The world of social media as we know it is changing, and it’s changing fast. What may have been good advice six months ago may not be good advice today. The basics of managing social media for restaurant marketing have not changed, nor do we think they will in the immediate future. You still need to make it a two way dialog, engage with your customers and stay on top of your results to optimize what is working best.
What has changed, and will continue to change, are the platforms that you can use to do that. Facebook is still the largest network out there with 1.32 billion monthly active users as of June, 2014. It’s an important place to be, but it’s getting harder and harder to make an impact there unless you use paid advertising, as they are limiting the reach of your organic posts as a brand.
One of the reasons reach is limited, besides the monetization of the site, is to ensure that their users are being fed the most relevant and engaging content, as determined by Facebook. This is, in part, because they are losing some audience and engagement to other platforms, such as Instagram.
Instagram has far fewer active users, relatively speaking, but with 200 million active monthly users, it’s a fierce competitor in the social landscape. (note: Facebook did acquire Instagram in 2012, though the platform has remained mostly unchanged and separate so far).
Far more important than users, let’s talk about engagement. And not just any engagement, but engagement with your brand. According to Forrester, Instagram delivers the brands they studied 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Instagram delivers brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook.
You can argue that Facebook is bigger, wider, more well-known and more widely used, but at the end of the day, one of the main social media goals for restaurants is engagement with your customers. In other words, if you’re not on Instagram, now is the time to start.
No one can say that Instagram will be THE place to be down the road – obviously the social landscape changes rapidly. And no one is saying not to be on Facebook – if done well, the limited reach isn’t a problem and customers expect you to be on Facebook. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, and continue to optimize your Facebook for the best results. But don’t ignore other opportunities that may be great for your brand in other ways.
Here are some resources from this blog that may help you understand why Instagram is so important for restaurants, and some tips on how to make the most of it:
The New Restaurant Experience – Documented: Read how and why photos are the new status update, the lengths that people will go to in order to capture the “moment,” and how your restaurant can be a part of it.
5 Things Learned from “The Year of Instagram Strategy”: Learn tips from MomentFeed on how to best utilize Instagram for the best engagement with your customers. Like any social media for restaurant marketing, just because you have an account doesn’t mean you will have engaged followers – you have to work for them.
3 Ways to Recharge Instagram for Restaurant Marketing: This article gives more specific ways to use Instagram for restaurants, with ideas and examples that work.
As this social medium grows and changes, and others enter the market, our advice will grow and change. So check back often for the latest and greatest on how to best use social media for restaurant marketing – today and tomorrow.