Consumers are relying on the internet more and more to obtain information about companies, with Vendasta reporting that 92% of consumers check online reviews, and more than half of those in the 18-to-34 age group are more likely to trust online reviews than recommendations from people they know. In the foodservice industry, operators are responding to these habits by focusing on their online presence.
According to TripAdvisor research, 94% of restaurateurs are tracking their online reputation, and social media ranked as the most effective marketing tool for boosting restaurant business. Here are some ways to learn from customer reviews and employ social media to build awareness about your brand and strong relationships with your patrons.
- Engage with users as much as possible, replying to positive comments as well as negative ones to make people feel more connected to your brand and provide prompt customer service. Another way to humanize your business is to put the spotlight on your employees, sharing their professional accomplishments and even personal milestones.
- Take action based on diners’ feedback. If they aren’t responding well to a dish on the menu, adjust it or remove it as needed. If they complain about the service they received, bring these concerns to the attention of your staff and use them as a learning experience.
- Help your followers stay informed by keeping them updated about specials, events and promotions. Consider offering periodic coupons as an added incentive.
- Pictures, videos, links and GIFs add an extra element to posts to help them stand out. Sales data can help determine desirable menu items to feature in visuals. Third-party articles that are relevant for your brand and to your audience add variety to your more self-promotional content.
- If you’re worried the cost and labor required, take advantage of free social media management software and news alerts that will help you schedule posts ahead of time, monitor feedback and gauge the response to your efforts.
Shrestha, Khusbu. 50 Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews, Vendasta, August 2016.
New Research: 2017 TripAdvisor Restaurant Marketing Study, TripAdvisor, June 2017.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants, WebstaurantStore, August 2017.
Dupuis, Nicole. 4 Instagram Strategies To Keep Customers Hungry, Restaurant Insider, November 2016.
Lawrence, Kelsey. How Quickly Does a Food Trend Grow? As Fast as You Can Post to Instagram, Restaurant Insider, August 2017.