video content
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Video content is fast becoming the ‘must-have’ for successful digital marketing campaigns. Luckily, there are some simple ways for restaurant owners to start the camera rolling. By Shane Conroy

Online video has been spruiked as the hot new marketing trend for the past few years but 2018 could be the year it goes mainstream in the hospitality industry. With more than one billion hours of video watched on YouTube every day, online video is expected to account for more than 80 per cent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.

So, if you expect to keep driving traffic to your website in the years to come, you’re going to need to use video content to do it. And many savvy restaurant owners are catching on.

That’s because video marketing is the logical next step for restaurant owners who are becoming increasingly tech savvy in their quest to keep their dining rooms full.

“Most restaurants are now using social media quite well, and some are regularly sending out email newsletters. Video lets them take that to another level,” says Mark Brown, chief content strategist of Engage Content. “Restaurants are in a creative, visual industry which works well for video, and the MasterChef culture means that Australian restaurant visitors are foodies themselves and want the insight into your venue that video can provide.”

Moreover, adds Brown, new affordable technology has lowered the investment level required to dip your toe into the wide world of video marketing.

“Most smart phones do have a pretty good camera on them these days, so the barrier to entry is low in that you don’t have to spend $200,000 on professional cameras and lighting gear to get started.”

Express your ‘wow’ moment

Including video content on your website can help you climb up Google’s search engine rankings, continues Brown, but it’s important “to make sure that when you upload a video to YouTube, you include any geographic and other keywords in the meta description of the video and the video title, as well as the page title that you might host it on”.

But using video to attract more traffic to your website is only the starting point. Video snippets can also be used as a design tool to increase engagement with your visitors once they’ve arrived on your website, says Renae Smith, director of PR and marketing agency, The Atticism.

“Video is about expressing the ‘wow’ moment of the restaurant,” she says. “There is so much video content out there that people are becoming desensitised to still images. So instead of opening your website with a static image on your homepage, you can use video to express that ‘wow’ moment straight away.

“And if you can make the person watching it feel something—whether that’s awe, excitement or desire—within three seconds, studies show they are six times more likely to engage with your brand.”

“Most restaurants are now using social media quite well, and some are regularly sending out email newsletters. Video lets them take that to another level.” Mark Brown, chief content strategist, Engage Content

From a psychological perspective, Smith believes that if you can pre-program your customer with video content on your website, they’ll be more likely to have a positive experience when they come to your restaurant.

Winning the social media war

The good news is that video content can be deftly used to make a splash on social media platforms too.

Smith says that Facebook algorithms have been designed to reward video content, and you can use video to capture attention on your Facebook page. “It’s about adding movement to the page that will catch the customer’s eye. For example, you can now use a video snippet as your Facebook cover image and as your profile photo.

“Video adds movement that will help you win the battle for eye flicker and stand out against ads and other interesting things popping up in the newsfeed that are competing for your customers’ attention.”

Veronica Fil, head of marketing at Mr Harry’s Marketing Department in Melbourne, suggests taking it one step further by streaming video live on social media platforms such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live.

“Restaurants can announce on their Facebook pages that they will be live streaming on a certain night and give followers the opportunity to send in their questions. Simply put the questions to your chef and other team members, and live stream it to Facebook Live straight from your iPhone like a chat show.”

Add a call to action

While both Fil and Brown encourage restaurant owners to take a DIY approach to video marketing, they are quick to point out the importance of an underlying strategy.

“Have a think about what it is you’re trying to do with each video piece,” advises Brown.

“If you’re promoting a special event for Valentine’s Day, for example, think about who your target audience is and have a plan in place before you start shooting.”

Brown adds that restaurant owners should also never forget to stamp their video content with an effective call to action. “If you’re uploading your video to YouTube, you can embed a ‘click here’ link in the video that will take the customer straight to a booking form on your website.

“It’s so difficult to get people engaged online, so if you get someone to watch your video you’re already winning,” agrees Fil. “But if you fail to end with a good call to action, then you’re just throwing all this attention down the drain.

“In marketing, we always say you have to surprise and delight your customers. You’ve got to keep giving them new experiences because there are a lot of other good restaurants they can go to instead.”

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