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No marketing budget? No problem, get your customers marketing for you..

 

Two thirds of people check a restaurant’s social media before eating out, according to the latest research from HGEM, while 30% said they were looking for menu information, another 22% were seeking customer reviews.

 

Check your daily Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Feed and watch the flurry of candid food photographs swirl in one by one. Immaculately placed gluten free muffins with an elegant egg disarmingly hanging off the side, an organic quinoa salad and salmon ceviche all topped off with an #instafood hashtag and the user generated iphone-esque style of images are good to go.

Share everything

We live in a society of people who want to share experiences, good or bad. Social media has created a landscape for customers to praise or exploit businesses. Having an opinion in the public domain makes it imperative for brands and business owners to be responsive to elicit feedback, whether it is positive or negative it is now an expectancy from customers to seek acknowledgement of these experiences. Ensuring you provide this service from every touchpoint is now fundamental, and a lot of this will fall under social media.

Trust in your peers

A lot of restaurants, bars, pubs and hospitality venues now have a dedicated customer service team within the social media sector. While it can put brands under scrutiny by having complaints publicized, one thing to remember is that social media is a hugely impactful tool when it comes to free marketing. Giving your customers the opportunity to promote your business through these platforms increases brand awareness, and with this comes referrals, word of mouth is one of the key forms of new business within hospitality, as customers seek the opinion of their peers through social media to look for places to eat and drink.

Anything for a selfie

Photo opportunities are somewhat at the heart of a lot of experiences, while Instagram is the more popular platform among millennials, Facebook is prevalent among the 40+ generation, while 28-40 year olds sit in between. What becomes commonplace among these social platforms is the avocation within sharing photographs.

How to get them posting

So, what entices people to share? Having a photo opportunity embedded somewhere within your customer’s experience is likely to lead to a post of some description, where that be a bathroom mirror selfie (@sketch have nailed this), or a famous dish of yours.

1) Interior is where is starts, for example @palmvaults (recently dubbed London’s most instagrammable café) have a pink theme running throughout which makes for many instagrammable snaps. @bourneandhollingsworthbuilding and @strutandcluck are also highly ranked among the instagrammable interiors, it would seem indoor plants and a clean interior go a long way with sharing posts.

2) Create dishes that are presented with personality! Food doesn’t have to be artistic and have edible flowers laced across it to be shared on social media, a small but effective detail or something a bit different or stand out will allure your customers in to sharing.

3) Give them experiences to share, @sohohouse make great use of this by having a photobooth guests can use, the photobooth is the first touch point for a photo opportunity, which then leads others to share the physical experience memorabilia to Instagram.

4) Give them something to engage with beyond the food, @tgifridays use in-store masks for their promotions which encourage their guests to wear the masks and promote them through social media platforms using seasonal hash tags.

5) Incentivize their sharing with competitions, ‘upload a photo and tell us why you deserve to win a free meal’ – by giving people the chance to win something in turn for their free marketing, they’re more likely to share knowing they may have something in return.

6) Engage them past the payment point. Don’t let the journey end at the bill payment point, ‘tell us about your experience on Facebook and we’ll send you a 10% off voucher code’ (this point is dependent on whether you can gauge a negative or positive experience!)

Round up:

Two thirds of people are checking out your social media presence before they dine/ drink with you

1) Millennials are choosing Instagram as their main sharing platform

2) 40+ are choosing Facebook as their main sharing platform

3) 30-40 year olds are split between both

4) All demographics like to share their experiences

5) Photo opportunities are a perfect form of free marketing

6) Good interiors prompt for instagrammable posts

7) Present your food with personality

8) Use on-site experiences to prompt photo sharing

9) Incentivize your guests to share

10) Engage customers beyond the bill, incentivize them for feedback on social media

 

Top tip: Remember any incentives you run to prompt social media activity and free customer marketing can be placed easily within your till system. To learn how we can help you do this, give one of our helpful sales representatives a call today.