Social media’s influence on business in general is no longer the mystery it used to be at the beginning of the century. With more traffic flocking to the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and an array of smaller platforms, these user-generated mediums now play a greater role in the branding and heightened profiles of establishments in Australia’s food and beverage industry.

A recent report issued by Hootsuite highlights the impact of social media on all aspects of food and beverage outlets in Australia. By enabling social media users to share personal experiences with followers, they also unwittingly or otherwise, can boost the positive attributes of the venues they frequent by up to 20 percent.

Conversely, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other figures in the country’s hospitality industry who don’t engage with an online audience, particularly on Instagram may have only a tenth of the potential market that they would otherwise reach. Roughly 45 percent of participants in the Hootsuite study indicated that despite having social media accounts, they don’t normally bother with interacting with that audience.

That being said, research indicates that more than 70 percent of consumers base their buying decisions on what they see on social media, hospitality establishments might debate over which platform is most useful, so one thing is clear: They’re better off with a social media account and using it to engage with viewers regularly.

The viewership is also immense according to a study by market research company Roy Morgan. The company reported that Facebook is the most popular social media platform with more than 17.1 million Australians using it at least once a month. That’s followed closely by YouTube at 15.3 million, but the fastest growth rates are taking place among users of Instagram (8.0 million), Pinterest (7.3 million) and Twitter (6.6 million). Facebook also leads all demographics except for Gen-Z (those born between 1991-2005), which state a strong preference for YouTube.

However, for venues in the food and beverage industry, checking out the market size of each platform is one thing, but figuring out the ideal avenue to help their business is another, which is where engagement comes in. One of the best ways to gauge reactions from using different platforms is by determining the engagement rate, which tallies the number of comments, likes, shares and so on by the total posts made on a platform within a given period.

Which medium is best?

Communicating with your customers in isolation | pub pos system

Social media performance in the beverage industry isn’t highly detailed, however. Most studies make no distinction between bars, restaurants, clubs, hotel pubs and so on. Additionally, social media use among the industry doesn’t numerically break down who’s using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc… But the anecdotal evidence on several sites mostly points to Instagram as the restaurant’s go-to platform, especially when it comes to posting images. Hootsuite included in its key findings that a hotel, bar or restaurant is tagged on Instagram every 28 seconds and that establishments in the industry who focus on Instagram stand to boost their business tenfold.

We do get a picture of sorts from an international study of several industries using social media from Seattle-based market consultant group Rival IQ. In its 2019 report, the company pegged the food and beverage industry as having engagement rates higher than the average of other industries ranging from fashion and home décor to non-profits and sports teams. Rival IQ did not report any major discrepancies between participating countries, so it can be assumed that the results were uniform among nations reporting.

In terms of social media performance, Instagram scored an engagement rate of 1.69, far higher than its two closest-competing platforms Facebook (0.12) and Twitter (0.06). Still, more people posted on Facebook, averaging 0.48 posts per day compared to Instagram (0.45 posts) and Twitter (0.36), although the better return tips the scales in Instagram’s favour.

Still, it’s consistent with a domestic study by social media marketers SocialPilot, which favoured Instagram which comprises nearly 60 percent of growing engagements on social media, more than three times the share enjoyed by Facebook.

While Instagram seems to be the dominant choice for hospitality businesses, it’s statistically better to have a social media account than to compete in the market without one. Anything that’s described as “word of mouth on steroids” is a marketing opportunity that would be hard to pass up.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business
H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.
Call us at 1800 778 340, email or fill in the form below to discuss your venue’s needs.