Did you know that 90% of customers take into account the opinion of their peers before buying?
In today's digital age, social media has become an essential part of restaurant marketing. Customers are increasingly relying on recommendations and references from their peers to make their buying decisions. As such, restaurants need to focus on developing effective strategies to better position themselves in the digital world. This article will explore the importance of social media recommendations in restaurant marketing and provide some tips on how to leverage social media to reach new customers and retain existing ones.
The Power of Social Media Recommendations
Studies have shown that customer recommendations are one of the most influential factors when it comes to making purchase decisions. In fact, a survey conducted by researchers in the UK found that recommendations are present in more than half of purchase decisions (53%). Furthermore, two out of three consumers take into account the opinions of other users before making a purchase and value them as a fairly or very important factor when purchasing a product/service.
The influence of recommendations is especially important in online stores, where customers may not have the opportunity to physically see or touch the product or service they are interested in. This is where social media can play a significant role in providing customers with the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Specialized portals are the channels most used by those surveyed to find out the opinions of other users (59%), followed by social networks (38%) and blogs (31%). Within social networks, the most used are Facebook (73%), Twitter (39%) and LinkedIn (52%).
The Importance of Trust
The power of recommendations lies in the trust they generate. Customers are more likely to trust the opinions of their friends and family members when it comes to making purchase decisions. According to the IBM 'Greater expectations' report, the main source of influence when making any purchase decision is the recommendations of friends and family (74%). As such, it is essential for restaurants to focus on delivering excellent customer service and providing a satisfactory shopping experience to encourage positive recommendations.
Marketing in the Digital Age
Recent research shows that online comments and opinions influence 88% of consumers. Not applying a digital strategy is failing to bet on a dissemination channel with a wide reach. In other words, not having a social media presence is a missed opportunity to reach potential customers.
Social media is an excellent means of advertising at a low cost. Advertising on social networks costs little, especially compared to traditional restaurant marketing. However, it's important not to underestimate the power of this tool. The low cost of social media ads is even more significant when we think about the platform's audience reach. A post on the internet can reach millions of internet users, bringing your brand closer to the potential customer.
Transforming Social Media into a Means of Promoting Products
If presence on social networks is already so important, transforming the channel into a means of promoting products cannot be left out. Media like Instagram and Facebook are excellent ways to present what your restaurant has to offer. Potential customers who are still unaware of your brand may be interested in going to the restaurant after seeing your posts and recommendations on the networks.
Here are some effective strategies that restaurants can implement to better position themselves in the digital world:
Create a strong social media presence
The first step to building a successful social media presence is to choose the right platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are some of the most popular social media platforms that restaurants can use to promote their brand. However, it is essential to research which platforms your target audience uses the most and focus your efforts on those.
Once you have chosen the platforms, create engaging and visually appealing content to post on your social media pages. You can share behind-the-scenes videos of your restaurant, pictures of your dishes, and highlight special events or promotions.
Encourage customer reviews
One of the most effective ways to build trust and attract new customers is through positive customer reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, or Facebook. You can also offer incentives like discounts or free items to customers who leave a review.
Utilise influencer marketing
Partnering with influencers can be an effective way to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness. Find influencers who align with your brand values and ask them to create content featuring your restaurant. In exchange, you can offer them a free meal or compensation.
Use paid social media advertising
Social media advertising is an affordable and effective way to reach a wider audience. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer targeted advertising options, allowing you to show your ads to specific demographics or people who have shown interest in similar restaurants.
Engage with your followers
Social media is a two-way street. To build a strong relationship with your followers, it is essential to engage with them. Respond to comments and messages promptly, share user-generated content, and ask for feedback on your products or services.
What Platform Should You Use?
Here are some platforms for your social media marketing for pubs and restaurants.
Since Facebook is the most widely used social media site, your restaurant must maintain an active and trustworthy page there. Maintain an active social media presence by posting images of food and scheduling out material regularly.
Create a Twitter account, and use it often. Data suggests daily tweeting and retweeting frequency should be at least ten times. Make an effort to interact with people on Twitter, tweet about current events, and utilize campaign-related hashtags.
Greggs, a bakery brand in the United Kingdom, became famous in 2019 due to a tweet promoting a vegan sausage roll. This was an easily accessible and low-cost method of advertising their goods and services.
Instagram is image-based, so keep things visually interesting. Host picture competitions with a theme, use hashtags and identify your locations. Remember that you can't generate any call-to-action (CTA) traffic from Instagram to your website since Instagram doesn't allow hyperlinks. However, often posting on Instagram keeps you on clients' minds and gives them a glimpse of the business's inner workings.
Pinterest is another essential social media network to use in addition to Twitter. Pints per day may range from three to eleven. Display your restaurant's character with boards with images of meals, employees, and noteworthy events.
Other Social Media Platforms
Participate in ongoing conversations, observe relevant holidays, host competitions and giveaways, post often, promote daily deals and provide operational details.
Remember that engaging with your audience is crucial across all social media channels. Customers may discover more about your restaurant through social media, but they can also visit your website.
In conclusion, social media has become an essential tool for restaurants to attract and retain customers. By creating a strong social media presence, encouraging customer reviews, utilizing influencer marketing, using paid social media advertising, and engaging with followers, restaurants can position themselves for success in the digital world.