The Necessity of Social Media for Food-Related Businesses
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Food services market in the country is estimated to grow to approximately INR 5,00,000 crore by 2021. Mumbai's organised foodservice market is reported to be the highest amongst metros in the country with close to 87,650 restaurants. Market surveys indicate that the city’s denizens’ frequency of consuming non-home cooked food is 4.2 times per month (dine-out, delivery, and takeaways). Taking away from this rosy picture is the fact that restaurants globally, also fail at an alarmingly high rate with 80 to 85 per cent downing shutters in the very first year.
Success or Failure
The success and failure of any restaurant could depend on a variety of reasons but in this current highly competitive market, in India and in particular Mumbai, it is imperative that in order to attract eyeballs and bring in the footfalls a restaurant has to be different to the rest and people must be made aware of its existence. Again, in the current scenario, where the millennial prefers digital communication to the old fashioned face to face, social media is the key to letting everyone know you’ve arrived and kept your restaurant in the news. The days of word of mouth have long since lost its voice.
The impact of social media is so immense that experts estimate that by just monitoring tweets and tags and reacting to them quickly restaurants can boost their social media standing and enhance their influence on current and potential guests.
Live video content, though being used since 2017, stills creates quite a buzz. This ephemeral content as in Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories may be short-lived, lasting only for 24 hours, but users appreciate these and are far more likely to add such content to their personal profiles on a daily basis.
Undiscovered restaurants record an immediate revival with some live footage. Instagrams stories by celebrities celebrating special occasions at diners have been liked and shared widely. Again the video content of bartenders in action at stirring up quite some interest. Reposts of user-generated content and day to day happenings to have a huge draw, this is because all these videos tell a story and who doesn’t love a good story?
Restaurants use their social media for personalised marketing and to inform their regulars and potential clients of events, promotions and specials while communicating to them as individuals. This is now easily possible through the use of automation technology and data collection. Personalised marketing is one of the most direct hospitality marketing strategies used to establish a more personal relationship with customers and to encourage them to make a return visit. 5-star hotel and high-end standalone restaurants have been using this mode of marketing very successful in promoting their new menus and special festival offers. It is also an invaluable means of building a dialogue with guests and compiling information about customers’ preferences, and feedback.
Another social media phenomenon is influencer marketing, not just restaurants but every single consumer product is currently capitalising on the power of the celebrity to influence the cash-rich millennial. Growing to almost a 10 Billion dollar industry globally, influencer marketing is also becoming the focus of marketers in India too. The endorsement and acclaim from a celebrity, YouTuber or a blogger can very quickly bump up sales. Then there are the Twitter influencers and Instagram influencers who have huge followings and restaurants are capitalising on the reach of this influencer - both micro and macro-influencers.
Social Media is an extremely powerful tool in marketing and promoting food-related businesses. Social media has entirely revamped how restauranteurs and those in the hospitality business interact with their consumers. It is the means to create a relatable, recognisable brand persona that boosts engagement and inspires consumer loyalty. The food business has had to rethink its strategies and understand how best to convey their message across to their clients through this new and dynamic media. To compete in today’s business environment there is no other option than social media.