Yesterday, we talked about how celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, in his elegant chef hat, became a part of Facebook’s social network game Restaurant City (you can scroll down to read the article) and how Dunkin’ Donuts used The Sims Social as an effective means to connect to Facebook’s millions of young users. Today, we will dissect this restaurant marketing tool a bit more and see how it could work for us.
So how does it work? Can a mid-sized restaurant actually get involved in Facebook’s social network games to increase customer engagement?
Marketers agree that social games have great marketing potential for your restaurant. As defined, these are electronic games that allow sharing and competition among its users in a public platform like Facebook.
They do say that advertising through TV, display, print or online search ads might catch your potential customers’ attention for several seconds, but social network game integration does way more than that –the game translates hours of brand exposure per user, as it is exposed to the players in an interactive, unforgettable way.
You can work hand-in-hand with your game developer to adhere to these 4 key points in ensuring a successful social network game marketing campaign:
1. Look for a game where your restaurant brand can be integrated naturally.
This detail is far more complex that is sounds, as you should also need to find a game which has an audience that would appreciate your brand, such as future chefs who love to wear chef hats and chef clothes. Or even plain restaurant diners. The players’ behavior, demographics and other user data can greatly affect the efficacy of your campaign.
2. To entice the players to engage with your brand, give them an incentive—something cool, or something that could help them in their game.
Giving players free virtual products helps improve brand sentiment faster and builds loyalty to your brand. You just need to make sure that the items provide a pleasant experience and are delivered on time.
3. Customers’ engagement should be voluntary, making sure the brand integration is optional and not mandatory.
Brand content like videos or banners should not interrupt the game and should not be forced on the players. This way, the players do not feel that they were coerced, since their engagement was their own choice.
4. Offer limited-time-offers in your integration to create a sense of urgency, prompting players to experience and gain access to your brand content before its gone.
LTOs are as effective online as it is in real life—it would draw an intensified attention to your restaurant brand and would demand instantaneous user action.
Today’s market are known to have very short attention spans, considering the many activities that await them daily—newspapers, books, mobile phones, computers, TV, radio, workload, house chores and basic human interaction, among others. But come to think of it, once they are engaged in a game, you, as marketer, succeed in getting their full attention, and with higher chances of retention.
It would be safe to assume then that social games as marketing tools will soon explode, almost the same way social media’s popularity as a marketing mechanism soared. It might be hard to envision it at this point, but if your restaurant already has its own Facebook page, the idea is not that too far-fetched at all.