Which Social Media Platform Is Most Appropriate For Your Business?

We've all heard of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other successful social media platforms, but isn't this a bit of a minefield when you are trying to run a successful restaurant business? No restaurant owner, chef nor front of house manager goes into the hospitality industry in order to produce a great social media following. Indeed if you are a chef proprietor or a front of house manager both working long hours, social media is often the last thing on your mind. You understand it's important but perhaps it's passed you by and either you don't fully understand how to get the best out of it, or you just don't have time time to address and participate in it. There's nothing wrong with that admission. Others of course just don't want to be on social media, whilst some are confused about which social media they should be using in order to benefit the business.

Much of the answer in terms of 'which social media platform to use' is determined by your typical customer demographics and your target market. I know of social media consultants who automatically say "Oh you have to have a presence on Instagram... it's THE platform for photos and everyone is using it!" Really? So a restaurant whose average client base and target market is say 45 years of age and upwards are on Instagram? Whilst Instagram IS indeed popular there has been a recent move by the youngsters towards the newly launched, interactive video platform TikTok.

Tapas Culture v Non-Tapas Culture

Ok, I accept that to you, the reader, I may be talking double Dutch, (especially if you are local to the South Wales area) but please bear with me, hang in there and open your mind to what I'm about to discuss. 

Firstly, let's define 'exactly' what constitutes a 'tapa' and how it came about and what exactly is a 'tapas culture'.

The word 'tapa' is the Spanish word for 'cover'. A cover? Yes, a cover. Rumour has it that the King of Spain was travelling around his country, stopped at a bar for a drink and to stop flies from getting in his drink, the landlord put a piece of bread over the top of the glass, thereby creating a lid or cover. To make it more interesting other food was introduced to the top of the bread. The King thereby declared that from that point onwards, all drinks should be accompanied with a small piece of food to cover the drink...i.e. a tapa. 

The 'tapas culture' derives its name from the fact that almost all bars offer a tapa/cover with every drink. Some tapas are entirely free, others incur a charge and it's only generally local knowledge that allows customers to understand where best to go for tapas and what the 'local' rules are for that particular area. For example: in some areas of Spain you have some bars always charging for every tapa and other always offer the first tapa free with the drink. You have a second drink you get a second tapa free. You want a third tapa but no drink, then you pay for the tapa. Tapas can cost as little as 1 euro...87p.

There are many dining businesses in the market place who will only be concerned with what is happening locally, and won't be looking at the wider picture. They may not therefore be aware of the potential impact on their businesses that is just 'around the corner'. In this Trade Talk section of the magazine Taste Swansea brings you news from elsewhere that may affect your restaurant/takeaway and your livelihood.

Let's face it, we are all in love with takeaways, at some time in our lives. Some more than others. Pizzas, Chinese, Indian or any other concoction of food that has now formed an alliance with technology is flying out of the takeaways and directly into consumer's homes on a huge scale. This and the advancement of the internet, phone technology, and apps has led to a new area of takeaway ordering and for many outlets has moved the onus away from telephone to online. For many it's a really convenient way to order and of course, at first glance, there are without doubt advantages for the outlet to use online takeaway ordering services. The accuracy of the order reduces errors. Money is paid in advance of delivery, albeit the outlet doesn't actually receive their share for at least 7 days! Some eateries tell me that they wouldn't survive without them....or so they think! The fact of the matter is that many of the online takeaway ordering platforms (such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats - they are the main players in the Taste Swansea catchment area) are very detrimental to the outlets, and IT'S GOING TO GET A WHOLE LOT WORSE! For some eateries it's only after having signed up and lost their customer details to the platform and realised that they aren't making a profit (and in many cases a thumping loss) do they wake up to the reality of the cost of the service.

Why Make Your Job More Difficult?

One aspect of restaurant and cafe/pub business that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is the need for an efficient database of customers. It has also provided an opportunity for restaurateurs to kick-start that database, but most have ignored this vital opportunity which would help secure their futures.

Most restaurants, and I mean about 80%, don't really have an efficient method to collect customer contact details. Whilst some have taken to delivery/collection services they haven't geared themselves up to the opportunity before them, in so much as they are not collecting the all important customer data. "So why is customer data so critical to my  restaurant business? I can communicate with my customers via social media!"

Let's look at the facts here. Most local Swansea/West Wales based businesses have a Facebook Business Page presence. But Facebook, for as good as it is, only exists for one reason. To make money...and they want your money. Okay so let's go back to basics - this is where we were a few years ago:-

What Is A Good 'Reach' On Facebook?

When we first wrote this post in early 2015, the average Facebook reach was about 4.11% of total Page likes. Meaning for every 100 people who liked a Page, only four of them actually saw a post in their News Feed. In January 2017, the average reach was 8.92% – more than double!
Source: meetedgar.com - 8 Mar 2017

This is where we were in 2019:-

What Is The Average Reach Of A Facebook Post?

post's average organic reach is only around 6.4% of the Page's total likes. There was a marketing-world rumour that this reach only extended to an average of 2% of the page's total likes, but in actuality it's more like 6.4%.
Source: Socialmediatoday.com - 5 Feb 2019
Frankly, whether it's 2% or 6.4% it isn't good reading for restaurant businesses. Let's put this is practical terms...with a few examples:-