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The Impact of Social Media on Restaurants

Nina De Winter

We have all been there: you’re at a restaurant and the plate you are presented with is so aesthetically pleasing that you are obliged to take some pictures.

Nowadays, social media is linked to restaurants in different ways. In this article, Casa clarifies the impacts of social media on restaurants.

Overall effects of social media on restaurants

The impact of social media on restaurant businesses manifests itself through both advantages and disadvantages. Above all, it is an understatement to say that it has transformed the dining experience and the perception of restaurants in recent times.

Given that social media influences the buying decisions of over 80% of consumers, it is essential for restaurants to leverage this and enhance their social media management.

Before we dive deeper into how this can be done, let’s take a look at the primary impacts of social media on restaurant businesses.

Yummy! We sure know we are hungry after seeing this video from Time Out Market…

Pictures and videos are easier to share

Technology has advanced significantly in the past years, including improvements to social media platforms. Sharing media across different channels has become more straightforward, both for restaurants and customers. 

They are now able to distribute images and videos of their dining experiences. Moreover, the market now offers phones with better cameras and a high quality, which allows for better capturing of visuals in a more realistic setting. 

Social media platforms are the new ‘place to be’ for reviews

Facebook is the main platform that makes it possible for users to provide businesses with direct reviews. This is a major game changer, as before this one could only do this on Google My Business pages.

When it comes to other social media platforms, we see that people often share reviews on Instagram and TikTok in the form of videos. For example, some foodie influencers dedicate their daily lives to trying new restaurants and sharing their reviews with their audiences afterwards.

If you wish to learn more about TikTok’s algorithm, make sure to read the article we wrote about it.

Additionally, consumers are now utilizing rating systems more than ever before. Having in mind that the purpose of social media still lies in interaction, it is likely for customers of a particular business to start a conversation about their customer experience with others that had a similar encounter. For restaurant owners, it is always a good idea to do some self promo through positive reviews.

Information is instantly available to those who need it

Another benefit that is offered by social media platforms is the immediate transfer of information to consumers. For instance, Facebook offers this possibility to businesses through its automatic chat feature.

For restaurants it is key to have this option enabled, as it allows customers to receive the information they require at any time. Consequently, there is no longer a need for potential clients to obtain answers to their inquiries by phone. Instead, they can access everything online without any hassle.

Positive impacts of social media on restaurant businesses

It is free and simple

If you own a small restaurant or simply don’t have the budget to invest a lot of money in social media, don’t worry! There is no need to dwell: you can have a social media presence at no cost. 

Likewise, you don’t need any manual to know how to manage your online profiles. If you do require any assistance, our team at Casa Media would love to help you out.

It can bring you more traffic and and improve searchability

Social media is widely known for its capacity to foster connections. In the case of a restaurant, it can be a catalyst in driving traffic to its online channels. 

For example, by including a link to your company website in your Instagram bio, you can attract website visitors in a matter of seconds. Yet, the fact that Instagram can do much more than that is explained in our blog post about the key Instagram hacks you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Similarly, social media can be used to promote events hosted at your restaurant. Generally speaking, social media has the potential to improve your restaurant’s authority, popularity and website traffic, ultimately generating revenue.

It elevates the customer experience

Connecting with customers is the major reason why it is worth it to be active on social media platforms. By doing so, you can gauge customer satisfaction and retention, which are crucial in fostering long term customer loyalty. 

In other words, boosting your activity on social media must be a priority if you want to establish a lasting relationship with your clients.

It improves brand advocacy

When executed successfully, the impact of social media on restaurant businesses is very good: they augment a restaurant’s brand advocacy through positive reviews and referrals from satisfied customers. 

Ultimately, that should be your goal, because leaving a positive impression can stimulate repeat visits to your restaurant. 

It is not enough to just provide an amazing, unforgettable dining experience. Instead, you need to maintain the relationship with your clients by interacting with them on your socials and delivering continuous customer service.

Negative effects of social media on restaurants

Negativity is spread at a higher rate

In today’s world, people are very involved on social media, and tend to discuss their leisure activities online. 

This trend has made it easy for consumers to share their feedback and reviews about your restaurant, which can put your restaurant’s reputation at risk before you know it. 

In addition to this, negative reviews are likely to be noticed and read faster than positive ones.

Negative reviews can have a negative impact on restaurant revenue

Negative reviews could lead to a loss of revenue, as it can persuade prospective customers to choose a competing restaurant. 

While you might believe that having one less client might not have a big impact, it is important to consider the amount of people who rely on reviews when deciding where to dine. 

As an example, according to Oracle Gloria Food, 3 out of 4 customers check Facebook comments and images.

Negative experiences have a big influence on a restaurant’s brand and customer retention

Similar to the loss of potential income, negative ratings are clear illustrations of how the impact of social media on restaurant businesses is immense. They can withhold people from visiting your restaurant, even if they have previously dined with you. 

This emphasizes the importance of managing your reviews and promptly responding to customer feedback.

Image of Bar George answering the review of a customer

How to improve the impact of social media on restaurant businesses

You are now aware of the effects social media has in the restaurant business, but let’s discuss what restaurant owners can do to bring their social media presence to a higher level.

Building shows the impact of social media on restaurants

If you haven’t already, create a social media account on the main online platforms. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine by starting with one channel and then building it up step by step.

Stimulate customer interaction

Develop intriguing content that people can and want to interact with. You can easily do this by asking your target audience questions through stories, sharing client testimonials, and so on. 

Be aware though that you are not having a monologue and that customers are actually replying, since the objective consists of customer participation.

Branded hashtags have a positive impact on social media for restaurant businesses

One of the best ways to stand out and raise your findability on social media is through hashtags. Look for the most popular hashtags related to your restaurant or the type of food you focus on.

Image illustrating importance of restaurants using hashtags on social media

Give correct and sufficient information about your business

This is a main point in the social media game: ensure that the information you share on the internet is up to date, correct, and adequate in quantity.

Respond to negative reviews

Don’t leave any negative comment unanswered. It should be your priority to acknowledge and solve them, as it reveals a lot about your business approach and transparency. 

Moreover, doing so might even convince someone who previously doubted your reliability to pay your restaurant a visit.

Create an interactive restaurant experience

Frequently, news stories highlight restaurants that provide a unique dining experience to customers. 

Not only does this make the customer’s visit, but it also increases the likelihood of customer retention and it leaves a memorable impression. 

No need to organize an exclusive event for this; what matters most is your creativity.

UGC has a huge impact on social media for restaurants

The term UGC refers to user generated content – content that is created by customers. Incorporating UGC content into your social media strategy is not only a simple approach, but it is also smart. 

Generally speaking, individuals trust other consumers over businesses, making their content more trustworthy. 

Therefore, UGC is the ideal opportunity to gain your clients’ confidence and trust.

Image by a customer of Jacopo in Montreal, reposted on social media
Repost of restaurant customers on the Facebook page of the restaurant
Image repost of a customer's meal by the restaurant

Takeaways

There is one golden rule to remember: the key is not the number of social media platforms you are using, but rather your level of engagement.

Avoid creating accounts on social media channels if you are not planning on using them. Only invest your time and energy in platforms you will actively utilize. 

If you don’t know where to start, we have a piece of advice for you. Start with Instagram and Facebook, since these are the most relevant social media platforms for restaurants. Once you’re comfortable using those, you can explore other social media channels such as TikTok or Twitter.

In case you are interested in understand the current social media trends, you can discover Facebook’s 3D photo option in this article or find out how to maximize your brand’s Twitter potential right here.

Are you ready to build your restaurant’s social media empire? Are you in doubt of how to start? Feel free to talk to us at Casa Media. We gladly help you to get the best possible social media impact for your restaurant!

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Published

07 March 2023

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