How Creative Marketing for Restaurants Started…
This is part 2 of a blog series on Creative Marketing for Restaurants. You can read part 1 here and learn more about how this series got started! This article will discuss Social Media Marketing, another creative aspect of marketing for restaurants.
Susu Wong designed these webinars with Lowell restaurants in mind, but we always hoped to expand the scope and share these ideas with more restaurants. We hope to help you become familiar with and leverage social media marketing tools. Social media marketing can help you increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and word of mouth marketing. Let’s get started!
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Having an online presence is crucial. Research shows that most customers read menus and look at reviews before deciding where to eat — and they do it online! Many of these interactions are happening on social media. Savvy restaurant owners and marketers know that the most common strategy in 2019 was advertising on social media.
Still not convinced? Well, half of the billions of users on Facebook have searched for a restaurant. Furthermore, Twitter and Instagram both have highly engaged users with restaurant brands!
Let’s talk more about polishing up your profiles online, branding, and using social media tactics to engage current and new customers. Don’t worry, we will walk you through real-world tactics for social media marketing that works!
ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP?
Let’s begin with your profiles. Wherever you are, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your profile is just as appealing as the best dish at your restaurant.
Your profiles should also be very practical and include all of your contact information like your phone number, address, website, and hours of operation. Also very important is having menus and reviews available because we know that customers use these tools to decide where to eat.
Also, be sure to visually showcase your brand. Let’s talk a little bit about branding. Branding involves writing a mission statement, leveraging your unique position in the market, and telling the story that you want customers to connect with. Your brand should create an emotional connection to your business and it should also have strong visual cues – like the colors you use in your logo.
Companies that leverage good branding have loyal customers who are willing to wait in lines, pay more for products, and advocate for you to potential new customers. If you feel like your brand is not well defined or would like help with branding, Tomo360 is here for you!
SOCIAL MEDIA BEST PRACTICES
You are going to want to have a strategy when doing social media. This may sound time-consuming, but it will ultimately save you time and eliminate posting items that don’t work. Creating a strategy will help you map out a creative mix of content that your customers will enjoy and engage with.
Great post ideas to try for your restaurant today:
- Behind the scenes pictures
- Get to know your staff
- Promote your restaurant’s COVID safety procedures
- Reshare user-generated content
- Promote or cross-promote community events
- Highlight new menu items
- Create a story behind the ingredients
Experiment with these posts and see which ones make an impact on your customers. Be sure to use high-quality images and storytelling techniques. Also, remember to be social! That means: always tag other people or businesses if they are part of the content.
Video is also a proven and successful format on social media. If you dare to shoot a few moments of video and use it in a post, it tends to capture more attention and comments than a static image post. A full-blown commercial video like this one from the Lobster Trap restaurant in Bourne, MA will also get a lot of attention. This 26-second video of mostly aerial shots of their restaurant has been viewed over 6,000 times on Facebook.
Another way to generate fans through social media is to offer incentives and special discounts to your social media followers. They will tune-in daily or at a special time each week if you are providing a discount or a free appetizer or drink. You can also run contests as a way to broaden your audience. Just remember that fans should share (retweet or tag friends) in order to be entered into the contest!
Be sure to read Part 1 of this series, where we talk about a few different marketing programs like rewards, point-of-sale, and gift certificates. These tactics can also easily be promoted via social media.
Is Anybody Out There?
Engagement is important on social media. It is one of the ways that we measure how a social media account is doing. Engagement is when your customers click, view, comment, and share your posts. It is also important to engage with your customers (respond to them) when they do this. If at all possible, either someone on your staff or your agency should be monitoring your accounts and responding to comments by customers.
Social Media Platforms
Not all platforms are the same. Instagram is a more visual platform that caters to a younger audience and does not share links easily. It is searchable by hashtags and if you are going to use this platform, you will need to know more about hashtags and have a hashtag strategy, as this is one of the best ways to get in front of new customers. Check out our blog about Instagram and take advantage of downloading our Instagram Guide.
Facebook is the largest social media platform, but the users are older. It is easy to share links on Facebook, create photo albums, and even create events. There are lots of different ways to get in front of new customers on Facebook.from joining local groups, to paid or boosted ads, and creating events.
In addition to organic social media (non-paid), we have created ads on Facebook to drive takeout sales. We boosted posts for Athenian Corner to help them increase their takeout orders for holidays during the pandemic. The ads were very successful and dramatically increased takeout orders over two Easter weekends and helped make their Mother’s Day weekend successful as well. Ads are a good way to attract new customers with a high return of investment at a low cost.
Twitter is a fast-paced platform that is very popular with media companies; such as content creators, journalists, broadcasters, and politicians. User growth has gone down recently, but engagement between brands and consumers is still growing. Many users expect major brands to have a Twitter presence, and often will tag a brand for customer queries. Exhibiting good customer service on Twitter can be one way to attract new fans.
Many big restaurant chains, like Wendy’s or Olive Garden, experience some wonderful engagement with customers. Twitter is also searchable by hashtag and has a neat feature called Twitter lists, and easily shares links and video. Some brands use an influencer to grow their followers. By participating in the ever-evolving topics and trends of the day, brands can showcase their humor and commitment to what is happening right now. Not having a presence on Twitter could leave some opportunities off the table.
There are many other platforms that you can experiment with including TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Tumblr. It depends on your audience and who you are hoping to serve.
Learning More About Your Customers
There are many measurable metrics in the world of social media. You can find out a lot about your audience from what topics they like, how they shop, and more. You can even look at your fans as a group, and find out when most of them are online. This can help you decide exactly what days and times you should be posting.
You can also use this information to create accurate audience profiles for use in online advertising. The more you know about your audience, the more success you will have in finding more of them and targeting them.
Social Media Toolbox
Before we wrap-up, we want to share some of our favorite tools that we use for social media execution and strategy:
Canva: An online design platform that can help you easily create designs for social media. Free with a subscription service option.
Unsplash: An online database of free-use images uploaded by photographers and creators all over the world. Free service with access to paid content as well.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a social media platform that allows you to schedule all of your posts in advance on a variety of platforms. They also provide analytics and several other key features. Free with a limited subscription service option.
Google Alerts: This is a free service provided by Google, that allows you to create alerts for keywords. You will be notified when your keywords appear in new content virtually anywhere.
Google Analytics: A Google service that tracks and analyzes web traffic. You can use this service to determine how much of your website traffic is generated by social media efforts.
Let Tomo360 Help You With Digital Marketing!
One re-opening strategy that you may not have thought of is to get a marketing tune-up! What is a Tomo360 Marketing Tune-Up? It’s a great way to assess your marketing efforts to see what’s working and what could be improved to help you reach your goals. We have several packages to choose from! Contact us today.