Small business owners can definitely make use of social media to get their products out there. Singaporeans are smartphone-savvy people as revealed by the Google’s 2014 Consumer Barometer report wherein Singapore tops the world ranking of smartphone engagement and usage at 85 percent, followed by Korea at 80 percent.
By engaging your customers online, you optimize and monetize their time in social media. One way to reach your customers online is to make your brand present in food review sites.
Review sites are generated by users, a social platform that gives them a stronger voice where their opinions matter and influence the vast majority of users. This kind of active participation can lead to a robust and organic online advertisement that can grow even when you sleep.
Here are some tips on how to grow your food business in Singapore using review sites.
Claim your online business profile and make it official.
These days, it’s easy to create fake profiles of people, even companies and brands. After setting up your business in Singapore, one of the easiest and most urgent thing you can do is go online and create official social media accounts for your brand. This way, you can avoid dealing with future nuances such as fake profiles which can make or break your brand. If fake profiles so pop up in the future, you have the added advantage of being first when it comes to online presence.
Superficial and exaggerated information could spell social media suicide for your brand. Make sure you provide accurate information about your business and your products online.
Sign up with local food apps.
Having official social media accounts is not enough. With a variety of restaurants in Singapore, most people usually go online to check out restaurant reviews or friends’ recommendations before visiting a branch.
In Singapore, here are five restaurant apps and websites that you can tap into for free.
In 2012, the American company Yelp chose Singapore as its first landing pad in Asia. This unique community review site gives business online tools that allow them to create unique offers and even respond to customer reviews.
In a 2013 survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group revealed that Yelp helped small businesses earn an average of $8,000 annually by claiming the site’s free business owner’s account.
To date, HungryGoWhere is one of the leading food and lifestyle site and app in Singapore with over two million users. In October 2013, the HungryGoWhere app had 100,000 active users per month as well as a recorded 600,000 downloads. One key feature involves its online reservation system that allows customers to make a reservation through the app, without the required call-in request.
Think of the potential number of online reservations you can generate through HungryGoWhere. If your food business is not ready for the digital users, they will most probably go elsewhere.
The online dining guide originated in Hong Kong and has spread operations all over Asia. With tight competition, OpenRice’s secret sauce is a combination of user-generated content and an editorial staff who covers food reviews.
In an interview with e27, OpenRice Singapore’s Country Manager Kenett Wong shared, “Singaporeans are all about food. They (users) try the food, want to talk about it, share the dining experiences and leave reviews with us.”
One of the most popular food websites in Singapore, SoShiok is more of a website that features trending food news. The site has a restaurant directory with basic information, however, instead of user-generated reviews, SoShiok’s critics do the reviews. The SoShiok mobile app was relaunched in 2014 and within the first four days of its release, the site already documented 21,000 downloads.
In order to help locals, expats and tourists navigate Singapore’s booming café scene and culture, mobile apps like CafeSG offer a comprehensive map of cafes in Singapore. Users can simply type in the name of their preferred café and the app will show you a map on how to get there. Basic café information are also listed in the app. If you’re planning to open a new café in Singapore, you’ll definitely want to be on their list.
Post content online, regularly.
When it comes to social media, posting just for the sake of posting doesn’t really work anymore. Just because you posted a photo of your restaurant’s interior or new product on Facebook doesn’t guarantee likes and shares. Small business owners with social media accounts need to understand the importance of posting unique content, regularly.
This is where a social media content calendar will come in handy, where you can map out the dates and specific times for posting smart and ‘share-worthy’ content on social media. Too much? Just set a date and time for posting on social media and stick with it. In the long run, your followers and regular customers will recall that your brand always posts on a specific time with a specific promo or a specific marketing scheme that they wouldn’t want to miss.
And make sure you cover the basics. Post the same content on all official business profiles in review sites so users can leave a comment, review about your newest promotion and share them with friends.
Make your photos do the talking.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that taking photos of your food before eating it may improve how it tastes. This kind of pre-meal ritual makes the person mindful of what he is consumer, which in turn, affect the food’s taste.
But before you can get consumers to take photos of your food, reel them in first with your own good quality product photos. Online food reviews and users are notorious in criticizing food photos uploaded online. Soon enough, they will take their own photos and write reviews to accompany them.
Value customer feedback by responding to reviews and complaints.
One key point to remember: If you find a negative review on your business’ online profile, never delete them. If you do, the online community will attack your business and can lead to your brand’s destruction of online integrity. Be respectful and learn how to decipher key takeaways from customer feedback and reviews.
When you’re ready to launch your next food gig, give us a call at Richmond and we’ll help you incorporate your business in Singapore.