social marketing

You are What You Tweet - Social Media for Restaurants

You are What You Tweet

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Today, social media’s impact on restaurants is more significant than ever. Whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how a restaurant executes a social media strategy. If done right, social media can have massive marketing power at a minimal cost.

But just creating social media accounts and aimlessly pushing out self-promoting content is not enough. These basic social media marketing tips will help increase your restaurant’s reach and engagement and get more people in your door.

Know Your Audience

Before creating a social plan, you first have to define your restaurant’s audience. Age, gender, location, and interests are just a few of many qualities you may want to consider. Once you establish the audience, the next thing to do is determine on which platforms that audience is active. These platforms are where you’ll start.

Taco Bell, whose target market is 18-34 year-olds, knows that 71% of Snapchat users are between 18-34 years old. So, naturally, that’s where their social media efforts are focused. They post daily on Snapchat, and only about one or twice a week on Facebook and Twitter.

Once you know your audience and what platforms they’re on, the next step is speaking their language. Taco Bell does this by using phrases made popular by millennials and Generation Z like “it’s lit” and “extra.” But this can backfire if you’re not careful. Being genuine is key on social media. Avoid posting anything that seems unnatural to you because if it seems forced to you, it probably seems forced to your audience too.

Word of Mouth Marketing 

The restaurant industry has always relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. Organic word-of-mouth is when a friend goes to a restaurant and raves to you about how amazing their experience at that restaurant was. Next time you’re looking for a place to eat, you may consider this restaurant based on your friends’ recommendation.

Social media word-of-mouth is the same idea. Except instead of personal recommendations, people may look to tweets or Facebook reviews. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You can’t afford to ignore feedback on social media. If your restaurant receives a negative review, it’s crucial to respond as soon as possible by acknowledging the problem, apologizing, and offering an incentive to get them back in your door. This builds credibility and trust with that specific reviewer, and with everyone else who visits your review page.

Addressing positive feedback is also helpful. A customer that goes out of the way to share a good review is a customer you want to keep. Responding to their feedback is the cherry on top of their experience that can turn a one time reviewer into a lifetime brand advocate.

Share Valuable Content

Valuable content, whether it’s informative, engaging, or entertaining, gives customers an incentive to follow your restaurant and keeps them continually coming back for more.

You should share anything that may affect your audience’s ability to visit your restaurant, such as construction in the area, holiday hours, special events, and more. This kind of communication helps customers feel involved and ultimately can establish customer loyalty.

“Behind-the-scenes” content is also a valuable tool. This could include employee spotlights, a “sneak peek” at new menu items, and other back-of-house happenings. When you pull back the curtain, you’re creating a sense of inclusivity and developing an emotional connection with your customers. Having this kind of relationship with customers is invaluable to a restaurants success.

Encourage User-Generated Content (UGC)

With more than 260 million posts tagged #food on Instagram, food pictures are undoubtedly one of the most popular types of content on Instagram. There’s a good chance your customers are posting about your restaurant with or without your interaction.

To capitalize on these posts, many restaurants implement campaigns encouraging customers to use a hashtag unique to their restaurant. To further incentivize customers to share, restaurants often make it a competition, offering SWAG or gift cards to the most creative post.

Not only can user-generated posts take some content building responsibilities off your shoulders, but it also acts as a valuable endorsement, since consumers value peer opinions more so than a brand’s cleverly written sales pitch.

What Instagram Can Do For Your Business That Twitter Cannot

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I don’t follow a ton of people on Twitter but I’ve carefully built a feed of:

1) people or brands who share and create useful content
2) people or brands I know or those I’ve connected with in some fashion and
3) folks who are simply kind, entertaining and engaging online.

I’ve built some rewarding relationships on Twitter, met great people and even collaborated on ideas and projects. It can be a valuable platform as long as you’re giving as much as you’re taking away.

Despite all of this deliberate cultivation of tweet sources, Twitter can feel like a social media Groundhog Day – a loop of the same “6 Ways to Whatever” and a broken record of links. To combat this problem Twitter has better integrated images and videos into tweets over the passed year. And it has helped. Stats show engagement rates increase as much as 151% on tweets with images. We’re visual people. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.

So imagine your brand’s visual story being told on a platform inherently geared toward images. Instagram isn’t all selfies and lattes. Companies large and small across a variety of industries are finding creative ways to utilize Instagram as a vehicle for social communication.

What Instagram Can Do For Your Business:

Help You Show More Culture: Consumers, in general, you, me and we, want to know more about the people behind the brands we engage with. It’s easier to connect and relate brand voice and brand tendencies with a person or group of people than it is to a logo or name or product packaging. That hasn’t necessarily changed from consumer interest 20-30 years ago but the way it happens and the scale at which it happens certainly has.

Instagram is the chance to provide a glass door look into your culture; from philanthropy to pumpkin carving, Instagram is a chance to show the human side of the business and even activate employees to do the same.

Help You Show More Quality and Value: If you create a product Instagram is the perfect place to provide proof of quality, from the materials you use in the process, to the packaging. If you provide a service give folks a peek at the brainstorming. Let them see the breadth of team, skills, and work that goes into delivering a great service experience.

Help You Show More Travel: Heading out for a conference, client meeting or event? Use Instagram to capture highlights and local interests. Relevant hashtags and location tagging helps you connect with audiences that could ultimately turn into buyers.

71% More Likely to Purchase Based on Social Media Referrals

This stat is from a 2012 article but even if that number is skewed slightly the fact remains that social done right builds trust. Instagram provides a visually driven way to communicate and connect. More Instagram How-to’s here.

How is your company using Instagram? Share your challenges and successes in the comments below.

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