I’m frequently…like twice a week…asked by my online and offline posse for a review of a particular Dallas restaurant they were told to check out. My first question to them is usually…where did you hear about the place?
I quit counting after 125 of the emails, texts and Google+ Chats I have had in the past month where I have asked this question. 99% of time I was quickly told they heard about the eatery from someone in the social spaces they frequent. Only one said they saw a billboard on the Tollway.
Since most of these people..well over 85% of them…know me personally or from my frequent restaurant reviews on Google+ they come to me for my bottomline take on these places.
On the most part I have heard of the places they refer to, but not dined at them. However, frequently I have dined at many of the restaurants they ask me about. At the very least I know the part of town the restaurant is located and the issues that part of town has or not had with eateries located in that area. There are a large number of restaurants being asked about are located in some very ‘Not Awesome’ locations of Dallas making for, at no fault on the restaurant’s part, a less comfortable dining experience.
But…back to the topic on where I, and nearly everyone else, go to find information on these restaurants.
The internet has become the ‘Go-To’ place to gain enlightenment on nearly everything.
From my personal experience, I frequently use the different tools the internet offered to gain information on a particular restaurant before I decide to eat there. As part of what I do professionally for SyncLab Media and is an integral part of my Restaurant Reviews I post on Food As I See It blog, I do a comprehensive review of a restaurant’s digital footprint to gain knowledge on how serious the restaurant is with their online image.
And…from the number of questions I am asked each week I am now certain I am not alone in this level of pursuit of decision making information.
One of the advantages I have gained from being online for over 18 years is I do know where and who to go to for factual information about the restaurants. I’ll get into the dark-side of restaurant reviews in another blog someday.
How I Review Restaurants
As I mentioned in my New Year Resolution Blog, 2016 Another Year for Change, I am answering the call from my posse to start providing the world my review of the hundreds of Dallas restaurants I dine at each year. As part of what I offer in my reviews that, so far, none of the other restaurant review bloggers touch on, is I use my digital footprint review process as part of my restaurant review.
Why is it important for restaurants to have a Digital Footprint?
Like 100% of the people who go to the internet to find anything, I too use Google to search for an assortment of information. It is during this search I start my review of the restaurant’s digital footprint.
What are people looking for?
The first thing I look for online about a restaurant is exactly what over 90% of consumers are looking for..where the heck is the place?. If the restaurant has taken anytime to develop their digital footprint they should have a place created on Google Map. Google will prominently present on the search page the Google Map location for the restaurant.
The map is the foundation of a restaurant’s digital footprint. Little do most restaurants know, and most of the digital marketing agency that service restaurants will admit, that Google Map has a review platform that is associated with the locator on Google Maps. This Google review platform allows for the restaurant to build a Google Place profile. This is prominently placed in the Google+, Google’s Social Network, stream for the hundreds of millions of Google Plussers to view.
Strength of Google Map for Restaurants
Next up in the Google Search will be the Reviews made on the Google Place map. It is these reviews most restaurants..and the digital marketing agencies they hire..ignore or do not take very seriously. Those restaurants who have gained proper advise know the importance of the Google reviews and will respond to them.
The restaurants who take Google serious rate much higher in my review of their Digital Footprint.
Next up in what Google offers in the search will be the Google+ Page profile. Again, this is another part of the restaurant’s digital footprint usually ignored due to the erroneous information they have received about the ineptness of Google+ as part of their digital marketing efforts.
Those restaurants who use Google and all of their products rank much higher on the Google search and in my review of their digital footprint since being found by their consumers..and me…is very important to their business.
Stumped Toe of Digital Footprint
Of course, on the first page of the Google Search will be the restaurant’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social spaces. Having a presence in these spaces is important. However, it is the lack of interaction in these social network where most restaurants start failing their Digital Footprint review.
Facebook and Twitter on the surface are very strong social spaces. However, what nearly every restaurant assumes will take place by having a presences on these spaces is their special offers and other promotions posted in these streams will be seen by the billions both Facebook and Twitter claim they have in their user base.
What restaurants are not aware of is that only one in five of their Followers in Facebook will be offered the restaurant’s information in their stream. Since a Twitter post has a less than ten minute lifespan there is a lot of energy wasted promoting anything on Twitter.
This pushes the restaurant, or their hired community manager, to constantly bug people to Follow or Like their Facebook page and Twitter account. This constant badgering by eateries turns consumers off.
Having a consistent presence on all of the restaurant’s social network accounts will improve their chances of gaining a successful online reputation. Unfortunately, over 85% of the restaurants I review do not interact with their online social followers. As a result, I give them a low rating on their Digital Footprint.
Digital Footprint Bunion
What should restaurants do if they stomp their Digital Footprint toe?
Having inadequate online social interaction will result in ‘Digital Footprint bunions’. Once a consumer goes anywhere online and views the restaurant’s lack of seriousness to their online presence, over 80% will not consider going to the restaurant. Especially, if they have not been to the restaurant before. This negative online social image is what I refer to as creating a digital footprint bunion.
Digital Footprint Bunion Definition
non-social, unprofessional image on the internet
Cause: A digital Footprint bunion is caused by relying too heavily on one, or the wrong, online social network for marketing. As a result, the general public, or consumers, will not take their social media serious.
Cure: Rebranding of the business’ online presence is the only cure.
Prevent Measure: To prevent developing a digital footprint bunion obtain digital marketing consulting from a digital marketing agency that is experience in business and digital marketing.
Every restaurant is going to have to have an impeccable digital presence to make their time and effort bring more customers to their location. Everything from direct mail, email marketing, events, and promotions of the restaurant needs needs to be anchored to All of their social spaces.
The convenience of mobile devices makes it easy for a consumer to search the internet for a restaurant they just drove pass to see what people are saying about it or what their digital footprint looks like.
The restaurant only has a few seconds to win that mobile savvy consumer over.
Having videos that quickly deliver the restaurant’s message to consumers is what I have found wins the most consumers attention.
I take my reviews of Restaurants seriously and do my best to report factually on what I experienced while dining at the restaurant. I also take seriously my review of their online presence and rank their digital footprint accordingly. Hopefully, the information I offer helps the consumer and the restaurant owners know what they have to offer.
From what I have been able to determine, if your restaurant does not have a digital footprint it would be considered by today’s consumers to not exist.
If you are interested in getting your restaurant’s digital footprint reviewed, stop by our studio, or send us an email at info@SyncLabMedia to set up your digital strategy session. Let us help you keep from developing a Digital Footprint Bunion.
And of course…
Let me know how I can help.