What’s all the buzz about? Well, everyone must eat! We can all agree that food is part of our everyday lives. So, it’s no surprise that food is a leading topic on social media. Common trends like the gluten-free diet, fitness and clean eating, to social issues surrounding how our food is processed are popular. People are talking, so how does a restaurant get in on the conversation? How are restaurants leveraging social media as a marketing tool to optimize their brand, build and engage a loyal customer base and discover new opportunities?
Research shows that consumers enjoy connecting with brands and other consumers via social media. Brands that do a good job of engaging their customers through social channels have a greater chance of improving customer trust and loyalty to the brand. According to Empathica research, just 26% of consumers avoid a brand based on a negative review. Incorporating consumer generated content demonstrates a level of transparency that builds trust with your audience for your brand. Although, a system to manage online reputation and monitor negative comments is also important; usually the good outweighs the occasional bad. Even the negative reviews can lead to positive changes to improve future customer experiences.
Social media also provides clout to get out in front of the pack allowing your customers to help with brand advocacy. It’s one thing for the business to tell customers how great they are, but hearing it from a friend or someone they trust usually lends more credence. How consumers view a brand is important, and social media provides a platform to give customers a preview.
When creating your marketing strategy, it’s important to identify your audience, consider what you want to say about your business and what your customers want to know to create the tone of your communication.
Consider these points:
- If your brand is new to social media, look to see what’s working for others providing a similar service in your industry. Do some preliminary research.
- Create engaging content. Images generally perform higher than any other content. Not surprising, considering the rise of visual platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s one thing to read about a good restaurant, but seeing a visual of the food and the setting allows for a more interactive experience.
- Maintain valuable dialogue, it’s called social media for a reason, it’s meant for two-way interactions. Hashtags are a great way to enhance interactions and increase brand visibility. A great example of that is Coca-Cola’s personalization campaign #shareacoke which allowed customers to get involved with soda bottles that had their name and phrases printed on the packaging. This garnered international attention and went viral – everyone wanted to #shareacoke and post it online. Although Coca-Cola is an exceptionally well-known brand, campaigns that allow customers to share and post and be actively involved with your brand is a great way to gain customers who may not have discovered your company just yet.
- Provide exclusive offers to keep customers engaged and potential customers motivated to become fans. Contests are also a great way to keep the audience to continually check-in and prolong engagement.
- Generate leads by incorporating links to direct your audience to your website.
Want to implement a social media strategy into your marketing plan, but not sure where to start? Let us help, contact us today!