” restaurants actually stand a chance to overthrow corporate chain giants. Restaurant chains spend millions of dollars of their yearly marketing budget on print ads, billboards, and radio. These strategies, as outdated in today’s one marketing age as they may seem, have an opportunity of reaching consumers when they’re not online. It’s a hard act to beat for small independent restaurant owners who hardly see a fraction of those costs in annual revenue. Platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ have practically made this struggle a nonissue. With the right social media strategy, a business can set up a modest budget, increase their marketing campaign’s visibility and grow their customer base. All without a Walmart budget.