Since the first customers took photos of their food and posted them, social media and restaurants have been a perfect match. It seems most people these days can’t enjoy a meal until they’ve snapped a picture and posted about it! Social media channels provide you with opportunities to solidify your brand image and engage with customers. A carefully thought-out social media plan can help you create authentic brand experiences and enhance overall business strategy.
Define Your Online Identity
The first step to social media success and creating an authentic brand experience is clearly defining your brand and devising a way to portray it appropriately on social media. If your restaurant offers an elegant fine dining experience, your social media activity should reflect that. If your restaurant is a family-friendly establishment focusing on fun, communicate that in your tweets and posts.
Experts on social media and restaurants strongly recommend quickly debunking consumers’ -conceived notions and adhering to a brand’s core tenets. This is a better strategy for establishing and growing new relationships with customers most likely to patronize your restaurant. Keep in mind that just one inappropriate tweet or video that misses the mark can instantly repel customers or, even worse, prompt them to take to social media with criticisms and complaints. Stay true to your brand, highlight what makes your business different and special, and keep messaging consistent.
Going Beyond Engagement
A clear benefit of social media and restaurants is the opportunity to build customer loyalty. When customers interact with your business on social media, respond showing your appreciation for their interest and their business. You may even want to tag customers in posts relevant to them. Customers are more likely to be loyal if they feel a consistent sense of community around your brand, regardless of channel, and that they are a part of it.
Consider offering your social media following exclusive offers and promotions. They are easily executed through social media advertising and go a long way toward encouraging customers to return to a restaurant again and again. Use data from your Point of Sale (POS) system and loyalty program as a basis for designing relevant promotions that will resonate with customers, and then spotlight these offers on social media.
Bring Social into the Physical Realm
Another smart strategy for social media and restaurants is to use digital signage within a restaurant to showcase social media activity. Some restaurants showcase their Facebook page on digital displays positioned in prominent spots, and others show a running Twitter feed. To encourage more customers to participate in social media exchanges with your restaurant, run in-house offers to customers who follow or like your restaurant on social media, or print your handle on POS receipts. This can help you grow your following and, in turn, your base of loyal customers. Creating a strong link between your presence on social and physical channels will also help build consistency and authenticity in customer experiences, no matter how they engage with your brand.
POS vendors offer excellent integration of their systems with digital signage, allowing easy management of content and a stronger link between social media and restaurants.
Brand authenticity is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Most customers are savvy enough to tell when a restaurant brand is inauthentic, and social media posts, which often ring of how authentic a brand is, are a growing influence on buying decisions. Remember social media content and how it contributes to an authentic brand experience matters to 68 percent of millennial consumers. Make sure your restaurant’s activity on social media aligns with your business strategy and is true to your brand.
To learn more about how POS can help you build brand authenticity, contact Bematech or visit http://bematechus.com/.