We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: We’re living in a digital age, a time when nearly everyone is online — and increasingly so. It’s no longer a question of whether your restaurant should be on social media. Now, it’s just a question of how you can leverage social media for your business.
This year also marked the first time that sales for restaurants and bars surpassed those of grocery stores, meaning the time is ripe to set up a strategy for attracting new customers, many of whom are already active on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.
Need more convincing to take your business to the web? Let’s take the marketing power of Twitter, for example, to prove how important social media can be for your brand.
Social Media by the Numbers
Making the Most of Mentions
At this year’s National Restaurant Association Show, Twitter’s retail and dining researchers Lauren Perini and Jordan Shlachter reported that last year, Twitter users logged more than 342 comments about food and dining topics alone.
Twitter boasts more than 302 million active users — many of whom have developed significant followings — meaning if only one of those comments were about your brand, it would have the potential to reach millions.
Given how important word of mouth marketing is to consumers, this kind of exposure can have a lasting impact on their decision-making, especially if you’re capitalizing on each mention by retweeting it for greater visibility or responding to the original commenter.
But this potential doesn’t stop at positive comments. According to Perini and Shlachter, even negative mentions of your restaurant can have positive outcomes — as long as you respond to them appropriately.
Their data shows that Twitter users who receive a response to their negative comment have an 80 percent return rate to the restaurant or brand, despite their less-than-stellar experience. Our own data suggests a similar trend, showing that individuals who receive a response to their online comments are significantly more likely to return — and spend approximately 16 percent more when they do.
The takeaway? When you’re on social media, just one pleasant (and on-brand) response can mean the difference between a repeat visit and a lost opportunity.
How Social Turns into Sales
Engaging via social media isn’t all trolling the Internet for mentions of your name and responding to negativity, though. Just being online and having a unique brand identity can result in huge benefits for your business.
According to Perini and Shlachter, approximately 30 percent of consumers surveyed followed a particular brand or restaurant simply because they found that business’s tweets amusing.
And it doesn’t end at idle following and the occasional chuckle. Twitters users showed a greater number of visits per month to restaurants they followed or interacted with than those who did not interact with the brand at all.
Many Twitter users also profess to following brands specifically to learn about new products and offerings. In fact, according to Perini and Shlachter, approximately 78 percent of people who found a new product on Twitter actually made a purchase, indicating that many are using the platform as an integral part of their purchasing decisions.
Although all of these statistics are specific to Twitter, the sentiment is the same for nearly any social media platform available. By engaging with users, you’re building brand loyalty and encouraging sales — all with only a few characters, your business’s unique voice, and the click of a button.
Want to create the best social media strategy for your restaurant? Check out our post on “How to Succeed with Social Media for Restaurant Marketing.