Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’

Why Your Restaurant Needs a Google Plus Presence

October 18, 2013

Google’s social media platform, Google Plus, currently boasts around 500 million users worldwide, second only to Facebook in terms of user popularity. While it’s smart for your restaurant to have a presence there for the same reasons it’s good to be on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, there are other reasons for having a G+ presence that are even more important.

Get More Visibility for Your Restaurant Across all Google Products with a G+ Profile

The first reason it’s smart to set up your business’s Google Plus profile is that you will automatically gain more visibility across all of Google’s products (Google Maps, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google’s Android platform, Zagat reviews, etc.). Google is big on integrating all of their products to function as a complete ecosystem and obviously they have a vested interest in seeing their social platform be a successful venture. As a result, G+ information frequently shows up first in search results, making it in your best interest to have a well-built Google Plus profile presentation.

However, simply having a G+ presence will not automatically boost your search engine rankings per se. The magic really starts happening when you post frequently, interact with other G+ pages, include descriptions and hash tags and give Google additional relevant content to index. 

Google’s Reviews are the First thing People see When They Search for Your Restaurant

While the function that Google Plus serves in terms of search engine optimization is important, the function that it serves in terms of reputation management is perhaps even more critical. When someone does a Google search for your restaurant, the very first thing they see is a link to Google Reviews from consumers who have something to say about your establishment. These reviews can often make or break a consumer’s choice about whether or not to give your restaurant their business.

While you can’t control negative reviews (beyond doing everything in your power to prevent a poor customer experience in the first place), you can use your Google+ profile as a way to demonstrate that you’re open to hearing people’s feedback and are willing to address any concerns your customers might have. Furthermore, you can use your profile to build relationships with your customers and encourage them to leave positive reviews for others to read. All of this conversation becomes visible to the public through your G+ profile.

Leverage Google Plus Business and Local Pages for Your Restaurant

The final note on using G+ effectively is the fact that Google has set up specific profile types for businesses to use. Restaurants will most likely be best served by building a G+ Local page, which is specifically designed for businesses with a physical location and includes Google maps, reviews, and ratings from Zagat as part of the viewing experience. These pages also allow you to post content, photos and videos, interact with other pages and customer profiles, and even create ‘hangouts’ where you can interact with consumers or pre-record information you want stored on your profile page. It only takes a few minutes to get your Google+ presence up and running and the automatic boost in online visibility it affords makes it well worth your time.

Social Media Demographics and how They Pertain to Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy

October 14, 2013

When you’re building your online marketing strategy, social media can play an important role in the overall success of your campaign. As of May 2013, 72% of American adults online are using social networking sites of one form or another. Facebook continues to pull the biggest crowd, claiming a whopping 67% of U.S. online adults, while Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram use continues to steadily rise.

That said, each different social networking site tends to draw a different demographic of users, so it’s important to understand who your primary audience is when designing your restaurant’s social media campaign.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #1: Understand Who’s Using Social Networking Platforms

Statistically speaking, women are only slightly more likely than men to use social media (74% vs. 70% of online users). Similarly, urban dwellers are more likely than rural folk to participate in social platforms (74% vs. 69%). The 18-29 year-old age range is by far the largest group of social networkers, with some 89% utilizing social media in one form or another.

As you might expect, the percentages steadily decline as age increases with 78% aged 30-49, 60% aged 50-64, and 43% over the age of 65. In terms of race and ethnicity, Hispanics hold the greatest percentage of social media use at 80%, followed closely by African-Americans at 75% and whites at 70%. More than 75% of all social media users, regardless of demographic, have a household income of less than $30,000 a year. Being aware of these statistics helps form a more clear idea of how to target the audiences you want to bring in your door using social media.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #2: Take a Closer Look at Who’s Using Which Forum

It’s instructive to take a closer look at exactly who is using which of the multiple social media platforms. For instance, while Facebook continues to be the most used social platform overall (with more than 2/3 of all online adults saying they have a presence there), it is especially common among the younger crowd – with the vast majority of users being under the age of 50.

While Twitter also has the largest following in the younger than 50 crowd, those between the ages of 18-29 are by far the most active. Urban residents are significantly more likely to use Twitter than those in both suburban and rural areas. Hispanics and African-Americans are actually about two times as likely to use Twitter than whites.

Pinterest, on the other hand, tends to draw more whites as well as those with higher incomes and more education. Women are also five times more likely to use Pinterest than men, which is the biggest gender difference of any social media platform.

Last but not least, Instagram seems to be most popular with those in the 18-29 age range, more so than any of the others. In fact, this group tends to be twice as active as even the next youngest age group. African-Americans are more than twice as likely to use Instagram than whites.

What All These Demographics Tell Us About Designing Restaurant Social Media Campaigns

The take away point here is that it is important to know who you are most likely to be talking to when you start your social media campaigns so that you can structure your messages accordingly. For instance, the Millennial generation (those between the ages of 18-35) tend to be drawn to coupons, deals and discounts more than any other group. They love happy hours and home delivery options, and are more likely to choose locally-owned restaurants than any other demographic.

Gen-Xers, on the other hand, (currently 36-46 years old) currently frequent restaurants more than any other age group. Time and efficiency is important to this demographic, as is pragmatism and practicality, so marketing messages that are straight-forward and direct are what will resonate most with this generation.

Understanding who is most likely to be using the various social media platforms out there helps you to create more targeted and meaningful campaigns. Taking some time to think about which demographic groups you are trying to appeal to and where you are most likely to find them, will go a long way toward the overall success of your restaurant’s social media campaign.

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Mobile Marketing a Key Opportunity for Restaurants

October 8, 2013

According to recent analytics, over 50% of all website traffic will be coming from mobile devices by the end of 2013. Furthermore, restaurants happen to be the most searched for industry on smartphones, greatly outperforming other highly searched industries. The vast majority of consumers say they often choose a restaurant based on how it shows up in search results and whether or not they are able to get the information they are looking for from their mobile devices.

When you consider that more than 56% of American adults are smartphone users (about 125 million people), these statistics highlight an important point: having a mobile-friendly website for your restaurant has become critical to your establishment’s online marketing success.

Three Main Options to Make Your Restaurant Website Mobile-Friendly

Obviously, the most critical step a restaurateur should take in creating a successful mobile marketing strategy is to have a mobile or mobile-friendly website that lets users find exactly what they’re looking for, instantaneously. There are three main ways to do this. First, you can build a ‘responsive design’ website which adjusts the layout of your content to display optimally on any device. This is a choice typically best suited for content-driven websites like blogs or publications.

Second, you could add a plug-in to your existing traditional website which will scale your content down, but won’t optimize its layout for mobile devices.

Third, you can build a separate mobile website, designed specifically for mobile screens. For businesses with a local presence like restaurants, this is often the best choice because you can streamline content that will help convert mobile searchers to actual customers. Since the odds are good that someone searching for a restaurant on a mobile device is quite likely looking for someplace to eat right now, it only makes sense to have pertinent information such as menus, prices, availability and a click-to-call button easily available for them to view.

SEO Matters More than ever in Restaurant Mobile Marketing

Search engine optimization, or SEO, has always been critical if you want to be found online. As of September of this year, it’s more important than ever because Google announced that it was going to start ‘demoting’ websites in mobile searches who don’t have a mobile site to direct people to or who have one that isn’t configured properly.

Mobile SEO is akin to traditional SEO – make sure your mobile site is optimized with the right keywords and is listed in appropriate directories such as Yelp, online Yellow Pages, Google +, etc. Make sure your listings and keyword terms are accurate and consistent.

Start Small with Restaurant Mobile Marketing Maneuvers

Developing a savvy mobile marketing strategy can be inexpensive and simple to implement. You can easily design a basic mobile website featuring your most pertinent information using templates that are readily available. Beyond having a mobile-friendly web space, you can ‘mobilize’ other marketing efforts that you’re already doing, such as birthday coupons or monthly special discounts for your online followers.

Optimize your emails to be read on mobile devices. Consider a text-marketing campaign. Add a QR code to your printed marketing materials. After you’ve done all of the above, toy with the idea of developing a snazzy app that will add extra value and enhance your customers’ experiences. Above all, do not ignore the mobile movement. It’s only going to get more prevalent and more relevant to your restaurant’s overall online marketing success. Learn more at