In this digital age, user-generated content (UGC) like positive reviews and social media images can be an absolute godsend for hospitality marketers.
No matter if you’re just opening your venue or you’re a hospitality veteran, marketing can be incredibly labour intensive. You have enough to worry about already and user-generated content can be a great solution.
Here we discuss why user-generated content is so effective and how to make the best possible use of it for your hospitality venue.
The Benefits of User-Generated Content
Which option is more likely to get you to dine at a restaurant:
- The restaurant’s social media account saying how great their food and beverage is; or
- an influencer you follow on Instagram raving about their experience?
Chances are it’s the latter. Most of us inherently trust individuals more than a brand we’ve never heard of before. In fact, studies have shown that up to 92% trust user-generated content more than traditional advertising.
Not only is user generated content more trustworthy, studies have proven that it’s more memorable, lingering longer in the mind of potential diners. And oftentimes it’s absolutely free!
User reviews are an incredibly potent form of user-generated content too, which can significantly make or break your restaurant’s reputation. The Guardian reports that an extra half a star caused a restaurant’s 7pm bookings to spike from 30% to 49%. That’s quite an increase.
How to Maximise User Content for Your Hospitality Venue
Generate as much user content as possible
A good first step to an effective user-generated content strategy is to ask your customer base to share their experiences. For example, when customers go to pay the bill, hand them a business card asking for a review or social share. Providing an incentive will aid this immensely.
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Host a competition
Social media competitions can really aid your social media strategy. They are particularly effective for getting a social profile up-and-running because they can accelerate your number of followers.
Try to make your competition image-based, so that you get the added benefit of entrants providing you with a huge library to use on your social media channels in future.
Another crucial step is to continuously monitor relevant hashtags. If you own a Spanish restaurant called El Toro, you’ll want to check the exact hashtag (#ElToro) as well as things like #spanishfood , #Spanishfoodmelbourne #tapasmelbourne etc.
Also consider creating a unique hashtag around your restaurant. #ElToro will be full of random pictures of bulls and other shops and venues with the same name so do some research and find a hashtag that no one else is using, such as #ElToroMelb or #ElToroTapas.
Engage with customers
Having your venue out there on social media and third party review sites is fantastic. But we recommend leveraging these user reviews, image and video assets to your advantage even more.
Do this by reaching out to users who have written nice things about you or taken lovely pictures. Tell them how much you appreciate the mention and ask if it’s ok to put their quote on your site or re-share their image sometime. Not only will this give you plenty of user-generated content but it’ll make the user feel special.
Go the extra mile
If you really want to own the social media landscape, embrace it into the very landscape of your restaurant. One way to do this is to invest in a ‘Wall of Fame’ type screen that cycles through feeds of the latest user-generated content – tweets, tagged Instagram images and the like – for your customers to read and get involved in.