How local restaurants can use social media to their advantage and win customers by heart.
We all know that social media is crucial to one’s brand, but what does it mean to fully utilize social media? Is it just a matter of clever posts every now and then, or is it reflected through engagement and creating real customer experiences?
Over 90% of restaurants have a social media presence, making the industry one of the most digitally savvy sectors. Now, restaurant owners are using multiple platforms to engage their communities — and it’s not just the big chains. Smaller, local restaurants are getting in on the action.
Nowadays, in 2020, we observe the growing significance of online presence. Alongside nationwide social distancing measures, restaurants are in urgent need of marketing with social media. Moreover, without dine-in options, online presence fills in the void of the dining experience. And with social media platforms as a starting point, restaurants can generate revenue through multiple channels.
Restaurant Social Media Strategy
Sprinklr and other research firms looked into restaurant social media use, including followers, shares, engagement, and content. Here are three key points that smaller restaurants can use to elevate their social media marketing and customer experience.
1. Prioritize Engagement Over Volume
Having a massive social media following may seem great on paper, but your engagement ratio is far more important. How do you engage with your community? Simple — you provide content of great values rather than of large volumes. If your content is interesting and share-worthy, your current and potential customers are more likely to follow your products.
To produce share-worthy content, you need to know your audience.
So, what do they love? What’s important to them? Where do they get their spirit?
Or, do they all support a local sports team? Does your restaurant take part in any events?
Don’t just throw a hashtag in there. Instead, delve into the head of your customers. Create meaningful content, educate customers with great resources.
2. Focus on Local Communities
It’s not just about getting more customers into your restaurant, but turning them into your ambassadors. Your reputation is built through your true fans. Nurturing your ambassadors is paramount.
You need to stay relevant to your audience by being present in the community and speaking their language. This way, your customer relationships can grow both online and offline. If you offer delivery options through 3rd party platforms, people can easily catch you on social media and through reviews. Every effort counts in community building.
To begin with, use Google My Business and GEO focused ads targeting. Maximize local exposure through GMB and Google ads, as the search engine is still a major channel shaping people’s decisions.
Moreover, join Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter groups for local businesses and certain dietary communities. This works better when your restaurants tailor towards a special dietary group. These popular social media platforms integrate content, ads, and community engagement into one; this highlights the importance of maintaining your restaurant social media channels.
3. Create an Experience
One thing that independent restaurants can do, which chains can’t, is to create unique customer experiences. Because most chains still follow a strict formula that’s been tried and tested. Their food, service, and overall experience are consistent throughout the country. With small businesses, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Firstly, encourage word of mouth, in a positive way. You need to be unique and still locally relevant to create experiences that customers would post, tweet, and blog about. Customer reviews on social networking sites are trusted by over 70% of people; this is far more than paid reviews published in news sources. Therefore, more engagement and better experiences, more loyal customers. At the same time, monitoring comments on your restaurant social media helps you improve and build onto strengths.
Then, interact with customers by replying and reacting to their comments. No matter what kind of comments or interactions customers give to your business, always reply. This would not only maintain your friendly brand tone but also boost your engagement rate.
Incorporate off-premises technology, such as delivery apps, ordering digital kiosks, etc. These tech tools may seem expensive to implement at first, but they almost guarantee to increase your revenue. Digital signage is a useful tool for your window and indoor displays; you can advertise with digital signs and change content to your customers’ liking in a click.
In summary, social media is turning into one of the great playing-field levelers, giving small businesses advantages over big businesses. With a well-crafted restaurant marketing strategy, you don’t need a massive marketing budget to get your customers through the door.
Wondering if you can integrate social media and digital signage?
With digital signage, you can:
- Incorporate live social media into your content rotation;
- Showcasing customer’s tweets, Instagram photos, Yelp reviews;
- Drive customer engagement.