When choosing among a row of restaurants that a diner has had no prior experience with, there tends to be a level of uncertainty that stirs inside them concerning not only the quality of the food, but also the full dining experience. To ease this feeling of apprehension, diners search for information in various forms that will provide them with an idea of what each restaurant has to offer.
Peer Networks vs Anonymous Networks:
This information exists on both marketer-controlled and marketer-uncontrolled sources and in both peer networks and anonymous networks. Peer networks are social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. On these types of sites the restaurant itself has the ability to control what forms of media they release by creating their own profiles and presenting potential customers with important information and effective marketing. Anonymous networks on the other hand, provide a sense of community among consumers where they can share their past experiences with products or services with each other. In this case, restaurants tend to have less control over what is being said and what information is being released to potential customers. As a result, it is essential that restaurants take advantage their ability to have some control over peer networks to balance out their loose grip on anonymous networks.
One peer network that continuously proves its success with the restaurant industry is Instagram. Diners are constantly photographing their meals prior to eating them and posting them to their profiles to share with all of their followers. There are also endless food accounts whose sole purpose is to photograph appetizing and unique delicacies. A single photo posted by the restaurant’s account, another diner, or a food account could be all it takes to attract a hungry potential customer looking for a place to eat. However, the applications rewards may only be obtained if it is practiced in an efficient and practical manner.
It is extremely important that restaurants make their profiles and posts both easily searchable and shareable by users, starting with the name of their account. The profile name must be recognizable and clearly connected to the business. Hashtags and keywords also may be used repeatedly and should include things that are relevant such as the restaurant name, the name of an event specific to the restaurant, or the name of a signature drink/meal. Another way to make their social media presence known to consumers is by linking an Instagram campaign to other social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. By doing this, restaurants can share the photos they post on multiple networks to broaden reach and hopefully gain more followers. Consumers have recently begun to desire a more personal exchange with businesses, and a more interactive marketing experience. To grab the attention of those who desire a more dynamic experience, restaurants should make interactive Instagram posts that offer customer rewards, request opinions on future plans, or challenge them. Most importantly, restaurants must ensure that the photos they post look professional and appetizing. Some food photo secrets include, finding good lighting, adding texture to the photo, picking flattering filters, and venturing outside of the box.