Are you looking to make user-generated content a part of your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy? If yes, that’s a great decision!
Even the best content in the world is inevitably viewed through a certain lens by customers because it comes from a brand trying to achieve its business goals. In other words, it’s not as authentic as the one created by people who had an actual experience with the brand that they would like to share with others.
In fact, just 20 percent of consumers consider brand-created content as authentic, according to 2017 Consumer Content Report by Stackla.
Source: 2017 Consumer Content Report
On the other hand, 60 percent of consumers see user-generated content as most authentic, which means they would turn to customer testimonials and reviews before making a decision whether to buy or trust a certain business.
There is a wide range of reasons why a person would want to share their experience with a business, especially a restaurant. Naturally, your customers have probably reviewed your venue a lot of times, and since positive reviews make 73 percent of consumers trust businesses more, having user-generated content such as reviews about positive customer experience is absolutely a must.
Moreover, as suggested by the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey, a staggering 60 percent of consumers search for reviews of local restaurants online, which makes reviews tremendously important for these businesses.
Source: Local Consumer Review Survey
In this article, let’s explore the benefits of user-generated content and how can you integrate it into your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy to improve your online image, build trustworthy relationships with customers, and, of course, achieve marketing goals.
Benefits of Having User-Generated Content
Building a Community of Loyal Customers
As we already know, user-generated content makes customers trust a business more. It facilitates brand loyalty, which is extremely important because retaining an existing customer costs about five times cheaper than acquiring a new one.
“Once prospects and existing customers start noticing great user-generated content on your website and social media profiles, they will form a positive opinion about your business and will be more likely to buy from you,” explains Stephen Larson, a social media specialist at Top Australia Writers.
As the result, you’ll be able to build a community of loyal customers, which will account for most of your sales.
Humanize Your Marketing
“Online audiences are so fed up with the hard sell, in-your-face advertising, so they won’t buy from a business that uses it in its marketing,” says Pat Sessions, a digital marketer from Canada Writers. “On the other hand, they are much more likely to pay attention to content created in the form of stories of your brand or customers because they are more authentic.”
User-generated content is a perfect tool that allows to take advantage of storytelling. For example, you can share a story of a customer that you helped by providing your services (e.g. someone made a beautiful proposal in your restaurant with your assistance).
Reduce Your Marketing Spending
Making user-generated content is often requires much expensive than creating other types of content because this task is completed by a customer.
How to Make User-Generated Content a Part of Your Restaurant’s Marketing Strategy
Now let’s see how you can make user-generated content a powerful tool for your restaurant and develop personal engagement with your clients.
Invite Customers to Post about Your Restaurant and Use These Photos
“Here’s an idea of a marketing campaign: kindly invite your customers to take photos in your restaurant and ask them to use a particular hashtag,” advises Sarah Allen, a marketing communication manager at GetGoodGrade.com. “Then, select the best photos for your own social media posts (don’t forget to reward the customers who took them!), and share them.”
For example, here’s a post from a London-based Ping Pong Dim Sum restaurant announcing a Twitter contest with a specific hashtag, #motherlovin.
Any posts praising your business for excellent service should also be considered for sharing with the audience. You can discover them by using the search function on your selected social media network. For example, here’s a post created by a happy customer that’s also a great piece of user-generated content.
Maintain and Promote Your Restaurant’s Page on Google and Yelp
Google and Yelp are major sources of online reviews of restaurants, and you know very well how important they are to the success of your business. In fact, 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Reviews study found them to be the most popular among consumers.
Second, make sure to promptly respond to both positive and negative reviews left by your customers. According to the aforementioned ReviewTrackers study, 53.3 percent of consumers expect businesses to respond to their online review within 7 days.
To encourage your customers to check out your restaurant’s page on review sites, feel free to place the link to it on your website or social media profiles. Remember: services like Yelp prohibit businesses from asking customers for reviews, but you still can encourage people to check out your page and read reviews.
Stimulate User-Generated Content
Remember, the best way to facilitate the creation of user-generated content is to provide excellent service to your restaurant’s visitors. If they love the atmosphere, food, and service, chances are they’ll want to share their experience with others.
User-generated content is a powerful tool in your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy. Consumers are craving authenticity, so your responsibility is to meet this requirement and prove that anyone can be a fan of your restaurant.
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Miguel is a digital marketing consultant and marketing coordinator for various global industries, including hospitality and restaurant software. Born in southern California and raised in Chicago, he’s an avid promoter of using cloud-based technologies and AI marketing integrations in order to upgrade the user experience.