Social media management platform, Hootsuite, has released its The Connected Consumer report, detailing how foodservice businesses are using sites like Facebook and Instagram and outlining areas for improvement.

The report is the result of the analysis of 297 Australian hotels’, bars’ and restaurants’ social media behaviour. Insights were sourced from public activities of over 29,000 Instagram users and 15,825 mentions across the ‘social web’. The sample comprised 42,447 unique posts from Instagram users between 1 November 2016 and 31 January 2017.

It found that nearly half of all Australian hotels, bars and restaurants aren’t actively engaging in conversations with their customers on social media. Less than 20 percent of them are publishing content on Instagram daily, and 65 percent are publishing content on social media less than once a week.

This is despite one in two Facebook and Instagram users turning to social first to research potential purchases. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 are influenced even more by what brands say online, with 75 percent swayed in one way or another by recommendations on social networks.

Embracing social media isn’t just about promoting your wares – it’s also one of the most effective ways to have direct conversations with your customers. Fifty-six percent of users prefer to engage with businesses on social media than over the phone, and 35 percent prefer to ask a business a question via social media.

“As technology continues to blur the line between online and offline customer experience, brands are leveraging real-time engagement to drive business outcomes through enquiries, reservations and leads,” the report reads.

And regular engagement pays off, with brands that communicate with their customers every 24-48 hours on Instagram perceived 20 percent more positively than those who don’t.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Australian hotels, bars and restaurants are tagged on Instagram every 28 seconds
  • 4.5x more Australians location tag a hotel, bar or restaurant than mention it when publishing content on Instagram
  • Only four percent of hotels, bars and restaurants are engaging with customers who tag their location on Instagram
  • 30 percent of social media users provide feedback about a business

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