Before people decide where to dine, they consult the internet, specifically social media and review sites. They want to know what other people have experienced at different restaurants and they make their decision based on other consumers’ opinions. This is why restaurants should not ignore user-generated content (UGC) as it can make a positive addition to their marketing strategy.
UGC includes videos, photos, blog posts and any other media made by your customers. As people are influenced by the opinions of people they know, UGC can help drive more customers to your restaurant. The more positive reviews are posted, the greater the likelihood that more people will want to experience your offering themselves. The photos that customers take while they are in the restaurant or eating one of your meals, may entice those in their network to try out what you have on offer.
Since customers post most of the content on their own accord, UGC is a free marketing tool that has huge returns. This makes it ideal for use for all restaurants, regardless of budget size. If you have a higher budget, you can hire influencers with a large following to post content about your restaurant.
Getting customers to post positive content about your restaurant requires that you get the basics of customer service right. Have helpful, well-informed staff, serve delicious food and give customers exceptional dining experience. This will build loyalty as customers will keep coming back. In addition, they will share details and pictures or videos letting others know the reason they love your restaurant.
Spruce up your presentation
A lot of people make dining decisions based on the pictures presented to them. In order for your dishes to be photo-worthy, they need to be presented in an appealing manner. This will encourage your customers to take pictures or videos and share them online.
Ensure your social media pages are also updated with the correct information and photos, remember they are also part of your customer touchpoints with your brand. If you have not already done so, create an Instagram page for your restaurant. Most people would check a restaurant’s Instagram pictures before dining there.
Your customers not only take pictures of your food, but they also show people the décor, giving an idea of the ambience to expect at your restaurant. Keep this in mind when deciding on your interior. A number of restaurants are now designing their décor to make it the best backdrop for Instagram pictures.
Get on review sites
Make sure your restaurant has a page on review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. A recent report indicates that 94% of people make their dining decision based on customer reviews. When you receive positive reviews, you can share them across your social media pages. Make it a point to respond to reviews both positive and negative. Responding speedily to negative reviews will help you get the situation under control before it escalates.
In order to get more UGC, you may need to find ways to encourage your customers to make content. You could ask them to name their favourite meal, take pictures of it and guess the special ingredient in it. A great idea is to create a contest that involves customers sharing photos or videos of your restaurant or meals. For instance, you could add a new cocktail to your menu and ask customers to take pictures or videos of it and suggest a name. The customer who comes up with the best name would win a meal voucher.
Know your customer
UGC has an additional benefit in that it gives you insight into your customers. It can help you know what most customers enjoy, the period they are most likely to post as well as other details such as their age. You can use this information to help you develop targeted advertisements and marketing campaigns.
Once your restaurant has a presence online and on social media, your customers are going to post content about it. Use the above suggestions to leverage your customers’ content to grow your business. Used correctly, user-generated content can help build loyalty while getting your restaurant more orders and reservations.