We love working with restaurants on their social media accounts. Eating out is an incredibly social activity and these experiences are widely shared over various social networks. We’d like to share with you one of our case studies – a small local restaurant that has leveraged the power of digital to increase their bottom line.
Restaurants using social media properly
There are several tactics available to restaurants when it comes to social media marketing and community management. Being clear on the goals of the social media campaign is incredibly important, but as a restaurant, these are likely to be based around increasing weekly bookings. Generating page likes or followers won’t directly increase the week’s cover-count so should always be regarded as a means, not an end!
For our restaurant client, there were three objectives of the social media management:
a) finding and encouraging people who had never been to the restaurant to visit
b) ensuring that people dining in the restaurant mentioned it in their online conversations
c) following up customers and directing them to leave a TripAdvisor review.
These are the kinds of social media goal that will genuinely make a difference to the success of the business. Keeping goals relevant to tangible financial benefits ensures the activity is likely to yield measurable, tangible return on investment.
With the goals identified, we also put several key performance indicators in place to measure the success of our work. These included:
– the position on TripAdvisor
– the number of people approached over social media
– people who book a table as a result of us finding them on social media
– growth in Facebook check-ins and reviews
– happy customers located and talked to
In the first three months of running the social media for the restaurant, the venue jumped from 64th best-rated restaurant in Birmingham (on TripAdvisor) to number 25! That was out of 1441 restaurants in Birmingham, overall. By June 2014, the restaurant had reached the top 15 for restaurants in Birmingham.
As TripAdvisor and other rating sites play such an important part in influencing people’s decisions during the zero moment of truth, we know this kind of increase leads to an increase in bookings.
And this is the kicker…
TripAdvisor often ranks number one on Google for “best restaurants [location]” searches. Here’s the Birmingham search term and result number one (I had to cut out the rich media results like the Google map!).
But… it’s not just the top ten! This page, like all the other TripAdvisor pages, will take you to the top 30 restaurants. That means getting your restaurant into the top 30 restaurants in a major city is absolutely crucial. If we can leverage social media is such a way to achieve this, there’s some serious value-add from social media management.
Using social media to get reviews
Ratings and reviews don’t always happen by themselves, even if your restaurant is the best in town! There needs to be a follow-up process in place, in which social media can play a huge part in.
Really, the process is simple. Make your restaurant as ‘social media-able’ as possible, to ensure people are engaging with you online whilst they’re in. This means you effectively ‘tag’ them, so you can locate them online. This means you can then keep the relationship way after they have left your venue, keeping the conversation going, being an integral part of their life, and encouraging reviews. TripAdvisor stresses that reviews must not be incentivised, so it’s very important to stick to this.
Of course, the reason why we’ve been able to get such great results with this restaurant is because they provide excellent food at excellent value, and they look after their customers. We can’t work miracles, so this type of social media approach just wouldn’t work with a rubbish restaurant. The transparency of social media and of review sites is something that rewards customer care – which, in my opinion, can only be a good thing for the genuinely great restaurants out there.
Know any restaurants that could benefit from using social media better to get more bookings? We can help! Get in touch.