Restaurants are using social media to grow their brand. It is a way to make a closer connection with customers and gauge what works and what doesn’t work. In fact, the National Restaurant Association said, “The biggest trends to emerge from the National Restaurant Association’s 2011 industry forecast revolve around social media. And, a majority of social media savvy consumers dine out more frequently than the general public and consider restaurants to be an essential part of their lifestyle.”
People use social media to find out information about restaurants to help them decide where to go eat. A Pew Research study found 55% of adults seek out this information through the Internet. 38% of people rely on search engines, 17% on Web sites, and 3% on social media sites like Twitter. What is unique about social media is it allows people to read customer testimonials about a restaurant’s food and customer service. Research also shows people do not trust traditional advertisement, so the unfiltered feedback they get through social media helps them make confident choices on where they want to go eat.
How Restaurants Use Social Media
Restaurants can build a social media presence in a number of ways. Some restaurants have begun to build brand awareness by placing large flat screen televisions in the middle of their dining rooms with live Facebook and Twitter feeds. The TVs allow people to read comments from fellow diners about the food they are eating and share what is on their minds.
Another option some restaurants are doing is creating a Facebook fanpage. Restaurants all around the country have created fanpages as way to get responses from customers who have went to their stores. Patrons can comment about certain foods they enjoyed, or aspects about their dining experience they found pleasant. This helps restaurants because they can use this feedback to improve on things people are enjoying, as well as modify certain things customers may not like so much. This direct engagement with customers through social media provides free marketing information companies once had to pay large amounts of money to obtain.
Ways Baltimore Restaurants Leverage Social Media
The Cazbar is a hip Turkish restaurant in Baltimore that uses social media in their online marketing campaign. Their Facebook fanpage shares photos of employees partying with patrons, and their wall is full of comments from customers who enjoyed their dining experience and want to share it with others. The wall also allows them to post upcoming events like their New Year’s Eve party.
Sotto Sopra is another Baltimore restaurant using social media. Their Twitter feed shows allows them to share information about their menu and wine. It also is an outlet for them to share fun comments with potential customers. Remember, social media is about building a brand. You develop this perception based on how you express your thoughts and feelings. Sotto Sopra understands this concept and uses it in their online interaction with customers. In one recent tweet they wrote “Way To Go Ravens” congratulating their hometown team on its recent victory in the NFL playoffs. This is a great example of a restaurant using social media to connect with their community while building brand awareness.