What is in this article?:
- Restaurant social media trends for 2013
- Videos, photo sharing and mobile search
Experts give advice on what social media tools restaurants should leverage in the coming year
While Pinterest became a hot piece of real estate in 2012 social media, experts looking further into 2013 see less of a new breakout name than the more effective use of existing platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Some emerging areas of social media include geo-location platforms, photo-sharing applications like Instagram and others, and increased use of video, such as YouTube and Vimeo postings, social media consultants said.
“While there are many new emerging platforms that look sexy and hopeful,” said Amanda Hite, co-founder and chief change officer at BTC Revolutions, a Lexington, Ky.-based social-media consultancy, “we strongly believe that restaurant brands need to get good at [using] the platforms their brands, their customers and their employees are on now.”
Sara A. Polito, founder of the Dallas-based Causing the Stir social media agency, agreed, pointing to Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter as the social media platforms restaurants should watch in 2013. "Although these free platforms aren’t new to the social media world, they are, in my opinion, game changers for businesses, especially restaurants," she said.
“I think it’s one of the best social platforms to drive traffic to your website and other social channels," said Polito about Twitter. "It’s much more timely and the best for current events and conversations.”
Other social media experts agree on Twitter's potential as a tool for restaurants. “[Twitter is] the candy aisle of the social web," replied one of Hite's team members at BTC Revolutions to a query she sent out. "Potential guests are broadcasting their thoughts and crowd-sourcing their dining decisions more than ever before.”
Twitter could also serve as a restaurant brand’s frequently-asked-questions system, said Paul Barron, founder and chief executive of the Miami-based DigitalCoCo agency, which produces the Restaurant Social Media Index.
“I see Twitter getting better at verticals in 2013 and potentially becoming more real-time for restaurants, like chatter boards, feedback systems and maybe even reservations,” Barron said.
Restaurant brands are still figuring out how to leverage Twitter to its fullest, noted Hite. “They just don't get its potential,” she said in an email. “They'll look at the ratio of followers they have on Twitter vs. fans they have on Facebook and see Facebook as the stronger tool to reach their audience when, in most cases, the reality is there are more people ‘Talking About’ or mentioning their brand on Twitter that they can directly reach in real time than they can on Facebook.”
Hite said an example is that on Facebook a brand can only “tag” or reply back to someone who has come to the page and left a comment. However, the brand can search Twitter for comments and engage any Twitter poster that has mentioned the brand.
“Twitter allows you to have a two-way conversation with anyone, not just those that reach out to you,” Hite added. “Also, with the proper listening tools, you can get real-time market feedback, spot service problems and find new audiences.”