When one travels around a lot and has a natural curiosity to discover new places to enjoy food, finding a good place to eat with an online query is the way to go. How can one choose the best option from a maze of possibilities? What to choose from Fine dining, Street food, Asian, Pizza, Thai, European, Fusion, healthy, vegetarian, barbecue, seafood, local specific or a combination of any of the above mentioned?
Having a strategy for ORM, also known as “online reputation management”, is mandatory for restaurants and a helping hand to customers. An inviting picture or the restaurant’s rating can direct potential clients to another destination and ultimately impact sales.
Why is ORM good for restaurants?
There are some technical reasons why ORM is a helpful tool for restaurants’ business strategy:
- It generates good SEO
Since ORM means to generate content for all the channels, it will automatically help the SEO strategy by providing links, authority and trustful content.
- Enables contact with the public and possible opinion leaders
Regular customers are also important in generating content and building reputation, just like opinion leaders. Having the public fuel the system with content and opinion gives direct access to feedback.
- Deals with negative feedback
Through the digital channels, the customers express their complaints that can be resolved smoothly through replies and adjustments in the service
- Enables to gain consumer trust
If all the channels are strengthened by frequent content and good reviews, clients will come in.
So knowing that people check reviews and online presence of the restaurant before deciding where to eat, here are some actions that restaurants can take in order to drive traffic towards their physical locations.
Claim the review sites
Here are the essential steps you need to tackle in order to conquer the review domain:
- You need to claim your page on all the important review and guide websites. The main ones are TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google Maps, OpenTable, Facebook.
- Put in your essential info with contact information. People need to be able to locate you easily. Be sure to have someone answer the phone at all times.
- Hire a photographer to take some great pictures. Images will create an appetite for the people to visit you.
- Work with a copywriter to have a great description text. A lot is conveyed by having a warm description that gives an idea about the atmosphere, values, and offer of the place.
- Make it to the listicles, which are comparative lists of places that have a similar offer or are complimentary. Check out this example from Berlin, Germany where Stadtclause and Elefant lead the way.
Be quick to answer any inquiries
Giving a quick reply to any inquiries is paramount, since 53% of the people want a response within an hour, and 72% want a response if there is a complaint, as SproutSocial informs.
“Outside answering quickly, it is important to have the right kind of attitude and always show a client service-oriented approach. It doesn’t necessarily mean that “the client is always right”, but a company needs to show a very calm and rational perspective and offer explanations patiently, even if the client is at fault”, says Daniel Tintori, a business-coach and blogger.
If it is not possible to answer right away, consider having ready some automated responses or even get a chatbot.
Still, in the same key, you need to thank people for taking the time to give a review, even though it may be negative. Answering doesn’t suffice, you need to see what are the ways in which you can improve on the suggestions and actually implement them in reality.
Boost media from the physical presence
Once people are in your physical outpost, there is a good chance they will produce some local content if they are satisfied. So the objective is to boost their happiness levels so that they are tempted to share the experience with others instantaneously. People will give hashtags and check-ins that will identify the restaurant they are in.
One great way to achieve this objective is to generate photo-OP’s, as in photo opportunities. Everything needs to look “instagramable”, from the styling of the place to the styling of the food. Who doesn’t like to brag online when they receive a very yummy looking plate? It also adds some value if the picture is taken by a friend due to the impact of a happy looking person.
Don’t hesitate to join the conversation and study which are some hot hashtags you can use.
It is a good strategy to invite over some key opinion leaders so that they can disseminate your message through to their channels. Cultivate relationships or organize special events they could attend.
Be a regular
There is more than one reason why you need to be a regular publisher. The first is that fresh content is always ranked up by search engines. The second reason is that on a subjective level, people will appreciate seeing an effervescent activity online. That is a good indication that your restaurant is also popular.
Another reason is related to receiving negative feedback. By keeping an active attitude, it is possible to make good things appear as more recent, while negative things are going away in the past. Anybody can make mistakes, especially in the restaurant business, where a bad review makes you work extra to earn good reviews to compensate.
Be active on all the channels
It sounds like there is a lot to tackle in maintaining all those channels up and running. You must absolutely consider automating some tasks and use some tools to have an overview. Here is a list of resources for ORM:
- Privy - it allows the creation of LTO’s (limited time only) on multiple channels
- SproutSocial - a dashboard conceived for restaurants that also allows you to monitor the overall activity through key performance indicators
- Belly - helps you create a loyalty program for your customers.
Focus on authorship
A big part of having your own voice and a clear brand has to do with producing original content. There are many ways to make a mark, whether using a personality to carry the brand, like a celebrity chef or just attaching to a credo, like “Nordic Cuisine”.
Here are some examples that really make a difference in the social media realm:
- The epic videos of the Turkish chef SaltBae
- Christina Tosi going public with the scientific way in which she discovers recipes
- Exploring a school of thought like Noma does on Facebook through “Nordic Cuisine”.
It is especially a good idea to claim a slice of what you do best, whether it is a specific product like pizza or burger, or the atmosphere your restaurant provides.
And finally, don’t forget that owning a restaurant is always about providing a great experience to the customer through food. So the easier the path to the plate, the happier the client!
Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.
You can check her last review of Topessaywriting.