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Smart Phones and Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

Posted by Timothy Lorang on Mon, Apr 09, 2012 @ 09:34 AM

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Guinness QRCodeLast month Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider presented The Future of Mobile at their IGNITION WEST conference in San Francisco. In a nutshell mobile is taking off in a big way. Last year the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold. Readers of this blog know that we have been anticipating this for some time. The other piece of information that should be of interest for anyone with a restaurant, bar, pub or tavern is outlined in the Infographic below from lab42’s blog MarketResearch 2.0 Smartphone Foodies. (see below)

From the Business Insider presentation we know that the number of smartphones is increasing and it will continue to increase. Blodget also tells us that everything people did online with their PCs they are doing on their smartphones. They are listening to music, reading ads, writing reviews, playing games, and looking up information. The only thing is now they are mobile. From MarketResearch 2.0 we are seeing what foodies are doing with their smartphones.

Smart Phones and Foodies

      • 20% text others about their dining plans
      • 19% search for restaurants that appeal to them
      • 18% look up menus
      • 18% get directions
      • 19% update Facebook
      • 24% take a photo of their meals and companions

Now if you are thinking that these percentages are too low to bother about remember that in the U.S. about 24% of people online are creators and 37% are critics (Forrester Research) and that small group of young people texting in your restaurant are the influential trend setters telling their friends, and complete strangers, what they think about your food, service and establishment. The study from MarketResearch 2.0 also shows that 85% of respondents trust online reviews from fellow diners more than reviews from professionals and food sites. Not everybody in your restaurant is actually online while they are there but it is likely, especially if your clientele is under 45, that more than half of them read online restaurant reviews. What will they find out about you?

Restaurant Marketing Tips for the Mobile Foodie

The mobile and social media revolution is well on its way. There are still some details about the best platform or what apps work best but these details are not excuses for non-action.

      • Update/create your profiles on Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, UrbanSpoon, and OpenTable
      • Get listed in your local city or chamber of commerce directory
      • Optimize your website for mobile phones and tablets
      • Use QR Codes but be more creative than asking people to “Like” your Facebook page
      • Engage your customers through mobile and online promotions
      • Use mobile sites to educate your customers
      • Have Google or Bing Directions on your website
      • Give people an incentive to write reviews
      • Give customers a place to post pictures (remember 24% are taking pictures anyway, get them involved)
      • Make sure your menus are formatted for mobile phones
      • Put dietary and calorie information about your menu
      • Feature beer and wine food pairings
      • Entertainment calendars
      • Coupons
  • Educate and involve your staff in social media and mobile applictions

Ask your customers what they want. 13% of your customers clicking away at their smartphones while they are waiting for the check are looking for a place to go next. Partner with a nearby business and give them suggestions and incentives. Perhaps a QR Code with the bill that when scanned suggests an after dinner club with a coupon.

There are a lot of ideas that could take up several more blogs. What are you doing? What can you do? Let me know in the comments below. It is important to be creative but it is more important to do something.

Smartphone Foodie

Infographic: marketresearch-2.0

Photo: John Caples Awards

Topics: Social Media, Local Marketing, Website Design