Content for El Economista.
By Olga Lisbona, Innovation Lab at Mero Mole.
Illustration by Inés Antuñano.
The foodie generation is hungry: millennials are known as a generation of experiences and part of the digital revolution, and also for their close relationship with food.
For them, the act of eating goes beyond sitting at a table. This generation pays special attention in practicing a mindful consumption of food, they also check out the source and processing of products, and the relationship with the staff, in addition to seeking extraordinary experiences and flavours in every bite.
All of this creates the perfect storm that has triggered the boom in gastronomic content that surrounds us today: from documentary series on Michelin-starred chefs to the 300 million photographs tagged with #food on Instagram’s, as well as the thousands of video tutorials of recipes and reviews that are uploaded to the Internet every minute.
According to Mero Mole’s Market Intelligence department, 8 out of 10 potential customers search for restaurants online before their first visit in order to find plates, prices and reviews, in addition to the required search for the address.
Of all the viral content that exists, food represents approximately 42%: almost half! This provides an opportunity for restaurant owners and industry brands to tap into conversations and trends in order to connect with their consumers.
If you’re still not convinced or don’t know where to start, here are some tips:
1. Define who you are and prove it
Your digital channels are a way to attract potential customers and generate long-term relationships with existing customers. The photographs, images, texts and videos you publish must reflect the restaurant experience: from the food served all the way to the actual environment.
An excellent example for this is The Secret Donut Society that, besides captivating us with their speakeasy of delicious desserts, they are also being crowned on Instagram as the absolute kings of food porn. Meet them at @thescretdonutsociety.
2. Show off what makes you special
If your place has unique experience points (differentiators in the experience that capture the storytelling in the physical space of the restaurant) or you have a hero dish that is a favourite among your customers, use them as conversation generators.
But watch out: although special productions can be made for photos and videos, make sure that the presentations and places are the same as in the restaurant.
Overpromising or showing things that don’t match or are very different from reality can generate disappointment and negative opinions about your brand.
Niddo, Eduardo Plaschinski’s restaurant, is the perfect example of digital storytelling: each photograph is an invitation to indulge or play with its space in an unconventional way.
Check it out @_niddo.
3. Choose your channels and be relevant
Being in the customer’s mind at the right time is fundamental: all forms of communication are made to create a connection and to identify your target market.
The digital universe is huge but you don’t have to conquer everything at the same time and most importantly: you don’t have to conquer everything. Choose the channels and formats that help you achieve your goals. For example: if you need to have more control over your reservations, you should consider Open Table as one of your channels; if you need to know your customers’ opinion, maybe Foursquare, Google or Tripadvisor are better options.
If you don’t know which network to start with, we recommend you try Instagram; it’s very easy to use and has photo and video editing tools to improve the quality of your images.
4. Community management is everything
If a person takes the time to talk to you, make an effort to answer as soon as possible.
Opening channels and uploading content is not enough: take the time to answer your guests’ mentions, questions and comments. If you don’t have time to do it, it’s better to not be active in digital.
5. What is not measured cannot be improved
Set your long-term objectives and define the indicators with which you will measure them.
Listen and ask constantly: what are the contents with the best results, what is the difference between the audience of one channel versus another, on what days do you get the best results?
Have the openness to make adjustments to your initial plan and modify what is necessary to always be relevant.