Every business owner knows the importance of marketing. It’s what makes you stand out, what brings the new customers and helps you strive for higher goals. The same goes for running a restaurant. If you want to climb the ladder higher and have your restaurant join the list of the best restaurant out there, you need to up your marketing game. And take advantage of the user-generated content for restaurant website (UGC).
This type of content is great at helping you drive foot traffic to your establishment. And that’s because you can now use your customers as brand ambassadors for your restaurant. It’s the best kind of free publicity out there.
And here’s yet another benefit. The brand content you produce for your restaurant website is simply not as authentic as the content created by the actual customers. People who’ve already experienced your brand. Because no matter what you do, your prospects will still be aware that the content you’re producing is for business purposes only.
According to 2017 Consumer Content Report by Stackla, just 20% of consumers consider brand-created content for your restaurant website as authentic.
At the same time, 60% see user-generated content as most authentic. This means they would turn to customer testimonials and reviews before making a decision whether to buy or trust a certain business.
Therefore, incorporating user-generated content into your restaurant marketing strategy is a brilliant idea. And this article will show you how to actually do it.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content is published content that people provide about your brand voluntarily, without being compensated for it. The content might be a review, a photo, a video, a discussion on a forum, a comment, and more.
How to Create User-Generated Content For Restaurant Website?
Motivate People to Take Pictures
In order for you to be able to share user-generated content and use it for your own goals, you need to make people create it. To put it simply: you need to give your customers something worth taking a picture of and sharing online.
To inspire your restaurant’s customers to create the content you can later use, you could:
- pay special attention to the appearance of the dishes you’re serving
- set up a “picture” area with a beautiful background
If you give them something beautiful, they’ll capture it with their phones and cameras for sure!
Provide Effective Calls to Action
Your customers definitely need a bit of a push to start sharing their pictures and overall experience at your restaurant with their friends.
In order for you to ensure your happy customers share their picture, you can simply ask them to! Effective calls to action are one of the best ways to inspire your customers and have them share their positive experience with your restaurant. Try some of these:
- What’s your favorite dish at our restaurant? Share your picture!
- Having a nice time at our restaurant? Let everyone know!
- What will you treat yourself with at our restaurant? Make sure to share.
Once your customers start sharing, you can start using their pictures. It’s a great advertisement, but the best part is that “because it comes from a real person, it doesn’t necessarily feel promotional”, as pointed out by Huffington Post.
Social Media Reposts
You can kick it all off by using social media as one of the best platforms for providing quality content and connecting directly to your customers. In order to master the social media game, cover the following:
Hashtags: Create unique restaurant hashtags and invite your customers to use them. This way, you’ll be able to see and track down all the user-generated pictures posted on social media.
Repost: Once you get a hold of amazing customer photos or videos made at your restaurant, repost them. It will be beneficial on multiple levels:
- The customer who’s the author will feel special
- Other people will see this UGC and wish to visit your restaurant
- You’ll inspire other customers to follow the example and maybe be portrayed on your official social media accounts
“Reposts are not just a way of advertising your brand. It’s a way of telling your customers they are important to you, and their opinion matters” says Amanda Sparks, head of the marketing department at Essay Supply.
As stated by Forbes “people are often more than happy to share content with your brand in hopes of having it featured.” If you want to have a whole section of UGC and update it regularly, you can create a special place for it on your website.
Just like when you’re creating an eCommerce site, you need a rich image gallery for your products, if you want to advertise your restaurant website, you need appealing photos of your food and ambiance.
Set up a Gallery filled with images of satisfied customers along with their original comments. In addition, invite your website visitors to send you their pictures directly to your email address and tell you what is it that they like about your restaurant so much.
This will help you build up a serious UGC gallery, filled with inspiring images made by actual customers.
Contests & Giveaways
If you really want to up your UGC game and attract new followers on social media as well as new customers to your restaurant, a photo contest, and a giveaway are the way to go. Kick off a photo contest for your customers and make sure to set up some clear rules:
- post a picture taken at your restaurant
- follow your restaurant’s page
- use specific hashtags
- tag two friends and ask them to follow the page as well
Then, decide how you’re going to choose the winner and what’s the reward. For example, the winner could be the picture with the most likes or selected randomly or the one you find to be most beautiful.
The reward could be a dinner for two, a special catering for a party or anything else you think your customers would enjoy.
“The type of user content generated as a part of a competition is extremely effective for your traffic, engagement, and overall popularity on social media,” says Christopher K. Mercer, digital entrepreneur and founder of Citatior.
People will get to see how other people have enjoyed their time at your restaurant and they’ll want to join the party.
Even though user-generated content is made by other users, you still need to make sure the content is accurately written and mistake-free. Double check everything you write using tools and services such as this grammar checker, Online Writers Rating or Grammarly. If you have trouble proofreading or editing, Flashessay.com or Hemingway can be helpful, so give them a try.
User-generated content can work wonders for your restaurant’s promotion. It can help you seem more trustworthy, relatable and attractive to people who’ve never been your customer. And in addition, it inspires people to visit your place and try your food.
Therefore, there’s no reason for you not to use your clients as brand ambassadors. Nowadays, using user-generated content for restaurant websites is the best type of free publicity out there.
You might also like: How to structure your restaurant website content
This article is a guest post.
By Natalie Andersen