Restaurants Need to Get Onboard Fast With SoLoMo
No, it’s not a new fancy dish causing a rush through restaurant doors but rather, SoLoMo digital marketing, has been trending in social media and overall marketing campaigns for restaurants and bars. For restaurant owners that have not yet heard this buzz term, it’s time to learn about it and jump on the fast moving train. SoLoMo is an acronym for Social + Local + Mobile, and its principles should definitely not be overlooked for digital marketing campaigns. Implementing a coordinated and integrated SoLoMo strategy can have a major impact on your restaurant business and here are some of the reasons why:
Restaurants are social! People want to try new restaurants, often based on what they hear from their friends and other trusted sources on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, people love to share their own dining experiences and photos, and that’s like getting free marketing! According to recent market research, nearly three out of every four customers (72 percent) have used social media to make restaurant or retail decisions based on comments and images that have been shared by other users.
Furthermore, location-based social networking websites, such as Foursquare and Yelp, enable customers to use their mobile devices and smartphones to “check-in”, write a review, vote and rank businesses, leave comments, invite friends, like, re-tweet and discuss experiences. The more social media users continue to share experiences in real time and the more sites that your restaurant is introduced to (and that you participate in), the more you increase your social media footprint.
Smart restaurateurs have already moved their social media marketing strategies beyond simply gaining likes and followers. They realize it’s about quality, not quantity. The key to success is identifying and engaging key influencers, remembering that engagement is a two way street and when customers engage you, whether fans or critics, you must respond.
According to SmallBizTrends.com, one in every three searches has local intent. Therefore, location-based marketing is essential to any bar or restaurant’s marketing strategy. Geo-location offers that go out based on the location of an individual, will be particularly relevant in attracting the new customer, maybe a visitor or tourist looking for a local experience or deal. In addition, proper search engine optimization (SEO) will make it easier than ever for local restaurants to target consumers on the go and draw them in for a purchase when they happen to be right around the block.
There are more than 91.4 million smartphones in use in the U.S. and 1.08 billion worldwide. Smartphones have most of the same capabilities of a computer, from checking and sending emails to viewing websites, and surfing the net. What’s interesting part is that almost 50 percent of all smartphone users are the most frequent restaurant goers! When looking for restaurant ideas and recommendations, there’s a very good chance your customers will be searching for you on their mobile device.
In today’s “instant and mobile” world, people are looking for and wanting information instantly. To get that instant information, they access the web via their smartphone or other mobile devices. The newest mobile trends for restaurants are:
– Re-tooling their websites so they work properly on mobile devices
– Customizable mobile apps
The shame is that a large number of restaurants and bars are behind the curve in understanding the importance of creating mobile content. Digital coupons and other offers sent directly to consumers cell phones, mobile apps, Passbook or text messages will continue to expand local restaurants’ reach and hit their target markets very directly. Your offer gets right into their hands –via the device they’re holding.
Mobile marketing offers restaurateurs the opportunity to target diners not just by demographics but by location as well. Mobile also evens the playing field between the big and small business, allowing any brand from a mobile food van to a well-known national restaurant franchise to inform consumers of their latest offers, nearest locations, and phone numbers. Remember, SoLoMo is “instant and mobile” and that is what consumers are looking for.
So how can you speed up your SoLoMo marketing strategy? Here are some ideas:
1) Focus on the social networks.
With so many social networking sites available, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Your best bet at the start is to focus your social media marketing efforts on a few channels, rather than too many different platforms. Perhaps start with some of the big hitters like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare and Yelp.
2) Reward a customer check-in.
Local check-ins can help boost your restaurant’s local search visibility. Maybe offer your customers a discount on their next meal or a free appetizer by frequently checking-in at your location on Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp or Google Places.
3) Invest in a mobile-friendly website and customized mobile app.
This is most important. Every bar and restaurant needs a mobile-friendly website designed for the mobile web browser. Surprisingly, though,a Restaurant Sciences industry study reveals that 95 percent of independent restaurants do not have a mobile website, and only about half of chain restaurants have some sort of mobile site. If your restaurant does not already have a mobile-friendly site, it’s critical that you do so soon.
Next, invest in a customizable mobile app. Customized mobile apps incorporate a number of features that can increase sales, improve service and increase customer engagement. Nowadays there are mobile app options for custom apps that can meet just about any budget. The number of people who use iPhones, iPads and Android devices continues to grow at a phenomenal rate and that growth won’t be slowing down any time soon. Restaurateurs who are first to realize the benefits of leveraging this technology will gain a tremendous advantage over their competition. Imagine being the first (and possibly only) restaurant in the neighborhood to have your phone number, directions, location, menu ordering, events, and specials in the pocket of every person in the community with your app!
With proper implementation of SoLoMo digital marketing, you can provide your customers with positive experiences full of relevant messages, value, benefits, and rewards. Get into the SoLoMo mindset and watch your business and customer relationships grow!