Restaurants and Social Media Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Aug 14, 2014 | Social Media

Steak, french fries, and vegetables on plate

You’re in an unfamiliar town on vacation. The family is hungry and wants to go out to eat somewhere. What’s the first thing you do? Maybe you all suggest familiar restaurants, put one in the GPS, and head in that direction. But then your teenager pulls out his phone, asks Siri for restaurants in the area, finds something interesting, and begins to research. Does he look for reviews on Google? Does he check the rating on the Better Business Bureau? Nope. Instead, he checks it out on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Urbanspoon, etc.

According to the Nielson Global Trust in Advertising report of 2013, 84% of people will trust recommendations from people they know, including social media posts. In addition, nearly 70% of people trust consumer opinions posted online, regardless of familiarity with the individual posting. We all know social media is important in the business world. But, it’s more than that in the restaurant industry—it is essential.

The restaurant business is not just about selling food; it’s about selling experiences. Social media is a part of the experience. It gives the restaurant the opportunity to connect with consumers in a more personal way. It’s a direct path to the customer and vice versa, allowing communication in a fun and creative way and often improving reputation.

The public trusts brands on social media more easily, perhaps because it gives each business a face. For example, a friend of mine recently received this humorous response on Twitter from Jimmy John’s:

Jimmy John's Twitter response

Small things like this improve brand credibility.

Social media is becoming more about pictures and less about text. In my opinion, food is one of the most photogenic products available. Nothing is worse than seeing a high-res picture of a 12-ounce T-bone on my Twitter feed when I’m on the verge of starvation. A well-timed photo of a cheeseburger is often enough to send me in a beeline to its restaurant.

No matter what business you run, social media should be an important firearm in your arsenal of marketing. With the increasing demand for images, I believe restaurants are in a prime position to utilize the social world more than any other industry.

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