The word ‘instagrammable’ was not something one would associate food with easily, even at a time when Instagram was gaining popularity in India and most of the international dictionaries included the word in their list in 2018.

But it was only a matter of time, considering that consumers of this particular social media tool were relentlessly sharing images of their food experiences. Media began to refer to visually-appealing spaces and dishes as “instagrammable”, and soon after the F&B industry began to refer to their products the same way too. If it’s not instagrammable, it’s not “hip”.

The truth is that the F&B industry discovered a whole new set of benefits when it decided to walk into the world of social media marketing and CRM. And these tools do serve a solid purpose – create awareness to boost revenue generation. And when the pandemic put a serious dent in the F&B business, social media and CRM became one of the go-to tools for the sector.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, almost 20 percent of individuals depend on social media to follow or find information on their favourite eateries, and 15 percent of them follow social media pages to get promotions or offers.

At its core, CRM allows businesses to get to know guests and carefully manages interactions with them. It also helps develop relationships with potential diners at your establishment. CRM provides restaurateurs with a set of tools to organise, track, manage, and market to customers through a business’s entire sales lifecycle.

According to Swarna Daga Mimani, founder of Social Neeti, a digital marketing solution provider, there is 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. “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,” Mimani added.

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 companies like Social Neeti have almost tripled the total revenue against last year’s revenue for both new mandates and renewals.

Mimani informed that 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 for generating unconventional campaign ideas and blogger collaborations that will help with better visibility and brand building.

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, added.

As an added measure for client acquisition, eWards is now focusing more on creating a need for the products, and showing the value proposition that will help in the early adoption of the system. Apart from that, a combination of social media campaigns, inbound marketing and outbound marketing campaigns have also helped in client acquisition.

“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,” he said.

The founder of momo QSR brand, Zomoz, Shouvik Dhar added that social media had played a significant role for the brand since they have a multi-city presence. “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 commented. And post pandemic the dependency on social media for aggressive customer acquisition is increasing day by day.

Link : View our article in ET Hospitality