The restaurant industry, like the business world as a whole, has changed dramatically with the advent of social networks.
Today, a strong social media presence is praised, indeed expected, by associates and customers and those companies, willing to embrace the platform with open arms, are finding themselves the beneficiaries of notable success.
SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?
It is estimated that more than a quarter of consumers in the United States have endorsed a product, service or brand to someone in their online social circle during the last three months. Smart restaurant management the team takes this figure seriously, making it the backbone used to justify marketing costs.
Presenting new business and menus to current and potential customers has become a regular practice. The ability to engage with a broad audience in a timely manner has given restaurants the advantage of measurable data on menu preferences from real customers. Instead, diners can leave an unbiased review which, if positive, also gives the restaurant an added advantage. With nearly 87 percent of consumers preparing to base their purchase decision on the support of peer reviews, businesses have made the availability of those reviews a top marketing priority.
Another extensive study conducted by the Nation Restaurant Association found that nearly a third of all online consumers would be willing to connect with a restaurant on social platforms if regular specials were offered. Findings like these are especially helpful for business owners who are initially deterred by the number of social media venues and the knowledge of using them effectively.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
While unquestionably the king of social media for restaurants, Facebook is closely followed by Twitter and other sites like Foursquare. While Foursquare has received some skepticism over its usefulness for business in general, it has adapted remarkably well to the food service industry. Visitors can “check-in” to their current location to earn loyalty points as well as gain access to the venue’s exclusive foursquare offers. Pinterest, another social platform that focuses mainly on photography, allows restaurants to post pictures of their facilities, guests and food in a controlled effort.
WHAT’S THE LACK?
Having a social media presence can create something of a challenge for many businesses. 82 percent of businesses update their presence less than five times a month. This has a serious negative impact on customer perception. Social media is only effective if it is constantly monitored and engaged. Customers who discover a restaurant’s social pages and post questions, concerns, or comments without getting any feedback are potentially offended, thereby passing on negative reviews to their colleagues who do so in turn. The snowball effect is very prevalent in social media circles. For managers and owners to combat this eventuality, they must use their time to stay active and relevant.
While it is true that some established restaurants may choose to ignore the world of social media, the majority will find that full acceptance of its power and place in traditional marketing and advertising pays dividends. While there are indeed pitfalls to getting into this type of marketing endeavor, they can easily be avoided with one hundred percent commitment and vigilance on the part of the owner and management staff. With constant interaction, whether it’s sharing recipe secrets, posting “how-to” videos, or simply entertaining conversations with guests, restaurants can gain positive word-of-mouth reviews at an unprecedented rate and pace.
Zac Parker is an active blogger who loves to write informative articles and is passionate about education and careers. Follow him to get closer insights on a career in the culinary industry to become a top chef.