Lauren Kaye

Although restaurants primarily sell their products and services offline, they are quickly realizing the vast potential of bringing their marketing efforts to the web. According to The Hospitality Technology‘s second annual Customer Engagement Technology Study, 89 percent of restaurants use social media marketing to engage customers and prospects. While a leap into digital marketing is a move in the right direction, it’s just as important for restaurants to be investing in the right networks.

Biggest networks not always best for content ROI

Facebook is the social media network of choice for food service companies, as 94 percent use this site. Twitter is the second favorite used by 77 percent of surveyed restaurants. As two of the most popular social sites, it makes sense on the surface that companies invest in these channels if for no other reason than because they will reach the widest audiences.

However, the data shows that by dedicating resources to these platforms, the food service industry might be skipping over channels that will provide more meaningful engagement.

Restaurants need sites that serve local results

Just 53 percent of restaurants are on Yelp, 42 percent use Foursquare and only 39 percent participate on Urban Spoon and Google Places. 

The problem? These networks have built in features that can be leveraged to achieve restaurant marketers’ goal of getting patrons into physical locations. Foursquare, Urban Spoon and Yelp all help local businesses connect with on-the-go patrons looking for places to grab beers or a bite. Ignoring these networks means brands won’t surface when consumers conduct searches on their mobile devices and making purchase decisions.

85 percent of consumers look up businesses’ data online and 93 percent act on the information they find.

Brafton previously reported that 85 percent of consumers look up businesses’ data online and 93 percent act on the information they find, whether that entails visiting a company’s website, calling its phone number, going to a physical location or conducting a transaction.

Consider your audience behavior as a marketing rudder

It’s important for marketers to consider where their target audiences are active, but also how prospects use those pages. In the food service industry, which has a short sales cycle, it might be more effective to build strong presences on sites where consumers go for information to guide immediate conversions.