Social media has shaped an entirely new paradigm in developing customer engagement. This is especially true in the case of the restaurant industry where social media helps in acquiring and interacting with the customers in real time.
Over the years it has been observed that the efficient use of social/digital media marketing is an essential component in any successful business. More than 60 per cent of the population in India is below 35 years of age and are very digitally savvy. This fact alone helps to highlight the importance of making Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as the leading marketing tools to reach consumers.
What is important is to understand that different digital tools hold varied degrees of importance for the different segments in the restaurant industry. It is therefore critical that the digital/ social media strategy of a restuarant should focus on some key elements discussed below, which can best help to promote the business as well as the brand.
Targeting Customers: Restaurants should focus on reaching out to their target audience as it has been observed that procuring and engaging with loyal customers is more beneficial for brands. Digital media not only helps in providing restaurateurs with direct feedback on their food quality and service but also with various ideas on what marketing initiatives and campaigns are useful for their brand.
Visual Marketing: Arguably the best way to promote a restaurant online is with mouthwatering food photographs on social media. Visual content is easily noticed by the audience and is necessary to draw customers to your restaurant.
Effective Customer Engagement: Restaurants need to use social media for consumer engagement effectively. They should either hire agencies or have an internal team to listen and respond on social media in real time. This will help in addressing customer feedback and help in building a rapport with them.
Updating Content Online: Restaurants must regularly update their social media content. This is to keep customers interested and encourage them to frequently check them out. Content should be both based on promotions and activations done at the outlets.
Food-tech Platforms: Partnering with various food-tech platforms is another very effective way to promote one’s restaurant. One can incentivize customers to order through these platforms by product and price promotions. Popular platforms include Zomato, Nearbuy, Dineout and Eazy Diner.
Industry campaigns: Some interesting restaurant campaigns that come to mind are:
#FilmyDosti by Costa Coffee India was a contest conducted on Twitter. Users had to guess the name of the movie by the posters provided with a clue also given. The contest generated more than 600 interactions from 11 tweets only.
#KFCWishList was conducted by KFC and was initiated during last year’s Christmas and people had to make a wish for someone. The campaign generated 2,454 interactions out of 19 tweets and was the most successful campaign for 2015 on twitter.
Evaluation of Marketing Campaigns: It is essential for restaurants to measure performance of each marketing campaign both in terms of goals achieved (new customers, revenue growth, product trials) and results from different traditional and online advertising mediums. It is also important to evaluate marketing campaigns costs and returns for judging their efficacy.
Of all the segments, the international QSR chains are the most active in terms of post and content frequency. With the increase in number of smartphone users, it has become easier for restaurants to reach out to the target consumers. Restaurants must focus on unique ways to use different social and digital media for promoting their business to existing and acquiring new customers.