Ripl Helps Small Restaurant Owners One of the Most Damaged Industries Due to the Pandemic—Recover Using Social Media
Very few industries were harder hit as a result of the pandemic than the restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association 2020 total sales were $240 billion below what the Association had originally predicted they would be. With vaccines increasing and case numbers beginning to decline, it appears the restaurant industry is getting ready to return to full capacity. One thing is certain – the restaurant landscape is very different today than it was pre-pandemic and it will be a fight to recapture customers with fewer restaurants and increased competition. Small business marketing expert, Ripl Inc., shares what some restaurants can do to reengage with customers.
In a survey conducted this year, 72% of respondents revealed their social media usage increased since the start of the pandemic. As in-person activities grinded to a halt, online methods, especially social media, became the go-to way for customers to stay connected and learn new information about their favorite businesses.
The restaurant industry, in particular, relies heavily on social media. Even before the pandemic, a 2019 survey showed 45% of customers said they found and visited a restaurant as a result of a post on social media made by the restaurant. In addition, 22% said that restaurants’ social media posts have convinced them to return.
“I have so much respect for restauranteurs. It is such a hard business to run even in the best of times. As we begin to envision a post-covid world the restaurant industry is one we at Ripl would love to help,” said Clay McDaniel, CEO of Ripl. “Social media is a powerful, incredibly cost-efficient tool that small restaurant owners can use to their advantage to create buzz and demand. These next few months will be critical times for restaurants to capture customers in a heightened competitive landscape. I would like to see small restaurants get back on their feet using social media as a primary marketing tool to tell their own story and rebuild lasting customer relationships.”
Ripl has also partnered with American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to play a role in their “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” Grant Program. As part of the grant package each restaurant will receive a free membership to Ripl for one year to help the restaurant’s marketing efforts.
For small businesses struggling to get started sharing their brand through social media, or who might need to dust off their digital doorway, Ripl is offering easy to customize templates and a few simple strategies for managing social profiles. While helpful insights, recommendations and support on various social media topics and strategies can always be found on the Ripl Blog, here are 4 key pieces of advice for any small restaurant owner to quickly implement online:
- Consider focusing on a “hero” social platform – If you feel like you’re spread too thin trying to manage all of your social channels, see if one is performing better than the others and focus your energies there. Some channels don’t make as much sense for certain types of businesses. Visual platforms like Instagram are fantastic for the restaurant industry – more so than say, Twitter which can be beneficial for sharing news and managing customer service but doesn’t easily share the visual nature of a restaurant.
- Post-Covid Customers are craving an experience – focus on that in your posts – One thing we know for certain, people are craving experiences and interaction right now. Instagram and Facebook, in particular, offer you the chance to showcase and promote how it will feel to be back in your restaurant. Share images of amazing food, crop images to show a full restaurant and smiling faces, post a video of music playing and the kitchen staff prepping food for the night. In short – bring the experience a customer would receive in your restaurant to life. It costs nothing but effort.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to know what is happening with your restaurant. – Check your information online at least once a month to make sure you’re always advertising the correct information to customers. Updating your contact information, hours and any other important information that’s listed on social media is a great way to always stay in constant communication with customers. Another easy way to stay in contact with your customers is by featuring snapshots of your menu in your posts often.
- Create social media content to get the word out about your reopening. – As you approach the reopening of your business and the various stages of Covid-19 restrictions in your area, it’s a smart idea to update your customers and followers every time you make a change.
Ripl helps small business owners make the most of their time by optimizing the quality of options and content available to users to simplify the execution of professional-grade social media. For what amounts to the cost of a take-out lunch once a month, the Ripl app provides an all-in-one social media marketing tool for small businesses.