You only need five minutes on social media to recognise the mania of photographing food and social experiences. From the millennial’s smashed avocado on rye to their grandmother’s unscathed traditional Sunday roast or Larry’s birthday meal out last night, it’s all out there so whatever your niche, there’s a marketing opportunity for you in this obsession.
Creating visual records of memories is not a fad. This has been happening since long before the advent of social media. How many of us have boxes of photo albums stored away from the days before the digital camera? And before the traditional camera, people would pose for hours for a portrait painting to obtain a visual record. Luckily, we’ve moved on since then but as technology advances, it’s in the best interest of businesses to adapt accordingly and this now means facilitating the desires of customers to have their every experience photographed.
Homes are filled with photos of memories with family and friends; laptops and phones are filled with even more. Sentimental photos are invaluable so an offer to create more will unlikely be met with rejection. People love to photograph their achievements and restaurants are frequently used as a place for celebrating: birthdays, new jobs, new homes, graduations, anniversaries and of course, they are often the location of marriage proposals! It’s inevitable that we’ve at least witnessed families, couples or friends having photos taken in restaurants, pubs and cafés. Some people will ask the server to take their snaps, some will just stick their arm out to produce a badly angled shot displaying 50% arm but you could improve their experience by taking it for them. Why not go the extra mile and be the one to suggest a picture in the first place, what’s the worst that could happen? Some customers worry they will inconvenience the server by asking, we say a business should rid them of this worry by embracing the opportunity for free advertisement! The likelihood is that they’re going to share the picture on social media and put your name out there so you’re sure to reap the rewards.
Have you ever just happened to come across a picture of a meal and then, as a result, felt an urge to have that meal yourself? Photos create cravings! There are apps designed specifically for sharing photos: Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest to name a few so couldn’t be more important to be involved. Consumers are turning to Instagram more and more often to help them decide where to eat because when it comes to food, a picture can be an even better indicator of the quality than a description can. Consumers trust the voice of other customers more than anybody else and they are able to make a decision quickly just by viewing images.
According to Instagram, 23% of restaurant-goers on mobile take a photo purely to remember the experience and 15% share that experience on their social channels. Imagine the potential! Social media users are heavily influenced by other social media users which means for you that it is now more likely than ever than a shared photo relating to your business will attract more business. As well as the exposure, this is an opportunity to build rapport with your customers which will encourage them to return. The pictures of them having a good time will demonstrate the positive atmosphere as well as the quality of the food to prospective customers, therefore giving you ultimate control over how the business is portrayed.
You could even tempt your customers with the offer of a free drink in exchange for posting a photo. If I can vouch for everyone, customers will do anything (within reason) for a freebie!