Let’s take the first step together and help you manage your social media better.
Restaurant owners: If you’re not using social media marketing for promote your business, we need to talk.
Why, you ask?
Without social media, you’re missing out. Social media promotion for restaurants should be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. Keep in mind that competing eateries likely already have a social media presence, and so are the people who are instrumental to your success – your customers. People from all walks of life have social media accounts these days, which means you’re not taking advantage of effective and free marketing if you don’t have a social media page for your restaurant.
Even though many people claim that humans don’t interact with each other as much because they’re consumed with being on their phones, social media is actually built on communication. When you log onto your social media platform, you can reach friends and loved ones from anywhere in the world. Social media also allows you to see what your social media connections are up to. You can even learn about local events and get involved in offline and online communities. Each like, reaction or comment is your way of interacting with another social media user.
While this is great news for people in general (for the most part), what does this type of interaction have to do with your restaurant?
Having a social media presence gives you the opportunity to communicate with existing and potential customers and keep your restaurant at the forefront of their minds even when they’re not dining at your establishment. When you have a social media platform, you’re giving your customers the freedom to leave reviews about their experience and comment about your restaurant. Customers can also share photos of their time at your eatery and recommend your restaurant as a great place to celebrate special occasions.
In a nutshell, social media marketing is essential what you do daily to market your restaurant. You’re still communicating with your customers, but you’re doing it online.
Social media is growing rapidly and new apps are being developed daily. Granted, this can be a little hard to keep up with, so in this blog, we’ll just focus on the major platforms. However, once you understand the basics, you can experiment with various platforms and apps, since you never can tell forms of social media will turn out to be the most popular.
We’ll cover the basics of social media in this blog so you can increase the success of your restaurant. We’ll include the platforms that are best for restaurants, the content you should post and how to gain more followers.
Step 1: Know Which Platforms to Use
Since you’re running a restaurant, your most effective social media platforms are going to be Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business.
Facebook is the main social media outlet you should take advantage of. Facebook has the biggest and most diverse audience of all social media platforms. Not being on Facebook is a little strange, especially if you’re a restaurant owner.
In addition to having a large audience, Facebook gives you the widest variety of methods for customer interaction. Consumers can go to your page to leave a review or use the check-in feature to show their followers that they were at your restaurant. Patrons also have the option to see your menu or go to your website, upload pictures to your Facebook page and tag you, and connect with you through Messenger.
If you’re not familiar with social media marketing for restaurants, Facebook is the ideal platform to help you get started.
While Facebook is the bigger platform to help you build your restaurant, don’t ignore the fact that you should have an Instagram account as well. Instagram is photo-based and pictures of food are regularly ranked as one of the biggest trends on this platform. We admit, this is primarily the reason why people are constantly posting photos of their meals on Instagram, but as a restaurant owner, you can use this to your benefit.
The whole point of Instagram is to take pictures and post them for millions of people in the world to view. Instagram uses tags, which are search terms with a hashtag to organize photos. You can use the hashtags to search for the content you want.
You can also use the GPS on your smartphone to see where your photo was taken by using the Instagram Places feature. So, if customers come to your restaurant to celebrate with friends and family, they can use Instagram Places to tag your location.
Google My Business
Technically, Google My Business isn’t a social media platform. However, it is essential for online marketing and definitely comes in handy when you’re promoting your restaurant.
Google My Business is a toolset you can use through Google and it’s completely free. The tool permits business owners to showcase their restaurant on Google maps and allow pictures of the company to be tagged using GPS data. Your customers can also use Google My Business to write reviews about your restaurant.
When a person hears about a new restaurant in town with wonderful lunch options, the first thing they likely do is look up the restaurant on Google and read customer reviews. This is why it’s so important for your restaurant to be part of Google My Business. The tool helps to boost your search rankings which can increase your regular customer base and attract people who are visiting your city and looking for a great meal.
Now that you know which platforms you should display your restaurant on, let’s go to step two.
Step 2: Your Content
Content is essential for social media marketing. Your status updates, posts and photos, as well as any other content you present to your audience is very important, since it shapes the reputation of your restaurant in the minds of followers.
The most effective way to increase and keep your audience it to ensure your content is high-quality.
Knowing What to Post About
You have to have a structure and strategy for your social media posts. If you post the same content repeatedly, your followers will become uninterested and may unfollow you. Make sure you keep your content fresh and exciting and share new information that your customer base needs and wants to know.
A good rule of thumb is to use the ‘thirds’ principle:
How much of your content should be sales posts?
-This type of content that serves to get customers to come to your restaurant. This is similar to an ad. You can post photos of the top dishes at your eatery, promote any drink specials and let customers know about your event and catering services. You can also share basic but pertinent information like where your restaurant is located and how to contact you.
How much of your content should be shared posts?
-Make sure you share content from additional sources like local events your restaurant participates in. you should also share positive reviews from clients and write-ups about your restaurant in the local newspaper or popular blogs. If you’re in partnership with a local business and want to bring traffic to their social media page or website, you can let your customers know about the partnership, or you can share an article about the culture and history behind your meals.
How much of your content should be brand posts?
-These posts can include reviews, photos of your meals with a caption, funny posts, facts about the food you serve or inspirational quotes. You an also post the history behind your restaurant and videos of your staff members to show that you promote a positive work environment.
When it comes to social media marketing for restaurants, it’s important that you don’t ignore the importance of brand and share posts.
Several businesses make the crucial mistake of posting sales content too much. While sales are essential, your approach to promoting your eatery should be a conversation between you and your customers. Don’t talk at them – talk to them.
This all sounds great, but I’m not a designer. I’m a chef! So how do I make my content appealing?
The only way anyone becomes great at anything is to study.
The majority of social media marketing for restaurant involves searching the social media accounts of competing restaurants that appeal to you. Check to see which posts have the most shares and likes. Look for common themes and styles. Keep track of the design elements you notice that attract followers and apply these principles to the content on your social media accounts.
When you go to any Facebook or Instagram account, you’ll likely see visually attractive graphics of motivational quotes or promotions for a sale or giveaway. You can do them too!
There are several free designs tools you can take advantage of to improve your social media presence with great text and a professional graphics. Some companies provide these services consistently and offer you a free account so you can start honing your design skills.
Is there a specific time I should post?
You may be tempted to publish your post as soon as you complete it, but wait a second! Just like there’s a strategy for creating content, you have to implement the right methodology when you post.
In general, you should post when you’re core audience isn’t at work. Post early in the morning, during lunchtime and early in the evening. These are likely the times people aren’t sitting at their desks or completing work projects. Since you’re running a restaurant, think about mealtimes when you post on social media. If you have a great lunch special, post around 11:30am to give people time to get to your restaurant. If you want to advertise a happy hour deal? Make your post at 5pm. Think about what times will attract the most customers and ensure your content is available to your followers during those hours.
Step 3: How to Build a Following
Now that you’ve got your social media accounts and have created your content, it’s time for people to see it. That means you need followers!
There are two main ways to get more followers: targeted following and engagement. It’s best to use both of these methods to boost your followers.
Targeted following is just what it sounds like, which means you have to follow the right people. There are several ways to do this. One of the most common ways to get a targeted following is to follow the hashtags that pertain to your industry.
For instance, a burger restaurant may want to search social media for hashtags like #hamburgers, #burgers, #bestburger or #fries. Keep this tip in mind: Instagram has a helpful feature in their search bar that displays tags that are related to or often used with the tag you’re searching for. The posts that perform the most with the most likes, retweets and comments with the hashtag you’ve searched for will appear first. All you have to do is click on the tweet or post, then click to see how many likes the post has. This will give you a list of people who liked the post so you’ll know who to follow.
Since your restaurant is a brick and mortar location, think about physical location when searching through hashtags. Most metropolitan areas and big cities have hashtags of their own, such as #nyc, #LA or #Atlanta. However, smaller cities can have their own tags, too. To get even more specific, focus on users who utilize the Instagram Places feature. You can do this by typing in the address or name of your restaurant and select ‘places’ instead of ‘tags.’ You’ll see photos that were tagged using the GPS function of a user’s smartphone. Click the pictures and see the people who liked the post so you can follow them.
Another great method, especially if you’re new to the restaurant industry, it to follow the people your competitors follow. Ensure that you’re following the people who liked their most recent posts. This increases the chances that these people will follow you back since they were active on social media recently.
Targeted following an ideal way to get started on social media but use caution. Mass following can make it seem like your account is spam. When it comes to social media, you should have more followers than followings. About once a week, you should unfollow people who haven’t followed you.
We’d be less than honest if we said that social media marketing for restaurant wasn’t based on numbers. The amount of followers you have says a lot about the credibility of your restaurant. However, numbers aren’t everything. Engagement is just as important as having lots of followers. Your content isn’t effective if no one is interacting with your written posts, memes or videos. A small audience that is engaged is much more valuable than a large audience that doesn’t communicate with you.
Make sure your content prompts your audience to respond. Brand and share posts are usually best for engagement. Spark a debate, ask questions, take polls and ask your followers to upload photos of them dining at your restaurant to win prizes like free dessert or restaurant gift cards. Remember, social media is a conversation, and it’s important for you to start the conversation and keep it going.
Keep in mind that social media engagement is a two-way street. When one of your followers posts a review or comment, make sure you respond. If a customer took the time to post on social media on behalf or your restaurant, show your appreciation by answering them.
Make sure that you don’t slack on this, since social media is very fast-paced and you’re likely to forget important tasks when you’re running a restaurant. It may be best to designate a time or day to monitor your account and respond to reviews and comments. The best way to do this is to choose a day when things are slow and you can focus your attention on your followers. Your customers will appreciate the gesture and will likely visit your restaurant more and tell others about your business.
Next, you’ll have to focus on influencer marketing. By the year 2022, the influencer marketing industry could be worth $5 and $10 billion! This is one of the trending marketing methods these days and that why local restaurants are reaching out to social media influencers to market their restaurants. This type of marketing is ideal for start-up restaurants who want to appeal to more customers.
Use targeted following and engagement regularly and watch your followers increase.
It’s important to note that these marketing strategies can and should be used on all your social media platforms. However, Facebook is a ‘pay to play’ platform, which means it costs money to ensure your content is viewed by the right customers. But not to worry, we can guide you through the process of finding marketing strategies for Facebook that work.
So, let’s review.
We’ve gone over a lot of valuable information here, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. But the main things to remember are:
-The social media platforms that are ideal for your business are going to be Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
-Make sure you post content with clear, bright photos of your dishes to entice customers.
-Don’t reserve your posts to just food. Let your customers know the story behind your restaurant and impress your followers with funny puns and interesting food facts. Be sure to ask questions and tell them about community events your restaurant is participating in. you should be a valuable source of information for followers.
-Talk to your followers. Respond to reviews and comments, and like share posts and photos where your business is tagged. Don’t forget that social media is a conversation.
-You have to follow people on social media. Don’t forget to maintain a list of relevant hashtangs and accounts that you regularly follow.
-Don’t forget to look for your location on Instagram to take a look at the photos people have posted.
-Remember to unfollow regularly, since too many followings and not enough followers is a no-no for social media.
Lastly, remember to be patient and consistent. Social media is an effective marketing tool land is meant to be used long-term to get a significant payoff. You’re building a relationship of trust with your followers and this will take time. However, if you stick with it, people will become loyal followers and customers.
Hopefully, this has been a beneficial crash course on social media marketing basics for restaurants. When you master these basic concepts, continue learning about new strategies and platforms to keep growing your restaurant business, since being aware of emerging marketing trends and implementing them will help you stay on top.
And don’t forget our social media marketing company also offers comprehensive social media marketing services to help your business thrive. So if you haven’t implemented a social media marketing campaign like we mentioned at the start of this blog, then contact us to learn more about how to get started. We’ll walk you through it.
with 10 years of Digital Marketing experience