Why ORM Matters for Restaurants
4 Min Read By Acielle Gucela
In the digital age, online reputation management is critical for business success. Many depend on social media reviews and posts about a particular restaurant before deciding whether they will dine there or not.
Nearly half of your market depends on social media comments for their restaurant reviews. A survey conducted by MGH Advertising found that 45 percent of American diners said they tried a restaurant for the first time precisely because of a positive post on social media, while another 21 percent said they actively avoided a restaurant because of a negative post.
This creates the necessity for restaurant reputation management strategies to amplify positive reputation while downplaying negative criticism.
What ORM Does For Your Business
Online reputation management (ORM) is crucial for any restaurant that wants to keep a steady stream of customers coming in. The internet is vast, and you must be on top of any mention of your brand.
- ORM gives you direct access to customer feedback.
Customers are more likely to give honest reviews to third-party sites than your own site or customer survey forms. If you want to know how the new dish really tasted, or how the public perceives your restaurant’s rebranding, check independent review sites.
- ORM helps you gain customer trust.
When your brand receives more positive versus negative reviews, customers are more likely to flock to your restaurant than to the competition. Even if there are negative reviews, they will trust your restaurant’s integrity even more if they see you address these reviews in a positive manner.
- ORM increases your website’s authority.
Responding to online comments and reviews is a great way to build backlinks to your site – a primary ranking factor for search engines. When your website has tons of quality backlinks, its SEO strategy gets a boost, and your pages start showing up on the first page of search results.
How to Run a Successful ORM Strategy
Don’t delay managing your online reputation until a negative review goes viral. Even a few bad reviews can impact a store’s revenues. Being proactive is crucial to control how the public perceives your brand online. Here’s how you can hit the ground running.
Analyze The Data
When managing an online presence, data is your best friend. Big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools track your brand mentions across the web and reveal where your customers hang out. You can use this information to focus your online marketing efforts on the most efficient channels. You can also match these mentions with data from a cloud based POS to gauge a product’s popularity and forecast its growth.
The first step in every ORM strategy is to conduct a brand audit. What do you see when you search for your restaurant name on Google? If you’re using social media listening tools, what does a search for your brand name generate?
Ideally, you should own the first page results of any branded search on Google. When you type in your restaurant name, the first page results should point to platforms you control, such as your website and social media profiles.
If that’s not the case, invest in SEO strategies that build your brand authority on the web.
Some examples could be:
- Publishing high-quality content revolving around your concept,
- Running a consistent PR strategy where your restaurant is frequently mentioned in food reviews and lists,
- Forming strong relationships with online influencers who can regularly post organic content about your brand.
Claim Your Online Profiles
Go beyond your social media profiles and search for your brand on third-party review websites like Yelp, Google Business Profile, TripAdvisor, and others. Your customers are already actively using these platforms and talking about your brand; you just need to join the conversation.
Write an engaging description that conveys your brand’s personality and gives readers a sense of what to expect when dining. Make sure that your contact information and business hours are updated regularly. Upload the most recent menu and provide other details to help customers solidify their decision to visit your restaurant.
Claiming your online listings allows you to control your brand’s presentation on these sites.
Pay Attention to Your Reviews and Respond (Properly)
Take the time to read through your reviews on all online platforms. Thank customers for leaving positive feedback, and don’t ignore negative feedback.
Ask the ones who leave negative reviews how you can improve their experience. If they leave detailed negative feedback, thank them for their candidness and offer to make it up to them. Going above and beyond what’s expected will regain their trust and create a positive image for your store.
Don’t use generic words that are cut and pasted when responding to reviews. Craft personalized messages that address what was mentioned by the customer. Always be polite and welcoming. Responding professionally to all your reviews shows potential customers that you’re trustworthy and worth their visit.
Optimize All Digital Assets
Your brand presentation should be consistent across all online platforms. This includes using the same logo, colors, and font on all digital assets and conveying the same information across different digital channels. Be careful of any inconsistencies and watch out for outdated information.
To gain the upper hand on search results, you should also implement technical SEO practices, such as optimizing website images, adding metadata, and taking advantage of applicable schema markups.
Building a positive online presence is a long game that, when done correctly, results in positive ROI.
Jump on the Appropriate Social Media Trends
Being active on social media humanizes your brand and endears it to your customers. Regularly publishing content online allows you to control your brand narrative and perception. Negative reviews are pushed down as you highlight positive testimonials and share uplifting content.
Jumping on social media trends that are appropriate for your brand also gives free publicity and increases brand relevance. To do this, you should hire a dedicated social media manager responsible for creating your social image and monitoring trends.
In an age where competition is fierce, you need all the help you can get to bring customers through the door. An online reputation management strategy should be top-of-mind if you want your business to stay ahead of the competition. Don’t wait for an online crisis before investing in an ORM strategy. It takes time to build a positive reputation, so you should start working on your online presence today.
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