guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

5 Tips to Increase Customer Engagement on Social Media

Discover the top 5 tips hospitality brands can implement to increase organic reach and engagement on social media and review sites.

During the early days of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it was all about organic engagement, as ads were limited or non-existent. That is not the case anymore!

Read on to discover the 5 great tips restaurant and hospitality brands can implement to increase organic reach and engagement on social media and review sites.

Social Media Engagement Trends

Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Social Media Engagement

Social networks consolidated their leading positions by creating an environment where publishers, brands, and independent vendors need to bid on ads to get consistent returns on investment.

The truth is the general public is flooded with content. Brands need to compete with overnight influencers, public personalities, and even government authorities for the attention of the users, usually measured in likes, comments, and shares.

Engagement Rates for Scheduled Posts

All social media publishers want to get better reach and more engagement, but how to achieve that if posts are reaching fewer users in the first place? Whether you post via the scheduling tool or directly, reach has declined severely in recent years. There are ways to improve organic performance without breaking the marketing budget. Let’s break it down!

Organic Engagement for Social Media Profiles

Based on independent studies and the guidelines posted by each social media platform, we’ve narrowed down the average benchmarks for engagement that restaurant and hospitality brands should know when measuring guest sentiment and online reputation.

  • Instagram engagement rate 1.40%
  • Facebook engagement rate 0.42%
  • LinkedIn engagement rate 0.35%
  • Twitter engagement rate 0.09%

Your brand might be crushing it out there and have better results. That’s great! Start with these benchmarks and past results as references when setting targets or reporting.

Who is more likely to engage with your content?

In other words, who are the users that are being reached by your page’s posts, stories, and updates? The ones that, regularly, like, comment, or share your content on that social network will be the first ones to see your updates.

That’s why your engagement and reach are generally codependent: consistent engagement rates will mean a higher number of users reached that can generate better engagement numbers and so on.

Mastering Social Media Engagement

Practical Strategies for Restaurants and Hospitality Brands.

Restaurants and hospitality brands usually know where they fit best based on their customer experience, values, branding, and placement.

For increasing the organic engagement of restaurants and hospitality brands usually, a starting point is transposing your marketing mix for social media. Ask yourself or the team that you work with these questions.

  • What type of content is my core audience wow-ed?
  • What do they find genuinely important? And why?
  • What brands (from other industries or even your own) are doing a great job at this?

Consistency is vital when it comes to growing online.

Next, we will look into the actionable tips that you can apply right away, regardless of your restaurant’s niche or the etiquette of your hospitality brand. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for your online channels.

1. Video in all shapes and sizes

Alongside the rise of short-form video content sharing (Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram Reels), it has become even more manageable to create brand-compliant videos that drive engagement on social media without much monetary investment.

Don’t forget: you don’t necessarily need fancy production companies or filmmakers to have video content that grows your social media. Authenticity is essential, and production levels are secondary. Studies have also shown that user-generated content performs better than the more orchestrated style of posts!

Go live on video! Engaged followers will get a notification when your page goes live, so they can join in while the action happens, react, and comment in real-time. It’s a highly interactive experience.

2. Stories, more stories, everyday stories

Use stories to stay on top of your feed – they don’t take much time, and it’s a fun way to remind your followers that your brand is open, active, and joyful.

Snap a boomerang-like GIF, a collage of today’s dishes, or a small 360 pirouette around your terrace during peak hours – they’re all valuable content pieces to post in stories.

What’s great about stories: these are easy to make and these drive quick reactions. The users who engage with your stories will be the first to be part of the organic reach. Build a core audience that can help your brand drive more engagement on regular, non-story posts.

Focus on diverse content! Try to balance your stories from promotions and offers with cute, easygoing, and relatable content. One last thing on stories, don’t regard them as temporary posts. They are a different ball game, so keep your messaging and CTAs simple!

3. Grow the comments section

Comments are the gold mine of engagement. If users take the time to write something, they feel connected to that content and part of the conversation.

A buzzing comments section will weigh more than likes and shares! Invite your audience to share their opinion on the topics relevant to your brand. A conversational manner of drafting the posts is great for restaurants and hospitality brands.

If your brand is service-driven and customer-facing offline, this should translate into online communications.

Even industries that are more formal by nature (finance, government agencies, police authorities) make efforts to be perceived as trendy and relatable, so jump on the bandwagon; there’s room for everybody.

4. Maximize (organic) brand mentions

There are influencers out there (with a good number of followers even) who will mention your brand, without expecting financial compensation, just because they like your food, vibe, or service! But do remember, it’s common courtesy to amplify their posts by mentioning them in a post, or story on the comment section of your brand’s pages.

For paid partnerships, mentioning consistently your partner influencers is even more important: this boosts exposure to your brand (and theirs) to make sure your brand wins new followers and potential customers from the collaboration.

Then nurture relations with niche influencers and micro-influencers pragmatically. If your brand is doing apparel like t-shirts or hoodies, send them a few – they will likely mention your brand again once they open their present.

Besides influencers, there are also your regulars and soon-to-be regulars of your establishments. Encouraging your dedicated customer base to tag your brand on social media will help your brand open up to new customers in the same demographic. Your loyal customers can influence their friends and family to visit your locations.

5. Publish often and consistently

One post per day is not enough for restaurants and hospitality that want to drive traffic to their locations and delivery listings. It’s vital to try posting at different times of the day and see when your posts perform best.

But a word of caution. Correlation may not be causation, but industry gurus do suggest that you implement a certain consistency in your social media calendar once you notice what works for your brand.

And there you have it. These are just a few super helpful tips that any restaurant or hospitality brand can start using right away without significant investments.

Final thoughts

In the end, social media is still a highly unpredictable environment. The strategy that was working fine a few years ago is outdated.

Social media execs and digital marketers know too well that there is little progress without experimenting with different approaches. Increasing the organic engagement of restaurants and hospitality brands is a long-term effort, see what performs for you and try to perfect your strategy as you go.

Last but not least, we encourage you to track experiments and gain momentum around critical dates or events that will make a difference for your brand!

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