The internet has changed how customers perceive restaurants and the food business. Consumers today are highly resourceful with the internet in finding new places to eat, searching for reviews and making online bookings. If you are a restauranteur or an owner of a small F&B outlet, marketing can be tricky and often challenging as you do not want your information to be drowned in the millions of others in the market.
Things to know and do before starting out
First, you need to define your business. Know for sure what you are offering and who are you offering to. Is your restaurant targeting families, young kids, millennials or the Gen Xs? Without knowing these, it is very difficult to derive an advertising campaign that works. What you want is to be able to create content that is relevant to your audience, ads that they are interested in and emails that are related to them. Using the right lingo or jargon that are associated with your target audience will go a long way. Below are some innovative ideas that you can use that can boost your restaurant’s digital reputation.
Use social media for your target to win prizes
Every customer or target audience will like to win prizes. As they spend a lot of time on social media, using this platform to promote your brand and letting them win stuff will be exciting. A good example of this would be to ask them to tag their dining friend and be a winner in a giveaway contest. With this type of challenge:
- Your brand’s visibility can be boosted
- You will garner more followers on your social media
- Drive more people to find out more about you.
Never underestimate the power of hashtags
There is a reason why the biggest brands in the world use hashtags in their social media posts. With hashtags, you can:
- Build stronger and wider brand awareness
- Improve and increase customers engagement
- Drive customers to visit you (webpage or store)
Hashtags inadvertently boost discoverability which means the more customers hashtags you, the easier your restaurant can be discovered in the sea of posts on any social network.
Engage content from your customers
Word of mouth marketing is undeniably one of the most powerful marketing tools around. With user-generated content, your restaurant can:
- Saves you the trouble to create content
- Customer reviews are usually taken more seriously
- Content carries more weight
It has been found that more than 90% of people believe recommendations made by others. Your own content which is sugar-coated might not do that well, especially among those who are familiar with internet content. Encourage your customers to post pictures of your food and share their experiences and then hashtag them.
Localize and Google My Business
Make sure that you have your business listed in the local search keywords. Your contact information on Google My Business must be accurate and valid. Your address, operational hours and contact information must all be there and accurate. Always check the photos and reviews and respond if needed. Claim your business on portals like Foursquare and Yelp so that your restaurant comes up when anyone searches for food or restaurants around your areas.
Provide a valid and impressive menu
More than 96% of customers who search for restaurants will want to go through the menu (with prices) to find out what they are up for. Invest in a good and reliable menu online which can be downloaded. Ensure that your pictures are rich and pleasing as they are the first impression for those searching for you online. If possible, richer content like videos or animation would be very helpful.
Manage your digital reputation
One thing is for sure, the food you serve must have the quality that you are marketing. Then, make sure that your customers are happy with your service and offerings. You cannot control everyone’s reviews and shares but you surely can manage their expectations. Monitor what is going on on social media and in your Google My Business page and should you encounter any negative comments that might not be too favorable, always give your explanation. An unanswered review shows that you are not bothered by what people are saying which could affect your reputation very negatively.