When it comes to taking advantage of the powerful tools social media has to offer, no one has done it quite like the restaurant industry.
From posting mouthwatering food and drink photos to utilizing user-generated content and authentically engaging with their audience and customers, other industries could learn a thing or two by looking at how restaurants use social media.
Social media is a crucial part of running any type of modern business. Even if you don’t have the budget to put major money behind posts and ads, simply having a consistent posting schedule and being authentically human on social media will go a long way in strengthening your brand awareness, expanding your customer base, and encouraging customer loyalty.
The restaurant industry has been able to leverage each nugget of potential that social media offers. This has placed them right in the sweet spot where customers not only expect to see them on social media but look forward to seeing them.
Customers are Instagramming photos of their food, checking in on Facebook, writing reviews on Google and Yelp, following their favorite spots on Twitter, and liking restaurant pages on Facebook. It’s a truly incredible thing to witness industries embracing social media and the many benefits it can offer them.
But how exactly are they utilizing social media marketing so well? And even more importantly, how can other industries learn from them and incorporate those skills into their marketing strategies?
Let’s talk about it!
The Big Secret About How Restaurants Use Social Media
First and foremost, restaurants have discovered the true secret to social media: the audience.
Social media is all about your audience and – more importantly – meeting and exceeding their needs in terms of content. The heart of your social media marketing strategy should always be the people you are marketing to. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you aren’t fostering engagement from your unique audience, you might as well be shouting into the void.
Restaurants have this down to a science. They know their audience loves to eat and talk about eating – so they give them mouthwatering food content and have open and honest conversations on their social pages about food. You’ll notice that a lot of socially successful restaurant accounts talk to their customers about their business like they are their own biggest fans – because they are! They are fans the same way your customers do – which shows their humanity and creates a lighthearted and fun atmosphere for their customers on social media.
The big secret is to take the necessary steps to get to know and understand your audience and what they want. Once you figure this out, every decision for your social media marketing should be influenced by that information.
Up-To-Date Knowledge = Sales
We may not be math geniuses, but there is one equation that we do understand.
Up-to-date knowledge equals sales.
When you keep your audience up to date with all changes to your business, your followers will be more inclined to trust and visit your business (whether it’s a brick-and-mortar business or an online shop.)
People don’t like to be surprised. They don’t like missing information. So, the more you can update your information on the likes of Facebook and other social media platforms, the better off you’ll be.
Think of it this way: If you’re in a new place and want to go out to eat, you’ll look up restaurants online to find one that piques your interest. You find the perfect one and you may even know the exact meal you’re going to order. Then, you drive to the establishment, stomach growling and ready to devour a delish meal, only to find that it’s closed even though it said it was open on their website and social media pages.
That’s an awful feeling. You feel like the restaurant lied to you, and when a business can’t be trusted to help its audience find them and interact with its products, services, or brand, you often can’t build back that trust. You’ve just lost loyal customers.
Thankfully, most restaurants are aware of this and don’t do that. Instead, they keep their business information up to date to ensure their audience has all the information they need to spend their $$$ AND maintain their trust in that business.
This is a good practice for businesses in all industries.
Focus Efforts On a Select Few Social Media Platforms
You won’t find many restaurants with an account on every single social media platform. Effectively using social media is all about quality over quantity. Consider your unique branding and audience. If your content is enjoyed and your presence feels “meant to be” on the platforms you choose, you’re doing it right.
More social media accounts don’t necessarily mean more sales. It’s all about choosing the right accounts on the platforms your audience is using most frequently.
Embrace the Value of User-Generated Content
We know, it’s hard to give up control of your content. But the truth is, one of the reasons social media is so powerful for marketing is its ability to foster user-generated content.
When customers leave a review, tag a business, or post a photo/video of your product, they’re sending a message that says, “I have intimate knowledge of this business and I want to share it.”
The restaurant industry took this concept and ran with it. After all – people love posting photos and videos of their yummy food and drinks. However – the businesses that are doing this well are the ones that not only welcome user-generated content but encourage it!
And most importantly, when it comes to user-generated content, all of it is valuable. We can see that in the thousands of examples of restaurants being tagged or used as the subject for a TikTok video or Instagram post.
It’s great to hear that people are enjoying what your business has to offer, but it’s equally important to address issues and criticisms that arise on social media before others make a scene online about your establishment and you end up going viral for all the wrong (and often untrue) reasons. Social media can help your audience humanize and empathize with your brand, and you should be keeping a close eye on your brand’s online reputation.
Start Leveraging How Restaurants Use Social Media to Reach Your Own Business Goals
While there are many other ways that the restaurant industry is successfully using social media to grow its brands, the ones mentioned above are the most noteworthy solutions other industries can learn from.
At the end of the day, social media is here to stay. So rather than trying to run away from it, or even worse, try to force it to be how YOU want it to be; why not try embracing it for what it is and the endless ways it can help you strengthen your brand, boost your sales, and connect with your audience. By studying how restaurants use social media, we can all learn a thing or two.
SharedTEAMS has helped businesses in many industries improve their online reputation and grow their audience on social media. Reach out to us today and let us know how we can help you!