Social media is not a replacement for traditional marketing; it is only another tool in your marketing toolbox. You might ask the reason you need to engage with social networks at all. Some statistics on social media and purchasing habits:
- Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. (HubSpot)
- 49% of consumers use Facebook to search for restaurants. (Mashable)
- 58% of Facebook users expect offers, events or promotions when they become a fan. (HubSpot)
- 81% of U.S. survey respondents say friends’ social media posts have directly influenced a purchase decision. (Forbes)
- 15.1 million consumers go to social media channels before making a purchase decision. (Knowledge Networks)
What does one take from all of this? First, you do not control your brand anymore, not in the traditional sense. Consumers are talking about your brand (your restaurant) whether you like it or not, so it is up to you to engage the “community.” Even if you are not using any social media channels, check out your business listing on websites such as Yelp and Local.com. You will see reviews of your establishment, and, yes, some of them are negative. Knowing the above statistics, you need to engage the community. If a user gives you a rave review, thank the person. If the review is negative, you need to address it and not arbitrarily dismiss it. Show the consumer you care!
What will be the big social media trends for 2013? Let’s start with mobile. More than 100 millions users have a smartphone. Mobile Internet is due to overtake wired use by 2015. Are you ready? The second big trend is video. This is such a no-brainer, especially when combined with the growing use of mobile devices.