How to Turn Customers into Digital Advocates

Did you hear about that restaurant that set up a well lit table for customers to take pictures of their food? That is one approach to encourage influencers to be digital advocates for your restaurant but creating a custom space is not required.  To engage customers on social media, there are a few digital and not so digital things to consider.

Peer Reviews Build Trust

Word of mouth remains an important restaurant marketing tool. 77% of consumers searching online for restaurants turn to review sites and 92% of consumers trust friends and family over any kinds of advertising.[1] Social media amplifies word of mouth marketing, providing a space for direct interaction with your guests. It is a great place to build more trust in your business.

Provide Service Beyond the Restaurant

No matter where guests are active on social media – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube among them – provide service to the guest where they are. Treat the guest with the same respect they would receive if they were seated in your restaurant. If they express a problem, be honest and explain what you are able to do to handle the situation. Then take the conversation offline to interact one on one. This personal exchange establishes trust and lets guests know you will go the extra mile to take care of their concerns.

Use Social Media to Drive Sales

Earned media, or any publicity that you have not paid for or that’s created by a third party, is an effective tool to drive sales. Instagram Stories, short videos that last for 24 hours on an Instagram profile, can expand local reach when tied to a promotion, such as a giveaway or discount. Your restaurant’s followers can share the promotion, encouraging their followers to share and comment. On Facebook, ask followers to like the page, tag three friends, and share the post. That engagement keeps the post in front of a larger audience for a longer time, spiking engagement even further. Tag promotions with the hash (#) sign to create instant recognition for followers and new, clickable content.

Embrace Food Porn

Anthony Bourdain and many others know that there’s a reason food porn sells on social media. Food. Looks. Good. Clickbait like ooey-gooey melting cheese (“the pull” makes a great food story) or vibrant colors (hello, unicorn everything!) means more engagement for your restaurant. Professional photos are great but using your iphone and natural lighting creates instant images for the insta-crowd. The key is to just do it. Then customers will start doing it for you.

Social Media Inside the Restaurant

Ever seen a guest taking pictures of their food? Thought so. Guests are likely to post on social media immediately after taking that photo. By agreeing to use Yelp Wifi, guests gain the ability to advocate for your business while seated in your restaurant. Your restaurant gains important information about the guest – their name and email address – building a database that can be used to market new menu items, special events, or upcoming promotions. One small step for social, one giant step for generating customer loyalty.