10 Tips for Using Reviews to Boost Your Restaurant’s Online Following
You can do all the marketing in the world. You can entice people with the best offers. And you can work hard to close the sale.
Just as important, though, is using your strong, positive online reviews to leverage trust and loyalty in your restaurant. Your happy, satisfied customers are your brand ambassadors and pivotal to your marketing strategy.
But once you have great reviews, what do you do with them? Let’s look at 10 tips for using reviews to boost your restaurant’s online following.
#1: Regularly Share Reviews on Social Media
One of the best ways to leverage reviews to boost your online following is to post them regularly on your social media accounts. (tweet this)
For example, you get a terrific Google review. Go to Canva and search for review or testimonial templates. Then, add your text and logo. If the reviewer has a profile image, add this to your Canva image.
Once you’ve created your image, upload it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
You can also direct people to your website to see more of your Google reviews.
Regularly sharing reviews on social media is a good practice, as your followers love to see social proof that your restaurant is worth visiting.
#2: Engage with Your Customers
Engagement is vital in the digital arena. So, you want to respond to all of your positive and negative reviews.
Best practices suggest you respond to every review on every review platform within 24 hours. If the review is positive, thank the reviewer, repeat some of the things they said, and thank them again. Each one of your responses should be unique. You don’t ever want to use a boilerplate “thank you” for positive reviews.
Regarding any negative reviews for your restaurant, first, talk to your team and see if they know what the review is about.
Then, craft a careful response. Your response is important for people viewing it, as well as the reviewer.
Your response should be kind and empathetic. Again, reiterate what they said. You might end by offering them a compassionate solution.
#3: Offer Unique Deals
Another way you can use reviews to your advantage is by offering your customers unique deals once they finish their review of your restaurant.
This may be an incentive to help complete their review.
#4: Use Reviews in Your Website Content
You already know that the more reviews you have, the better. They may live on places like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other sites.
But once you have this great inventory of positive reviews, what are you doing with them? Are they on your website?
Consider adding a page to your restaurant website for the sole purpose of highlighting your reviews.
This is a great way to add additional social proof to your website to help convert website visitors into diners. Here are some pages you might consider adding your reviews:
- Your home page
- A dedicated review page
- Your about us page
- On your contact page
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#5: Embed Reviews with Your Menu Items
Your next step to including reviews on your restaurant website is to head to each of your individual menu items.
The best thing you can do here is look for reviews that mention specific menu items. Then, add those reviews to your menu item pages.
For example, if a particular customer loved your sausage pizza, add that review to that menu page.
#6: Use Reviews to Promote New Menu Items
Are you adding new menu items to your restaurant? Have you thought about how you’re going to convince people to try them instead of their regular favorites?
One suggestion is to offer free samples to people when they visit your restaurant. Ask them if they’ll either leave you an online review or if they’ll let you video them for a few seconds.
This way, you can use both the online review and even the video review on the product pages for your new menu items, as well as on your social media platforms and in your email marketing.
These reviews can really help boost your menu items.
#7: Place Reviews in Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways you can reach current and potential restaurant customers.
These folks have invited you into their inboxes. They are looking for specials, news about events, and helpful content.
So, this is the perfect opportunity to highlight several of your reviews to boost your restaurant’s online following. You give your restaurant and your food more credibility while showing people your food is worth eating because others love it.
Along with the reviews in your email, you can even add links so people can add their own reviews.
#8: Use Reviews to Improve SEO
Your online reviews can improve your SEO (search engine marketing) on your website. How?
Comb through your reviews and look at the keywords people use. Consider how people are describing your dishes in their reviews.
By doing this, you can see terms people may use to search for items your restaurant sells.
So, track the common and even the unusual keywords customers use in reviews, and use some of them on your website to improve your SEO.
#9: Feature Reviews in Search Ads
Another way to boost your online following is to use snippets of reviews or even whole reviews in your pay-per-click advertising.
You can attract more visitors to your website this way and enhance your brand recognition.
A review in a search ad may even help people choose to dine with you.
#10: Create Videos With Your Reviews
Video is king right now, so grab your phone and start asking customers for video reviews.
You can share these on your website, social media platforms, search ads, and email marketing.
Take it one step further and create a review reel that includes several different reviews. You might even include this longer-length video right on your homepage.
According to one source, nearly 95% of diners research a restaurant’s reviews online before deciding to eat there. That’s nearly every person who walks in your doors or orders takeout from you.
So, there are several takeaways here:
- You need a strategy to get reviews.
- You want to respond to every review – the good and the bad. Respond to the negative ones with kindness and empathy.
- Creating a marketing strategy to use your reviews to boost your restaurant’s online following is vital.
There are so many ways you can use online reviews in your digital marketing and to boost your restaurant sales. Review management is the first step; marketing those reviews is your second step.
It’s time to get busy increasing your online reviews and using them wisely to promote your restaurant.
At Restaurant Engine, we can create a restaurant website for you that highlights your reviews. Your website is pivotal to your success, and all your marketing leads to and from your website. You can count on us to create a website that presents a unified brand, highlighting your reviews, that works across all digital platforms. Let us help you make the perfect site that draws customers in, improves customer engagement and your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business!
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