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Social media becomes No. 1 form of restaurant marketing

social media table

It’s official: Social media has eclipsed advertising to become the most commonly used form of marketing for restaurants.

Eighty-two percent of restaurants in the United States devote at least part of their marketing budgets today to social media, making it the most popular channel, according to new research from TripAdvisor, the online travel guide.

The second most common avenue is print advertising, which draws expenditures from 68% of U.S. restaurants, followed by online listing services, which are used by 56%, TripAdvisor found in a survey of the restaurants it lists.

The study suggests the use of all marketing types could be on the upswing: 85% of respondents in the U.S. said they should be doing more to promote themselves. And fewer than half said they spend less than 10% of their time on marketing.

The research also revealed:

  • 94% of U.S. restaurants currently monitor what’s being said about them, presumably online and mainly through social media. Roughly one out of 10 (13%) have an outside firm handle that task for them.
  • Globally, restaurants regard social media as the most effective tool for boosting business, followed by online directories and search engine optimization.
  • The least likely method is using online coupon and voucher services.
  • Marketing responsibilities are largely shouldered by existing staff. Only 17% of U.S. restaurants have hired someone to handle marketing, and 1% have retained an outside marketing consultant.

The survey is the first time TripAdvisor has canvassed the 4 million restaurants listed worldwide on its service about marketing.

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