Did you know that 75% of consumers purchase a product because they saw it on social media?
I’m not talking about ads from brand pages either. I’m talking about products or services that consumers saw their friends, family, or influencers share on their social media. Yes, some of these posts may have been sponsored posts where the content creator was incentivized to share the product or service, but the main point remains the same: consumers buy from people on social media, not brands.
Now the million dollar question: how do you get your customers, ideally your happy customers, to share your brand on social media with their friends and family?
Well for starters, if you’re a restaurateur and reading this, you’re in luck. Food, along with fashion, is one of the most shared products on social media. People love taking pictures of food and even more people love drooling over said photos.
Now keep in mind, we’re talking about getting your happy customers to share your establishment on their Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/Twitter page. This isn’t how to get more reviews on brand pages (although the principles are pretty much the same).
Getting customers to talk about your brand on their page is much more powerful than getting a review because you are now able to tap into that customer’s list of friends and family and hopefully turn them into new happy customers. Here are the TWO main ways you can really get your customers to talk about your restaurant on social media.
Presentation is everything, from the way the food looks to the way your actual establishment looks. When something looks cool, unique, or different, people want to take pictures or share it on their social media accounts. This doesn’t mean the food has to necessarily look fancy - it just has to look tasty. For example, if you are a small establishment that specializes in grilled cheese, you should make sure each sandwich made is golden toasted and dripping with cheese. In other words, your food needs to be photogenic.
I can tell you from personal experience, not only as a professional in the industry but as a proud foodie: whenever I take a photo of my meal on Instagram, I get a number of direct messages asking me where the food is from. Many times, those friends of mine become new customers to that establishment. When you have beautiful looking food, people want to share photos of it.
But the presentation doesn’t stop just at the food. If you can make the inside of your restaurant cool and photo-friendly, people will want to take photos. “Influencers” are always looking for an excuse to take a photo - give them one. One great example is a restaurant I go to in Fresno, CA called Bocca Taqueria. They make amazing Mexican food that isn’t super fancy or expensive, but the space looks very nice inside and they made an interesting wall where people love taking Instagram photos in front of.
There is nothing wrong with giving your happy customers a little extra push to share your restaurant on social media. I still believe you should focus heavily on presentation, but sometimes customers need a discount or something for free before they post your brand on the precious real estate they call their social media.
You can do this a number of ways including offering them an incentive if they check in on Facebook or Instagram. However, getting restaurants to incentivize their happy customers to share their positive experience on social media is something we specialize in over here at Benchmark Intelligence with our Happy Customer feature.
When a customer takes a short Benchmark Intelligence text message survey, our system will ask the customers if they’d like to share their experience on Facebook for an incentive (example: free fries). That customer will then be prompted to share a Facebook post about their great experience along with sharing a branded splash page link (example) that includes an incentive (example: $1 off a large sandwich). When their friends and family see the customer’s post about their positive experience, they will click the link and check out the splash page where they can screenshot the coupon to use later.
The idea is that we turn our clients’ happy customers into brand ambassadors. The average Facebook user has close to 350 friends. Every time you get a happy customer to share their experience on Facebook, that’s 350 potential new impressions for your brand. And if you’re able to offer them an incentive like you can with Benchmark Intelligence, there is a good chance many of them will come try your establishment.
In conclusion, if you can get your happy customers to talk about your restaurant online, it’s one of the best and cheapest growth strategies you can implement, even if you have to give them a little free/discounted food. Remember, consumers are much more likely to buy from a friend posting about a restaurant than an ad from your brand page.
Work on the presentation of your food and restaurant to increase the organic sharing of your restaurant and don’t be afraid to incentivize your customers to share their positive experience.
If you’d like to see how we do it here at Benchmark Intelligence, be sure to book a demo. You don’t necessarily need to use software like ours to incentivize your customers to talk about your restaurant on social media, but we sure do make it a heck of a lot easier and more effective.