Making Social Media Work for the Restaurant Industry

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Making Social Media Work for the Restaurant IndustryThe restaurant industry, much like the business world as a whole, has transformed dramatically with the birth of social networking.

Today, a strong social media presence is lauded, indeed expected, by peers and customers and those establishments, willing to embrace platforms with open arms, are finding themselves recipients of notable success.

SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

It has been estimated that over a quarter of consumers within the United Stated have endorsed a product, service, or brand to someone in their online social circles over the last three months. Savvy restaurant management teams take this number seriously, making it the backbone used to justify the marketing expense.

Showcasing businesses and new menus to current and potential customers has become a regular practice. This ability to engage with a widespread audience in a timely manner has given restaurants the advantage of measurable data regarding menu preferences from true patrons. Conversely, visitors are able to leave unbiased reviews which, if positive, also provide the restaurant with added benefits. With nearly 87 percent of consumers prepared to base their buying decisions on the endorsement of peer reviews, businesses have made the availability of said reviews a top marketing priority.

Other extensive studies conducted by the Nation Restaurant Association found that nearly one-third of all online consumers were willing to connect with a restaurant on social platforms if regular special deals were offered. Findings such as this have helped business owners tremendously who were initially hindered by the number of social media venues and the know-how to use them effectively.

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?

While unquestionably the king of social media for restaurants, Facebook is followed closely by Twitter and other sites such as Foursquare. Although Foursquare has received some scepticism for its usefulness to business in general, it has adapted exceptionally well to the food service industry. Diners can “check-in” to their current location for loyalty points while also gaining access to exclusive foursquare offers from the establishment. Pinterest, another social platform focused primarily on photography, allows restaurants to post images of their facility, guests, and food in a controlled effort.

WHAT IS THE DOWNSIDE?

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 perceptions. Social media is effective only when constantly monitored and engaging. Patrons who discover a restaurant’s social page and post a question, concern, or comment without gaining any feedback may potentially take offense, thereby passing on negative reviews to their associates who do so in turn. The snowball effect is very much prevalent in social media circles. In order for managers and owners to combat this eventuality, they must leverage their time in order to remain active and relevant.

It’s true that some powerfully established restaurants can choose to ignore the realms of social media, however, the majority will find that a full acceptance of its power and place within traditional marketing and advertising will generate huge returns. Though there are admittedly pitfalls to entering into this type of marketing effort, they can be easily avoided with one-hundred percent commitment and vigilance from owners and management staff. By constant interaction, be it sharing recipe secrets, posting “how-to” videos, or simply entertaining a conversation with a guest, restaurants can gain positive word-of-mouth reviews in quantities and at speeds previously undreamed of.

Zac Parker is an active blogger who loves to write informative articles and is very passionate about education and career. Follow him to get close insights on career in culinary industry to become a top chef.

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