Social media is changing the way we engage in our daily lives, connecting the world and influencing the way we think, feel and behave. While this may sound fast paced and even alien to some, it provides caterers with an opportunity to discover new ways to attract and retain diners.
Clicking into gear
Research commissioned by Fairway Foodservice has found that an eatery’s website is now the main channel that consumers will look-up prior to a visit. A strong social media platform with a clear strategy can also help drive footfall as choosing where to eat moves away from the traditional approach and utilising a range of platforms to piece together plans.
The data identified that more than three quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds aren’t looking for restaurants they want to eat at, rather the type of the cuisine they feel like eating.
To do this, a large proportion (40 per cent) of these users are now checking a caterer’s Instagram page before visiting.
Users want consistency from accounts and if they regularly receive content they are not expecting or started following you for, chances are they will unfollow and are unlikely to give you their business.
Building a following around the topics, in this case cuisines, you want to be known for is the key to success and while this may lead to people unfollowing your accounts, a smaller number of truly engaged fans can lead to more growth as younger diners in particular are remaining loyal to their favourite restaurants.
Clear, concise, consistent
To support building a community, research relevant hashtags and consider different approaches for the various platforms.
For example, Twitter could focus on your corporate messages and news updates, Facebook could focus on offers and promotions, and Instagram on cuisines.
Being consistent with your updates, including frequency, type of content, and tone of voice, will help your social media results reach new heights.
On the flip side, users like to know what to expect when they scroll through their feeds, and irrelevant or unwanted content is one of the main reasons they disconnect from a brand.
Understanding the user
Link in your other analytics to understand the entire customer journey and build a picture of what actions people take after seeing your posts.
For example, view your Google Analytics to see how much traffic goes to your website from your social media accounts, what pages they visit, and how long they stay on your site.
Leaving a digital tip
A quality dining experience remains at the heart of customer attraction and retention, but diners are more inclined now to leave their comments and thoughts on social media afterwards.
The research identified that half of all consumers say their choice of where to eat was driven by a recommendation by a close friend or family member, with diners aged between 45 and 64 likely to share a post on Facebook – with a check-in status on social media going some way to getting people through the door.
This is a feature most popular among customers aged between 25 and 44, while a quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds will post a picture of their experience on Facebook.
Going on to follow/like an establishment on social media off the back of a positive experience is usually done by 25 per cent of diners.
Encourage people to leave positive reviews and share their thoughts by way of competitions and giveaways.
Of course, if consumers have a negative experience they generally don’t return, with up to 15 per cent contacting venues on social media to complain.
As well as training staff to minimise negative incidents, explore ways for such feedback to be kept offline by dealing with it within the premises.
Article kindly contributed by Outwrite PR, an award-winning PR and digital communications agency. It helps brands achieve their objectives through creative storytelling, and they believe every business should have an agency they never want to leave: Reliable. Refreshing. Rewarding.