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Restaurants, cafés, takeaways and other food businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media as a marketing tool: it’s where your customers are. People spend about 144 minutes per day on social media. That’s over two and a half hours when they could be connecting with your brand.

It’s not just connection without context, either: this is prime decision-making real estate. According to Ryan Olahan, Google’s Managing Director of Food, Beverage & Restaurants, there are over one billion restaurant searches on Google every month. Here, we outline the seven most compelling reasons to create and maintain enticing and informative social media profiles for your business. 

1. Efficient and affordable

Social media is a form of advertising that is both pervasive and affordable. Many potential customers will look for social media profiles when considering where to eat; ORACLE GloriaFood tells us that 72% of customers look at Facebook comments and images in order to make informed decisions about restaurants. The degree of transparency in social media allows you to illustrate consistency in the quality of your food, as well as sharing your menu. As a bonus, social media is free unless you choose to run paid ads — which are still comparatively cheaper than many other forms of advertising.

2. Instant updates

Social media is one of the fastest ways to keep guests informed about your restaurant, not just in terms of opening hours and contact information but also news you’d like to share: menu updates, daily specials, temporary holiday hours, one-off events, promotions, etc. 

3. Two-way communication

One of the most important reasons a restaurant should have social media accounts is that they offer easy two-way communication. In an age when many millennial and Gen Z consumers would rather send an instant message or email than pick up the phone, this is a cost-free way to meet them where they are, allowing them to ask any questions they have about your offering and letting you respond within a short timeframe. This interaction also allows you to strengthen your relationship with your customers, building brand loyalty. 

4. Visual marketing

The old adage is true: we eat with our eyes. Instagram, in particular, is ideal for visual marketing, and “foodstagramming” shows no signs of waning in popularity. Populate your social media with compelling images of mouthwatering food. Make it irresistible: capture the moment you break the yolk of a perfectly poached egg; show the glossy shine of a warm chocolate sauce; let melted cheese drip seductively down the sides of your burgers. The hashtag #foodporn has 282 million posts for a reason. 

5. Understand your customer experience

The food culture of social media encourages users to post pictures and reviews about their experiences in restaurants, giving you easy insights into how your customers are experiencing your offering and perhaps highlighting small changes you can make to improve that experience. 

6. User-generated content

Those photos and reviews we just mentioned? These are pure gold. Because they’re not created by your business, they carry a high degree of credibility. Sharing these positive posts to your own page can attract potential new customers and build brand advocacy. 

7. Improved searchability

Social media pages with reasonable amounts of content and traffic will see an improvement in SEO, or online searchability. Although social media is not a part of Google’s search algorithm, it does have an indirect effect on a business’s overall search ranking; the algorithm takes into account popularity, authority and website traffic, all three of which can be boosted by social media. 

If your restaurant is new to social media, start small. Choose one or two social media platforms — Instagram and Facebook are a good place to start — and focus on building those. Once you have those established, you can move on to creating other accounts if desired. 

For more helpful advice for your hospitality business, visit www.tenkites.com or follow us on social media.