No items found.

Using UGC to Boost Your Restaurant's Online Image | Superorder

Written by
March 20, 2024

How to Use User-Generated Content for Your Restaurant’s Online Image

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in the modern restaurant marketing game! While you might have a hefty budget for creating traditional marketing content for campaigns, UGC offers a more authentic alternative. More business owners are starting to leverage their customers' photos, comments and videos in their marketing efforts, and restaurant owners are no different.

Generated content offers a more personal and genuine touch, tapping into real customer experiences to show the world what you have to offer! In this guide, you'll learn more about the benefits of using great user-generated content and how to use it to improve your restaurant's online image.

Why is it Important?

Improving your online image is all about boosting visibility and brand awareness. The Internet makes it easy for restaurant brands, big and small, to connect with customers and engage in more ways than ever before. But there's tons of competition in today's restaurant industry, and you need ways to set your brand apart.

User-generated content can be one of your most powerful marketing tools and is more important than you might realize. Here's why.

Building Trust and Credibility

Powerful user-generated content is like an official stamp of approval from a happy customer. When someone has a great experience, they often leave behind positive reviews, stunning photos of your food and more. All that content only builds your credibility and boosts your reputation.

Success in the food industry requires you to build trust. People want to know that they're paying for top-quality experiences. Flashy marketing photos provide a decent representation of what you offer. But you know what's even better? Photos and generated content that customers actually get!

User content assures potential customers that what you advertise is what they'll get. It builds trust and gives credence to your restaurant business.

Enhancing Authenticity

Think about how many traditional ads you see browsing social media or surfing the web. People get so inundated with traditional retail and restaurant marketing that most just gloss over them. No one wants to feel advertised to.

User-generated content is one of the most authentic forms of restaurant marketing available. It cuts through the fluff that people normally see, allowing them to get more insight into what your restaurant, its ambiance and its food are really about. Instead of perfectly curated images and videos, they see the real deal from genuine customers.

That authenticity makes a big difference. It resonates better and can convince people to become new customers.

Influence on Customer Decision-Making

A steady flow of user-generated content can also impact purchase decisions. Social influencers and retailers frequently use UGC as a clever marketing tactic for specific products. When potential customers continually post content about a particular dish, it raises considerable interest.

People will want to experience what people are raving about. It drives up demand and can encourage people to try your menu! Leveraging UGC is one of the best ways to spread the word about a specific menu item while showing others what's waiting for them if they try your restaurant.

The Different Types

User-generated content refers to anything not produced by your company. For example, you might pay for professional photography, expertly written copy and flashy videos that you can splash onto your social media and traditional advertisements. UGC is what comes from actual customers.

Generated content can take a few different forms.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Written content can have a huge impact on restaurant marketing. User reviews and testimonials are essential to your success because people often turn to the Internet to see what others think of an establishment before eating there.

Studies suggest that over 60 percent of diners check out review sites, social media platforms and more to see genuine reviews from paying customers. The feedback they find can influence their decisions.

Using the best reviews in your marketing efforts can boost your reputation and show potential customers what they're missing out on!

Social Media Mentions and Tags

Tags and mentions on social media platforms are another form of user-generated content with a bigger impact than most realize. Social media is powerful. People use it to connect with others, learn about trends and more. By mentioning your restaurant in social media posts, users can become influencers without realizing it.

Whether on X (Twitter), Instagram or Facebook, conversations about your brand matter. They improve brand visibility, boost your online reputation and give people an authentic perspective of your restaurant.

User-Submitted Photos and Videos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that sentiment couldn't be truer than it is in the restaurant industry. User-submitted photos and videos are among the most powerful tools you can use. Happy customers can submit visual content on review sites, social channels and more.

No matter where they appear, photos and videos are like social proof of your restaurant's quality. They provide credibility and can have a much bigger impact than the glossy marketing photos you pay for!

How to Showcase User-Generated Content on Your Platforms

As your restaurant's online presence grows, user-generated content will become plentiful. The best part is that it comes organically. When you see something you like, you can reach out to the creator and start using it to your advantage.

Here are several ways to showcase UGC on your restaurant website and other online platforms.

Integrating UGC on The Website

Publishing great user-generated content on your website can give visitors all the social proof they need to become new guests. Consider placing a few of the best reviews you receive throughout your site. You can have a dedicated page for testimonials or use them sporadically throughout your web design.

Another idea is to publish photos and videos that customers submit. You can reach out to creators, offer free meals or payment in exchange for the rights of the content and use them to supplement the professional photos you take.

Curating Content For Social Media

Another great way to leverage UGC is to curate content on your social channels. The best part of this approach is that you can easily repost what others submit to social media platforms. You don't have to pay to use it; it is free marketing!

Curated content on your social media accounts encourages others to submit media of their own experiences. It's also a fantastic way to engage with your customers while meeting them where they are. Curated content can reach the masses and become an integral part of your online image and branding if you have a generous following.

Leveraging UGC in Marketing Campaigns

Want to save on professional content creation? Consider contacting content creators and leveraging their submissions for your marketing campaigns. You can pay creators for the copyright and use it like any other photo you pay for!

However, the difference is that generated content is more authentic. Partner with influencers and create a campaign about the real dining experience at your restaurant. Genuine customer experiences and user-generated content are a match made in heaven, and new campaigns revolving around them can resonate with people more than traditional advertisements.

Tools for Tracking Mentions and Reviews

So, how do you find user-generated content? Most of it will come from your social channels, and you can encourage followers to submit content as a form of engagement.

However, not everyone will tag your restaurant directly. To find the best content, you can use social monitoring tools. These tools scour the web, searching through multiple review sites and social media platforms to find any mention of your business. You can even set them to alert you to mentions of your competitors or specific keywords.

Tracking reviews and managing your online reputation are important. Not only will they help you get ahead of negative reviews and less-than-ideal discussions, but you can also use tools to identify great content and user submissions.

Responding to UGC – Both Positive and Negative

One of the most important things to remember when leveraging user-generated content is that it's a form of engagement. Engaging with customers is a two-way street, so don't leave people hanging.

Make a habit of responding to content and feedback. Show your appreciation and interact with your customers at every opportunity. Doing so can improve your online reputation and show people that you care about what customers think.

Not everything you see will be positive. That's OK. Bad reviews happen.

However, you still need to respond. When responding to negativity, empathize with customer experiences and do what you can to make things right.

Encouraging Ongoing Engagement

The Internet makes it easier than ever to increase customer engagement. Old-school barriers that prevented businesses from communicating openly with customers no longer exist. Today, it's as easy as creating a social media post.

Take full advantage of the tools available to you. Encourage open engagement by participating in discussions, responding to user-generated content and being active online. Engaging with customers will only inspire people to do the same.

Whether you're interacting with known influencers, respected bloggers or everyday customers taking selfies at your restaurant, you want to create online environments that are inviting and open. When you do that, you can get a steady stream of user-generated content while continually learning about what people think of your restaurant.

Balancing Curated and Organic Content

It's always great to receive high-quality photos, reviews and user-submitted content. But let's face it: Not everything you see will be something you want to share with your customer base. That's why it's important to curate content.

That said, there's a fine balance between leaning on curated content and showcasing organic content.

Focusing solely on curated content can have the opposite effect of what you want. Remember: It's all about authenticity. When you only showcase curated content, people might think there's bias involved. They may think you're only showing the world positive reviews. Suddenly, you're back at square one when it comes to credibility.

Organic content helps to create that much-needed balance. Don't be afraid to acknowledge negative reviews. Respond to as much user-generated content as you can. Show empathy, address concerns and be fair. Striking the right balance eliminates suspicions of bias and helps provide more credibility to your business.

It's OK to make the best reviews and beautiful photos more visible. But you should never ignore negative reviews. Find the balance to maintain authenticity.

Get Started With Superorder Today

User-generated content can help you develop and cement a killer online image. These days, restaurants need to be active online. That requires more than just publishing a great restaurant website and having a few social media accounts.

Be active, engage with your audience and showcase fantastic UGC! Doing so will give you tons of credibility while showcasing everything your restaurant offers.

Check out Superorder today to transform how your business manages UGC, such as reviews. With Superorder, you can respond to customer feedback, gain more insight into what patrons think and apply that information to grow your business. Superorder is an all-in-one platform built for efficient restaurant management and growth. See what Superorder is all about today and take your first strides toward leveraging user-generated content for your success!

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing
Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Get Started