When it comes to prioritizing online engagement, many businesses feel as if they are being pulled in multiple directions without any sense of strategic guidance. Even when a business organization has implemented proper online review monitoring tools and has moved to the next level of reputation management, there are still questions left in the open when it comes to knowing which review site will give you the best bang for your buck.
Strategic prioritization is particularly important in large urban markets where the competition for wallet share is fierce and essential for the restaurant segment, and where the battle to secure new customers and maintain the loyalty of old ones is especially tough.
New York has the largest number of restaurants for any city in the United States. With almost 50,000 food venues, and more opening their doors every single day, knowing how to best use online engagement as a tool for customer acquisition is no small thing. This great city is also the one receiving the largest number of out-of-town visitors every year. With over 57 million visitors in 2012, capturing transient restaurant traffic can mean the difference between failure and success for a food-and-beverage outlet.
Out-of-Towners Have Higher Online Engagement
As of 2013, 90 percent of consumers resorted to reviews to help them make a purchasing decision, and 79 percent trusted the content presented via reviews. For travelers, accessing and reading reviews took place over 90 percent of the time, in association with a food or lodging decision at their destination. Also: did you know that 85 percent of hungry mobile users searching for food go on to complete a purchase?
As the culture shifts from doing pre-trip research to on-the-spot research due to increased mobile connectivity, potential out-of-town guests are more inclined to do research from their phones, maximizing proximity-based research. For New York, this means that almost 60 million hungry people are likely to be researching their dining options just minutes prior to selecting a venue.
Locals’ Interactive Engagement Is on the Rise
At a local level, we are experiencing a similar trend. More and more local consumers depend on location-based apps to provide them recommendations, suggestions, and deals in close proximity to their real-time location. In the case of New York City, restaurant patrons consume 58 percent of their meals outside the home. This is about 20 percent higher than the national average. Finding just the right tools to engage effectively and point diners your way is essential to the success of any dining venue.
A study in 2013 indicated that, while more consumers are likely to consult reviews, the number of reviews they are willing to read has decreased significantly. In short, people want to be able to make quick, educated decisions by reviewing concise feedback. With 95 percent of users depending on their phones for local search, finding the ideal tools for mobile engagement is no longer optional. This trend makes Foursquare a great candidate for lead generation.
Foursquare is growing significantly faster than Yelp, and it serves its users bite-sized information in the form of short tips that are easy to read when on the move. Brevity is also useful for the sake of clarity when the audience is not necessarily a native English speaker. These features, in combination with an aggressive strategy that allows your restaurant to feature local promos, make Foursquare a highly desirable review site for restaurants in New York City and other large urban markets that are best served by a high-quality mobile experience.
How to Make Foursquare Work for You
With over 93 percent of brick and mortar businesses already listed in Foursquare, the very first step to maximize this review site is to take control of your Foursquare profile. Once you have unlocked your profile, spend time studying what customers are saying about you. Use the tips provided by your customers to perfect your services and products and to create promos and offers that are best suited to the type of customer already engaging with your business. Create an environment that encourages check-ins, and post promos designed to bring people in the doors when your business needs them the most.
Because many international travelers may not have roaming coverage, you may want to make sure your venue has superior Wi-Fi. By providing free Internet access, you significantly increase the chances of engagement.
Engaging with Foursquare is a great tool for restaurateurs in dense urban areas and one that is proven to generate leads. Having said that, a smart reputation manager is one that has all his or her bases covered and implements a holistic strategy that seeks to capture as many leads as possible from the most popular review sites. Monitoring and boosting your online reputation is within reach, even for the smallest of venues. Make it a point to begin learning the best practices in the industry, and watch your business grow in no time at all!