Today's consumers are finding food and restaurants through social media. Sprout Social, a social-monitoring software, reports that 88% of consumers are influenced by food-related social posts and reviews – on Instagram alone there are more than 200 million posts tagged #food and 23 million tagged #drinks.These posts are driving foot traffic, sales, and sizzling notoriety.
And what's even more surprising?
They aren't all organic posts – many of them come from food-focused social media influencers. These aesthetically savvy influencers find ways to engage with customers in an age where online ads are much less effective. Here's how they can supercharge your restaurant's business:
1. They'll dream up Instagram-worthy creations. New York City social media darling Black Tap Burgers exploded onto the scene in 2013 with a creative approach. It offered ridiculously sized shakes designed to be shared not just with the other people at your table, but with the world via social media.
According to New York Business Journal, Black Tap's focus on Instagram has translated into hundreds of people lined up outside on Saturdays, proving how social media can help grow a customer base quickly. If you hire social influencers who have an equally strong grasp on what's popular online, they can consult you on your menu to help you stay on trend.
2. They'll improve your experience, atmosphere, and decor. When asked about the importance of social media in his new restaurant design, Michael Chernow, owner of New York restaurant Seamore's, told Entrepreneur, “Instagram was absolutely, 100% taken into account."
Social media is now impacting restaurant design and restaurant owners across the country are installing marble countertops, dimming the overhead lighting, and even stamping their name into the ice cubes to help improve their patrons' social media food shots – which are essentially free advertising. If you hire social influencers, they can help you curate a similarly shareable experience.
3. They'll increase your brand awareness. What's cooler than being cool? Being shared. The most obvious benefit to social influencers is that they provide a brand awareness lift by broadcasting your name across social media for a small fraction of the cost of advertising. Plus, these promotions carry extra weight because they're not ads but rather recommendations from real people.
4. They'll boost your SEO.SEO is a tricky business for restaurants who are beholden to filling out profiles with Google and Yelp and just waiting to be found. Yet social influencers can help boost your search rankings by posting on their social accounts and on blogs and linking back to your restaurant's home page. These backlinks are critical to being found organically (i.e. for free).
5. They'll bring in guests with deals and coupons. This is like a good old-fashioned coupon campaign, but amplified. Social influencers make a living by curating niche audiences of highly loyal fans who hang onto their every word. Their followers are thus much more likely than the average person to act on these offers and then share about their positive experience.
6. They make influencing easy to try out. Who says influence can't be affordable? Find foodie influencers on Fiverr right now for cheaper than you might think.
What's your food influence story? Have you been shared widely on social media yet, and what has your experience been? Share in the comments below!