A consumer photo from a visit to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.
Show, not tell:
Many recent predictions for Internet marketing have noted the trend that visual social media will supersede most other forms in 2013. We’ve already seen this happening, and for the restaurant industry this brings both positive and negative side effects.
Sure, it’s great if consumers Instagram your delicious, juicy hamburger to their hundreds of friends, but what happens when they catch a waiter picking his nose?
A simple search of the hashtag #food on Instagram pulls up over 26 million results, signifying the vast popularity of meal pictures on this platform. The restaurant industry needs to be prepared to not only monitor and listen to its consumer-driven visual content, but also to mange its own reputation by adding to the conversation with original content.
Reasons restaurants should jump on this bandwagon:
1. Visual social media is cost-effective and timely.
2. 44% of users are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.
3. Engagement from Instagram users is 10 times greater than other platforms.
4. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded to the site.
5. In August 2012, Instagram passes Twitter for daily active mobile users, a 8.5 fold increase in 6 months.
6. Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.
7. Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than the average post.
8. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements. That means customer experience should still be the first priority – consumers will post visual content of both positive and negative experiences. The only way to keep the consumer-driven content positive is to leave the customer feeling happy about his or her experience.
9. There are many opportunities for the restaurant industry to create original visual media. Here are just a few examples:
Instagram pictures of food, atmosphere, new menu items, events, staff’s favorite meals
Pinterest boards dedicated to favorite recipes, the restaurant’s décor, health and wellness
YouTube videos showcasing your chefs in action, events hosted at your restaurant, twists on favorite menu items, Q&As with your chefs and founders
Storify stories to engage with and showcase your top fans’ relevant images
10. As long as the visual content is appealing, eye catching, and shows something unique about the consumer experience, it can help draw in new customers who aren’t familiar with restaurants.
11. Visual content demonstrating a restaurant’s “fun” side and behind-the-scenes images (such as in the kitchen) can help establish relationships with current and potential customers.
But it’s not just the restaurant industry.
Adding visual media to any Internet marketing strategy in 2013 will prove to be an effective use of resources in an ever-expanding online world.
Throughout this month, we’ll be posting more restaurant industry tips on our Facebook page.
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