The astounding growth of social media in the last decade is a great resource for businesses to market to their target audience. So many products have benefited from viral campaigns, and smaller campaigns in all kinds of industries, from tech to beauty, household appliances, cars, travel, and food and hospitality. In fact, social media is particularly useful to the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Using social media for your restaurant requires more than just casual postings of “today’s specials,” the anniversary of the restaurant, or reviews and testimonials. It takes some thinking outside of the box to create an effective social media channel that will stand out. It can be implemented easily once you have a basic plan and an understanding of your target customers. Below are ten tips that can help you jump-start social media marketing for your restaurant business.
Tip #1: Use Different Social Media Platforms to Reach Different Customers
- Facebook: This can be used to post special promotions and events. Think about “happy hours” and teaser ads to encourage more likes to your Facebook page and engagement with customers. Also, if your business profile is set to ‘restaurant,’ you should be able to post menus. Finally, posting to groups in your community, especially those foodie groups, will increase the Reach of your posts.
- Instagram: A highly-visual social media platform, Instagram can be used to post photos and videos (Reels) of food, drinks, and restaurant atmosphere. Use hashtags liberally to connect with your target customer.
- Yelp: With Yelp, you can highlight the ambiance of your restaurant, while providing some images of food and drinks.
- TikTok: This platform has absolutely exploded in growth and influenced the video strategy of other social media platforms. If you can shoot a few seconds of video, you can highlight your staff, show off your food, reveal customers having fun or just stir things up while your bartender fusses over a cocktail.
- Other platforms to look into include Google Business Profile, YouTube, SnapChat, and Twitter.
Tip #2: Use Facebook Ads
With Meta Ads, you can target your customers based on location, preferences, age, gender and lifestyle and reach them on Facebook and Instagram. Take your target audience information and apply this to your Meta ads to reach new potential customers, or to update customers on new happenings or events. Learn more about Meta Ads here.
You can also Boost posts quickly, with a less complex targeting engine. Try it on a reasonable budget and see if this option works to grow your influence on these platforms!
Tip #3: Post Pictures of the Atmosphere and Menu Items
Posting high-quality videos and images of your restaurant atmosphere and menu items should be done across all social media platforms, in order to inform your customers on what kind of experience to expect when they dine with you.
Tip #4: Encourage Check-Ins and Reviews
Encourage customers to “check-in” or provide reviews on social media. Or, to post using a particular hashtag or to tag your business. You can do this with a table tent or a postcard. These actions create user-generated content online that you can share or comment on. These are also broadcast to their community and can serve as a very strong testimonial of quality to their followers.
Tip #5: Mobile-optimized website
Having a mobile-optimized website is so crucial because all potential customers use their mobile devices to search for restaurants, and to find reviews, orders, and find directions.
Tip #6: Offer Deals, Giveaways, & Contest
Restaurant deals, giveaways, and contests give fans a reason to share your social media posts while creating buzz among your social media followers. The more fun and entertaining you make your deals, giveaways, and contests, the better results for your restaurant. We run contests for several of our restaurant clients. Visit our portfolio to see more!
Tip #7: Show Appreciation
As a manager of restaurant social media accounts, you can show appreciation by recognizing employee work anniversaries, birthdays, and more. You can also post about community leaders, volunteers, and nonprofits that make your community a better place. It shows you care about your employees, staff, and the communities where your customers live.
Tip #8: Utilize the Timing of Posts
Timing is everything in social media! For restaurants on social media, try timing your social media posts to be shared around breakfast, lunch, or dinner. On Facebook, it is also possible to look up “active times” when scheduling in the Meta Planner, so that you are posting at the times when the biggest groups of your customers are active.
Tip #9: Be Active & Authentic
Be sure to respond to customers quickly. Answer and respond to reviews, comments, and complaints as quickly as you are able. Customers enjoy and appreciate knowing there is a person behind the social media posts that cares about what you have to say, and that it’s not a chat box or automated response.
Tip #10: Use Hashtags
Be sure to use applicable hashtags when posting to social media. Using hashtags will help your content be found easier on social media. People use hashtags or follow them to keep up with posts in categories they are interested in. You can try researching what hashtags your suppliers are using, your competitors, and restaurants that you admire. You can also follow some hashtags, and see if they are gathering the content that your target customers would be delighted by. For example, research #foodies, #bestbrunch, #happyhour, and #cocktails and see what you find!
For restaurants and food service businesses, social media is an opportunity to increase online awareness and ultimately, revenue. We hope these restaurant social media tips are helpful for business owners and staff. For more help on social media, we offer digital marketing services for restaurants.