Geotagging Helps Genghis Grill Engage Diners Via Instagram

Posted on by Patrick Gorman

Mobile is helping build-your-own-stir-fry restaurant chain Genghis Grill genghis-355interact with diners posting photos and status updates during their meals.

The core demographic for Genghis Grill—which has 110 locations in 25 states—is young adults, particularly women ages 25 to 45. The brand is leveraging social management solutions from MomentFeed to manage its social presence and engage with customers and fans on a local level.

Through keywords and mobile geo-tagging, Genghis Grill is using the information from mobile and social to help run campaigns and monitor what’s going on online, as well as the perceptions of its customers about the restaurant chain’s management, staff and facilities, says Ron Parikh, CMO.

“You can see the power of localization through our Facebook pages, and Instagram is great because now they’re specifically checking in with their phones and taking photos, and you can geo-target to specific areas and interact with customers,” Parikh says.

Picture Perfect

MomentFeed’s Local Voice solution allows companies to engage with consumers on a local level through social media and location-based mobile check ins. On the engagement side, marketers can interact with users’ photos, posts, tweets and tips posted to Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Instagram.

“When you have hundreds of locations and you have photos associated with each one, unless you centralize that you cannot manage it. We centralize that information in one location and aggregate across the social platforms,” says Joergen Aaboe, director of marketing for MomentFeed.

Photos taken by customers on their mobile devices via Instagram are geo-tagged to restaurant locations and/or hashtagged by users. Mobile photos are then geo-tagged to specific Genghis Grill locations, allowing social media managers to interact with users on a local level. Now, the Genghis marketing team can “like” photos, comment on pictures and interact with customers directly. Having the photos grouped by location is also a super-efficient way to stay engaged with social communities.

“If you’re just using standard Instagram tools to look for hashtagged photos, you’re missing a ton—we estimate that 40% of Instagram photos are actually tagged to a location, so if you’re not looking for those and you don’t have the tools to search for them, you’re missing valuable content,” Aaboe says.

“Instagram is so visual and impactful. Consumers are loving it, and Instagram is still growing tremendously, with 200 million active users. It’s a consumer-driven channel, so the question is how can brands engage on their terms? For Genghis Grill, it’s through engaging, sharing and liking their customer’s mobile pics posted from their restaurants,” Aaboe says.

When the Genghis Grill social team interacts with and engages customers by liking their mobile photos and posts, the results have been clear.

Brand Recognition

“When we put those interactions on our social pages, people like it because they’re being recognized for their interaction with the brand. It’s a huge factor for us to gain momentum, because we don’t have that big of a marketing budget and we’re spread out with 110 locations over 25 states. Things like this help us take it to the next level,” Parikh says.

The chain’s current campaign is an annual effort tagged #healthkwest. In each of its markets, the social team finds one ambassador to promote the brand. #Healthkwest is a healthy weight-loss challenge, and the ambassadors aim to lose weight by eating free Genghis Grill food over the course of 60 days. They also get the opportunity to talk about their journey by taking pictures of what they create in the restaurant and the recipes they create.

“We assign them tasks each day in their market, for example, we have them go tell two strangers about the brand, take photos and post about it on our blog with the hashtag, or tell their story to media outlets,” Parikh says.

And consumers are becoming more open and willing to share their mobile location information with social networks, according to Jackie Heath, Genghis Grill’s social media/PR marketing manager.

“There is an increase in mobile location services being turned on, and that’s how we can mark exactly where all of those Instagram photos are coming from. We’ve noticed a huge increase in that over the past two months, and it’s something people are starting to use more. We’re getting a lot more check ins,” Heath says.

With that increase in mobile geo-location usage, making sure locations are accurately mapped is becoming increasingly important. If an address isn’t properly geo-tagged, those valuable mobile check-ins could be lost.

“I think it’s really crucial for us because we don’t have big billboards or TV advertisements, so the first thing people do is Google search us and if that is inaccurate it’s hard for us to get a new fan in the door. Those mobile check ins are really crucial, and they’re part of our annual plans to get people in the restaurant,” Parikh says.

MomentFeed’s PinSync solution addresses this problem specifically by optimizing store finders and local pages on Facebook, Foursquare and Google with corrected latitude/longitude and updated branding and contact details.

“It’s a problem that every brick-and-mortar business has—if you have physical locations, you’re struggling in this mobile era because your location data is often inaccurate. It shows up in Yelp reviews, Google and Facebook, so getting the location right is a big deal. This is a navigation-and-lost revenue issue, and an issue of lost social media engagement,” Aaboe says.

Genghis Grill has been pleased with the results of its mobile initiatives so far.

“For our MomentFeed engagement numbers, our goal for 2014 was to get from 15,000 to 45,000 and to increase our total reach number to 3 million. We hit that goal last week and we achieved it in one quarter. We have 1.6 million opt-in users in our database and our goal is to get to 2 to 2.5 million users by the end of the year. Our focus is on acquisition and conversion, mostly done through social media,” Parikh says.

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