Over 4.9 billion people use social media worldwide as of 2023. In the United States, roughly seven in 10 Americans use social media on a daily basis to connect with friends, access news, and be entertained.
What does this mean? It means that social media is the new hangout spot for most people. It’s where people go for recommendations and reviews on everything from where to go on vacation to what to get for dinner.
To make it as a successful restaurant, you need a solid social media presence that sets you apart in a sea of competitors. Nearly half of all consumers hear about local or nearby restaurants through social media, and about 48% follow the social media accounts of their favorite dining spots.
If that’s not enough to convince you that your restaurant should be on social media, here are five more reasons why we think it should.
#1. It enhances customer experience.
Social media has made an influencer out of everyone. People love sharing their daily experiences online, regardless of whether or not they’re celebrities with brand deals and millions of followers. Using social media as part of an optimization strategy allows customers to interact more directly with your restaurant’s brand. It also opens the door to free marketing via the content customers create when sharing their experience. Hashtags, reels, and check-ins are all social media elements that make people feel connected while promoting the brands they love.
This win-win dynamic encourages personalization for the customer — something in high demand among consumer populations — while increasing brand visibility, which is vital to maintaining a competitive advantage as a restaurant.
#2. It helps you improve your operations.
Another benefit of putting your restaurant on social media is that it’s a powerful tool to glean insights about how customers feel after experiencing your restaurant. Even a negative review can provide valuable information about how to improve and allows you to respond to them professionally, expressing the desire to serve them again. Similarly, positive reviews can show you where you’re doing well, which helps build staff morale.
#3. It builds a sense of community and brand loyalty.
Many people enjoy using social media as a source of humor and entertainment. Creating a playful persona on social media is a great way to encourage interaction with customers who are often looking for dinner but also a reason to smile.
Maintaining a brand presence on social media, including regular updates about specials, happy diners, staff introductions, and loyalty programs, will increase a sense of credibility, especially among Millennials. According to a recent report, 30 percent of millennial diners avoid restaurants with lackluster Instagram profiles, and 59 percent investigate menus online before making a decision.
#4. It increases website traffic and drives business to your restaurant.
Social media platforms can help strengthen your brand’s SEO (search engine optimization). Sharing content from your restaurant’s website on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook encourages people to visit your website directly. While there, they might use your online menu to order something to pick up or for delivery or be directed to a third-party digital ordering platform to do so. Using social media channels to highlight great company content is a smart way to reach a larger audience.
#5. It provides affordable marketing.
Comparatively speaking, social media is pretty affordable as a marketing strategy. Even with a meager budget, you can still grow an audience, drive up your SEO, create deeper customer connections, and grow by word-of-mouth using social media channels strategically and consistently.
Above all, stay connected.
There are several major media platforms you should be on to promote your restaurant. The one you should use most frequently depends on your typical customer base (or what kind of audience you’re hoping to reach). However, the most crucial factor is that you interact with your customers as often and professionally as possible, in as many ways as possible.
Now more than ever before, people want to connect over shared experiences. A massive amount of modern-day connection occurs in digital spaces. So, hop online, connect with your customers, and share the tremendous experiences you can provide them. Give them something to talk about, something to laugh about, and something delicious to look forward to — and watch what a difference it makes.