Over the past few years, social media and CRM has been a side fare for the f&b industry. The importance of social media has been undermined for so long, which impacted the industry’s revenue generation. The f&b industry has been undergoing an internet transformation in recent years. People are uploading images and reviews in unprecedented numbers on restaurant review websites and even on food delivery applications.
According to a recent survey, almost 20 percent of individuals depend on social media to follow or find information about their favourite eatery, and 15 percent of them follow social media pages to get promotions or offers. How the attitude of the f&b industry towards social media marketing has changed drastically post-pandemic.
How pandemic brought owners close to CRM
“The pandemic and lockdown were surely an eye-opener for businesses, especially in the f&b industry, when it came to marketing and promotions. While some f&b brands decided to spend on a CRM tool with cloud analytics for better brand recall, many held back since they did not want to incur a recurring expense with no revenue. When the deliveries and takeaways normalised, more and more brands started adopting such solutions. We are looking to grow at the accepted industry standards at a CAGR of 20 percent, approximately,” Abhishek Mimani, founder of eWards commented.
The general awareness of using CRM tools has been created during this pandemic when brands were becoming technologically able to reach out to their customers. As an added measure for client acquisition, eWards is focusing more on creating a need for the products, and showing the value proposition that will help in the early adoption of our system. Apart from that, a combination of social media campaigns, inbound marketing and outbound marketing campaigns have also helped in client acquisition.
“We believe that social media and other forms of media have helped restaurants to expand their reach and promote their food, online. Although third-party aggregators also push for visibility, still, new-age restaurants always prefer to take charge of their social media game and monetise it for increasing their repeat visits and revenue. Apart from a qualitative increase in attributes like brand recall, awareness, reach and visibility, there is a differential increase in up to 35 percent of revenue, when compared to third-party aggregators,” Mimani further explained.
Moving away from traditional methods
Swarna Daga, founder of Social Neeti is also noticing a visible upward trend when it comes to the adoption of social media management post-pandemic when it comes to business owners across all industries. While unconventional methods of brand recall, awareness and a combination of viral posts and content have helped with visibility, strategic call to action to ordering platforms, website and own mobile applications has helped in increasing revenue through orders and repeat purchases.
As an agency, Social Neeti has also tried to infuse bloggers and micro-influencers to build traction for brands. This has resulted in effective reach, better visibility and more relevant customers finding and ordering from the brands. “As a result of these innovative techniques, we have also quadrupled the count of our f&b, business clients in the last one year and have collaborated with some of the top bloggers and influencers in the country while seeing a remarkable increase in clientele across other sectors as well like healthcare, real estate and FMCG.
Earlier, social media was a side fare largely for a lot of traditional brands, post-pandemic many of these brands have taken up social media seriously and are also aggressively increasing their budget spend on ads for higher direct customer acquisition. Before the pandemic and lockdown, traditional brands focused more on traditional ways of marketing, mainly ATL avenues like roadside banners, standees, TV and radio promotions, event sponsorships, etc. Post-pandemic, traditional brands have started with a robust ad strategy on social media and OTT platforms that have helped them with direct visibility.
“What makes more sense is that these traditional brands have also leveraged new-age media to get differential revenue through strategic placement of call-to-action buttons and redirections for direct customer acquisition and revenue,” Daga added.
More awareness will bring more profitability
According to Daga, moment marketing is the need of the hour, and brands are investing a lot of money to create relatable content that will give a mileage to their brand on social media platforms. Be it different memes with pop culture references or viral tweets and comments, brands have tried to use the latest trends to build hype for their offerings. The viral factor has helped a lot of brands to steal the spotlight, and that’s the reason the numbers will grow.
“The Slapgate at the Oscars’ 2022 was a major moment of viral fever in the past week, and We came up with a unique meme campaign for one of our marquee F&B clients, Zomoz, where we connected the incident with a way to showcase their product and a witty pun. This surely helped with a great reception for the brand,” Daga stated.
Sharing her client experiences, Daga expressed that during the pandemic, there were mixed feelings in the minds of the owners, since some were confused regarding the entire approach to social media marketing. They wanted to try things on their own and realise the cost and time involved in the same. Hence, there was a low count of early adopters.
“However, post-pandemic, more people are investing in social media management and we have almost tripled our total revenue against last year’s revenue for both new mandates and renewals. More and more clients are now renewing their contracts, as compared to earlier since they have witnessed the power of digital media and its uproar during the pandemic and pushing us for generating unconventional campaign ideas and blogger collaborations that will help with better visibility and brand building,” Daga informed.
Shouvik Dhar, founder of Zomoz added that social media plays a significant role for the brand since they have a limited retail presence in the nine cities. It plays a pivotal role in building customer trust and communicating brand values and ethos. “We have seen a positive uptake in sales every time we run social media marketing and influencer campaigns,” he claimed.
Now, more than ever, it will be incredibly important for restaurant stakeholders to ensure that guests feel a sense of confidence and comfort. The CRM platform with a smart collaboration of social media will take centre stage in helping to create those connections with guests on the path to recovery.