Although some restaurant brands have started leveraging the benefits of a prominent social media presence in the recent times, a majority of the restaurants still measure the effectiveness of their online brand strategies based on the number of likes, shares and followers they get on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps, it’s about time we debunk some age-old myths about social media parameters that actually matter and ones that don’t!
Myth#1: Social Media is not the ideal choice to build a brand image
Contrary to popular belief, if leveraged the right way, social media can prove to be your ideal source to project the right brand image to potential customers. This can be accounted to the fact that customers today are spoilt for choice. For every single cuisine, even in a micro-territory there are multiple options available at multiple price points for the customer to choose from. Hence, in the end it all comes down to brand recall and loyalty. If the customer realizes that he is valuable to your brand and that he can interact and alter the brand’s behavior in the real world, then he implicitly becomes a brand evangelist.
This is a perfect example of how social media can be leveraged to create enormous brand recall. Hoppipola has been hugely successful in associating the tag #hoppitimes with happiness!
Myth #2: Social Media platforms cannot be leveraged to generate potential leads:
Unlike what most restaurant owners believe, social media can provide the perfect channel for personalized communication to generate potential leads. The most effective way to generate a prospect is to project a ‘Human’ image to your potential customers by facilitating one-on-one interactions on every touch point available on social media. Prompt responses to comments and messages, interactive sessions on Twitter and Google Hangouts with the Head Chef, distribution of coupons and promotional offers to potential customers on social platforms are all effective ways that have proved to work wonders for restaurant brands.
Here Brownie Point very effectively exhibits how potential leads can be generated on the basis of personalized interactions!
Myth #3: Marketing Research is Irrelevant for Social Media :
Most restaurant brands come to believe that social media is just another medium to showcase their brand. Hence, as long as the page content is updated with the latest offers and events and they maintain a consistent presence on as many platforms as possible, online users will keep visiting their social media page. The more the merrier is the Mantra that gets followed.
However, the truth could not be any more distorted. The reality is that based on your target audience and your position in the product life-cycle, every brand needs to leverage different social media platforms. For example, if a brand’s menu offering is alcohol-based, and it wants to mainly target audiences in the age group 18-30 in tier-1 cities, then their content and creative strategies have to be extremely sublime and indirect. Plus, since their target audience will be much more tech-savvy, they can leverage mediums such as Google Hangouts and Twitter discussions. Essentially, market research can be that one factor that tips the scales in your brand’s favor.
In this case, Salt Water Café takes a very subtle approach to lead-generation due to their sophisticated potential target audience.
Myth #4: Creatives and NOT content is king
There persists a major misconception amongst restaurant owners that since their core product offerings are food and beverages, their social media strategy has to be centered around a visual experience. That translates into catchy high resolution images and quirky artwork advertising offers for the user. However, brands need to realize that this is a very inorganic approach to advertising since social media platforms are all about the user and the kind of content that he wants to consume. They are not organically inclined to interact with your content if it simply advertises your product and does not give the consumer anything in return.
The good news is that as soon as restaurant brands embrace this fundamental concept and shift their emphasis on an integrated content strategy, their social media game is geared to become 5x more effective. Some of the ways that genuine value can be provided to the consumer are sharing tips and knowledge resources about cuisines, educating the consumer about why your product is synonymous with the ideal product in that category, asking them for what they look and need in terms of product and service offering, and projecting a human brand image that users feel they can engage and interact with.
The reason why we strongly emphasize on an integrated content strategy is that every interaction that a brand has with it’s users on every touch point contributes to how they perceive the brand. The language patterns as well as the tonality used while interacting with users can be of crucial importance for a brand (Yes, there is something called tonality in the online medium). The higher the number of interactions, the more
This is an excellent example of how The Beer Café capitalizes on quirky content to organically push their offers and events to users.
Myth #5: Likes and Shares are the name of the game
Today likes, shares and number of followers are the parameters that brands largely rely on to quantify the amount of traction their online campaigns receive. Although these parameters can be used to gauge the popularity of your campaigns, one look at how users actually interact with social media platforms and you realize that these are just very superficial parameters that in no way command the amount of emphasis laid upon them. What a like/share essentially states is that the brand was able to capture the user’s attention for not more than a second. This does not in any way guarantee brand recall at the actual decision point.
There are much better ways to increase visibility and thereby brand recall for your brand. Google hangouts , Twitter discussions and Facebook groups provide great mediums for your brand to regularly push out information to your customers organically. Did you know that posts from groups you follow are by default ranked higher in your news feed preferences? Hence, the chances of a group post reflecting in a user’s timeline is 4x that of a brand’s post. Besides, these mediums can also be leveraged to position yourself as a market expert for your particular service offering. Some of the major brands that do realize the potential of Twitter discussions keep implementing #AskTheExpert or #AskTheChef sessions where users get to interact with their favorite brands at an individualistic level.
Starbucks takes personalized customer interaction to another level in the above example.
Myth #6: It’s not possible to Analyze or track ROI on social media spends
This we believe is a true example of ignorance on the restaurant owner’s part. There are some really effective tools available to analyze the effectivity of a brand’s market spends as well as other factors such as cost per acquisition. To begin with, a brand must perform a comprehensive social media analysis on their brand’s current social media standing. This can include parameters such as the average number of interactions per post (comments, shares), how the brand’s page fares as compared to it’s competitor pages and audience insights such as age, interests and usage patterns- whether they access social media via desktop feed or via mobile feed.
In addition, the most popular social media platform- Facebook has an analytics tool in place that practically lets you track parameters such as amount spent per conversion (page likes, post likes), impressions, and cost per 1,000 people reached. Twitter also has an analytics mechanism in place that gives a month on month comparison on parameters such as Tweet impressions and profile visits.
Now that we have supplemented you with all the ammunition necessary, we genuinely hope more and more restaurants learn to leverage the unleashed potential of social media platforms. Remember, your social media strategy will not cater to your customers, if it does not cater to the customer in you!
The article is contributed by team MassBlurb. MassBlurb is an online automated platform that helps restaurants manage their end to end online presence.