Spotistic Review: Social Media for Restaurants

Social media marketing for restaurants and bars has become more specialized over the last 2 years. Restaurants and bars, having brick and mortar locations, have a different set of needs compared to national brands and multinational corporations.

However, we came across a relatively new social media marketing tool, Spotistic, that will help restaurants be active and effective on social media without expending exorbitant amount of time.

Marketing to People Online

Spotistic addresses a reality of the restaurant business: more often than not, restaurants are small businesses that live or die based on the amount of individual attention they give to customers. With independent restaurants, marketing and customer service blend together, as word of mouth marketing is primary way in acquiring new customers.

Anyone familiar with social media marketing in our industry has altered their best practices to reflect the characteristics of the restaurant industry. Social media has become more flexible and multidimensional and so have restaurant marketers. Still, many popular social media management tools, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, have not kept up with the demands of restaurants. However, this is where Spotistic excels.

Social media marketing (SMM) has also gone through a major overhaul. Now there is more than 2 social media networks to be active on. Now you can be mentioned on social media in numerous ways and finding that information involves insight into their workings.

Spotistic Makes SMM Straightforward

For busy managers and owners, they don’t have enough time to learn essential social media techniques and strategies much less apply them on a day to day basis. Few restaurants can stay up to date on the steady stream of content customers are producing about their restaurant, missing many marketing opportunities.

Spotistic streamlines the most important social media information for restaurants. It has an easy interface and offers something that is difficult to achieve with other applications. It makes restaurant social media manageable part-time. Also, the cost of Spotistic is reasonable for restaurants, and the only challenge is ensuring go-to person for social media spends the 15-30 minutes per day using it.

Getting Started

Spotistic is built around connecting social media with a real world location. It automatically connects social media of that location, such as Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Tripadvisor and Yelp, to the Spotistic Dashboard.

Normally, most of the social media networks automatically appear after putting in the name/address of your restaurant. Before beginning, check to make sure those are the right accounts as sometimes restaurants have duplicate accounts. Some you may have to connect manually, but it is easy enough to do.

Features

Spotistic has various plans that offer some or all of the features. Be advised that I may describe some features that are only for restaurants that have the more expensive subscriptions. Indeed, if you have multiple locations, you may want a more pricey plan. If you need a more comprehensive set of tool, opt for the better plans too. Check here for more information.

The core innovation of Spotistic is collecting critical information in an an easy, up to date format, enabling quick responses. Spotistic gives restaurants all the content that customers are sharing about that restaurant, along with other social media tools. It is as comprehensive as anything out there in finding content from customers.

Interacting with customers provides two major benefits. The first is acknowledging your biggest fans, pushing them into an even greater allegiance to your restaurant. Secondly, you can find any problems floating around social media, so you can address them before they get out of hand.

Soaking Up a Restaurant’s Social Media Content

Tasks & Feed

The first feature is the Tasks section, which is like an Inbox for new customers’ social media updates about the restaurant. Closely related to it is the Feed section, which puts similar content in another format (which may be just as useful too).

Both use Spotistic’s ability to gather posts, pictures, tips, etc. across social networks. In the Tasks section, it lists new incoming content as tasks, providing a restaurant manager a record of what they responded to already (and what they plan on ignoring). In contrast, the Feed offers all the content whether you have responded or not.

The content Spotistic brings together is much more than you can normally access and it is surprising how much posts, pictures and tips about a restaurant go under the radar. Unlike their competitors, Spotistic uses location tagging and keywords (which you can add to) to identify the content about the restaurant.

Easy Response

You can then respond to the content after connecting to your accounts. Most times you can see the post, pictures, or tips but with Yelp and Tripadvisor you are informed you have a new review but not the content of the review.

Even though that sounds simplistic (the ability to access everything and respond), this saves lots and lots of time as the manual workarounds are extremely time consuming and involve an in-depth understanding of each social network.

Despite having people dedicated to social media at Gourmet Marketing, we did not have the resources to go into each network and search for this content. With Spotistic, a much fuller picture of social media activity is provided automatically and enables us to acknowledge a customer in an efficient, ordered way.

Locating Complaints

For restaurant managers, it is just as important to find complaints as complements through social media. Spotistic allows you to do that and manage your reputation. If you respond the correct, calm and courteous way, you can defuse situations, lessen damage to your brand and even sometimes turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer.

Spotistic is your eyes and ears. And although it does not provide the content directly from Yelp or Tripadvisor, Spotistic notifies you when a new review comes in. Spotistic, however, must manually connect an account to Yelp and Tripadvisor.  After using several reputation tools, Spotistic fulfills a restaurant’s needs for social media, and at this point, that is a huge component of reputation management (along with tracking website & blogs).

Publish

Many restaurant owners would rather not go onto every social network and publish their content individually. Spotistic builds in this capability and although not as refined or multifaceted as Hootsuite or Buffer, it does the trick for the vast majority of restaurants.

Spotistic offers the capability to publish content (whether text or images) to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, although it is limited to restaurants and bars that have Foursquare Chain pages, not solely locations. It also enables you to schedule out a post in the future, saving time and reducing hassle.

Statistics

Spotistic keeps some handy stats in their dashboard. Although not as thorough as what you will find in each social media’s analytics, you can get an idea about if your social media is improving. You can quickly scan key statistics from many of the social networks, such as basic engagement stats from Twitter and Facebook.

It is by no mean thorough but it is helpful for beginners. However, Spotistic says they are willing to customize the stats to a restaurant’s liking. Spotistic also offers up a Spotistic score which from what I can tabulate from many different social media behaviors and analytics.

There are still little bugs surround setting the time period for the stats and perhaps in the future the statistics section can be more comprehensive.

Contacts

One of the challenges of social media is keeping track of all the customers you interact with. Spotistic enables restaurant owners to move people from these interactions over to Contacts. It gives you a good record that you have already connected with them and also provides future marketing opportunities. It can, if appropriate, allow you to put these contacts on your email list. You can also later on reach to offer these customers deals and acknowledge their continued business.

Offers

Spotistic worked hard to incorporate a couponing section. What is the point of making all these connections if you cannot reward your customers for talking about you? Therefore Spotistic allows you to set up campaigns that are either targeted or more general. The service enables you to track the redemption of coupons and limit the possibility of fraud. You build the campaign yourself and this gives you the promotional freedom to find the right coupon for your customers.

We haven’t yet had the chance to try this feature, but if we do, we will report back our restaurant owner clients experience. This is a very good idea and a very efficient system to single out customers and deepen their connection with the restaurant and the restaurant brand.

Locations

With the right plan, you can manage many locations through Spotistic. Of course, if you have a slate of clients that aren’t inter-related the TASKS and FEED can get confusing. But the possibility of saving time may trump any fears of mistakes. The point of Spotistic is to save time so you can find and reach more of your customers in a lot less time.

Re-cap & Value

Spotistic is a social media tool made for restaurants and bars and perhaps the first one better than more generic alternatives. It merges the marketing aspects and the customer relations parts, which is what in practice what independent restaurants need. The ability to find so much content about a restaurant (that is hard to get) and respond easily is (almost) priceless. It must be nearly 3 times the content than you would find in basic searches on these social networks. It has some nifty tools to save time.

Overall, Spotistic is not expensive by any standards and you get a lot of bang for your buck. We recommend restaurants that are interested in a easier streamlined way to connect with customers through social media should go through a demo. The application reflects restaurant owner’s needs, keeping regulars happy and engaged. We hope to see them iron out the rough edges, but in the areas where Spotistic excels, it works as it should and boosts a restaurant’s social media marketing.