Social media has become one of the most popular ways we find out about new businesses. We hear about them through those we follow. We look to see what others are saying. And we check to see what the business themselves has to say socially. Social media has become an indispensable tool for finding new spots in town and across the world.
While we use social to find out about the places we’ll go, nowhere is that more true than the restaurants where we’ll choose to spend our dining dollars. Just over half (52%) of Twitter users get information about restaurants using the platform. That’s over 118 million people looking for information about the places they’ll dine on Twitter alone. With that kind of crowd searching social for their next experience, here are some of the reasons it’s critical for restaurants to be very active on social.
Attracting Dining Dollars
Knowing millions are using social to help find a place for their next meal should be reason enough for restaurants to embrace it. The countless tweets about awesome experiences and recommendations are opportunities for those businesses to retweet and show how much others love them. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that number keeps increasing each year. Each of those endorsements can be surfaced by the restaurant to show potential new diners why people recommend them. In fact, 39% are more likely to visit if people have tweeted about receiving great customer service at a restaurant, while 79% are incentivised by a tweet about the food being great or positive information about the menu.
Social is also a great place to pull people in with incentives. According to Twitter, 52% of users are more likely to visit a restaurant if some sort of discounted visit or promotion is tweeted about by the restaurant.
Showing off your sweet selection is another great way to get people in the door too. 43% of Twitter users have said they’re attracted by pictures of the dishes. You work so hard on presentation, let everyone see your delicious dishes. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Take advantage of that and add images to everything you post.
Real-time Reaction and Response
In addition to posting regularly, restaurants need to be setup for full-time monitoring and real-time response. The good news for restaurants on Twitter is that most are posting fairly positive stuff. As Twitter’s Eimear Lambe shared, “There are seven tweets about a restaurant for every one TripAdvisor review and of those we surveyed, 72% who tweet about a restaurant are actually leaving positive comments.”
But what about the bad? 78% of those leaving negative comments are still in the restaurant when doing so. This is where real-time monitoring becomes crucial. If they’re still there while relaying their negative experience and you notice, you now have an opportunity to go over to them and work to solve the problem while they’re still there. Few businesses have this opportunity to make things right while they’re happening and it has the potential to turn a dissatisfied customer into a brand advocate.
Real-time response isn’t just for dealing with potential problems either. Look for opportunities to use it to delight too. Did someone just tweet that they just sat down for a birthday dinner? How cool would it be to bring them a birthday drink and dessert without them even having to tell the server they’re there to celebrate? I bet they tell everyone online about that awesome experience and come back to dine again.
Fast followup is key to finding opportunities to amaze and heading off problems before they become huge. With an average retail response time of 11.9 hours on social, customer expectations for a reply are sadly low. Give them a surprise with real-time response instead.
Socially Representing Your Restaurant
Social offers an great opportunity to shine a spotlight on your dining hotspot. Through promoting positive customer commentary, intriguing images, and delicious discounts, you can really ramp up business. Real-time monitoring will help find opportunities to delight and address problems quickly.
Restaurants are a places most go to socialize and have a good time. Get that conversation going long before and after the visit by investing big in social media for your place of provisions.