Leverage User Generated Content to Increase Your Social Presence

meganMaintaining a successful and consistent social presence can be difficult, particularly in an industry that relies so heavily on images. In between running a restaurant and managing the staff, there’s no time to take photos of your menu, specialty drinks and spectacular views. Hiring a professional photographer is expensive and frankly, unrealistic for restaurants that offer seasonal menus and nightly specials. So how do you show people how great your restaurant is?

User Generated Content, or UGC, is social content created by your guests. This could range from photos and videos to online reviews, tweets and posts. It’s that third-party validation that everyone craves and a way for you to show how great your restaurant is without constantly tooting your own horn. Word of Mouth has evolved. Diners look to their friends’ Instagram pictures or Facebook check-ins for dining recommendations and are more likely to dine at a restaurant that they’ve heard about through a source they trust. According to OpenTable’s “Technology and Dining Out 2015” study, 60% of diners read reviews and look at photos before making a dining decision.

How do you generate UGC?

  • Encourage your guests to take photos while dining. This is especially difficult for fine dining restaurants where 63% of diners report that they “rarely or never” use their cell phones during their meal* due to dim lighting or for fear that the restaurant doesn’t condone that behavior.
  • Create a branded hashtag. Use something that relates to your brand and is easy for diners to remember. Post photos to your own Instagram and Facebook pages with the hashtag to get the ball rolling.
  • Incentivize guests with contests. Facebook contests are easy to run and are a great way to increase engagement and reach. Encourage guests to submit their best photo (don’t forget to use your hashtag!) and offer a small prize, like a gift card, to your favorite photos.
  • Repurpose your 5 star reviews. Diners look to all online platforms, from review sites to social media pages before deciding where to dine. Use your best reviews on your Facebook page with a quick thank you for the wonderful comments and a call to action, such as a link to make an online reservation.

Finding a way to talk about your restaurant less and letting others do the talking for you is a great strategy to implement on social media. Let your loyal customers become brand advocates and your best marketing tool. Sharing user generated content on your social platforms is easy to do and keeps your content fresh!

* OpenTable’s “Technology and Dining Out 2015”

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