15 Social Media Tips for Restaurants
Running a restaurant can be a challenging venture. With more than 1 million restaurant locations nationwide, competition can be stiff. Plus, with technology constantly evolving, patrons can peruse different restaurants through the convenience of smart phones, tablets, and other devices. This means that, if you aren’t putting time and money into social media marketing, you could be losing out on major sales.
Social media marketing can seem daunting to some business owners – there are so many platforms, and seemingly not enough time to devote to all of them. Luckily, we’ve compiled this post to provide you with actionable advice that you can follow while building your restaurant’s social media presence.
Social Media Marketing Ideas for Restaurants:
- Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Instagram – Promote your restaurant’s cuisine and ambiance by posting visually appealing pictures on Instagram that reflect your branding. While some restaurant owners apt for an oversharing strategy, in which they snap photos without taking time to pose items or apply edits, we suggest taking time to take clear photos with similar filters. A visually captivating Instagram feed will be more attractive to Instagram users, prompting them to follow your account, and visit your establishment for a meal!
If you need some inspiration, check out this post from the HubSpot blog, which highlights restaurants who have mastered Instagram marketing.
- Make a Pinterest Board for Inspiration – You should always consider how you can improve your restaurant. If you become complacent, your sales could suffer. Luckily, with Pinterest, you can browse pins that relate to your restaurant. Find ideas for new menu designs, décor updates, dishes, and other relevant industry information. By gaining inspiration from the Pinterest community, you could find new ways to elevate your restaurant’s performance.
To start, we recommend creating a Pinterest account and boards for your personal use. That way, you can find ideas to implement at your restaurant. If you enjoy this platform, you could eventually make a public account, in which you feature images of your menu, marketing materials, and best dishes. Before you know it, other food industry professionals will be looking to you for motivation.
- Host Exciting Contests – People love the prospect of winning free stuff – so take advantage of this!
On your restaurant’s social media platforms, advertise contests in which your followers can enter to win gift cards, free drinks or appetizers, meal discounts, and promotional gear (such as t-shirts, stickers, and hats). To enter a contest, you could ask social media users to follow your restaurant’s social accounts, repost your content, or take a creative photo of one of your dishes. You could even hold a contest in which you ask followers to submit ideas for a new menu item. Getting their feedback will be valuable to the success of your restaurant, and they’ll be excited about winning a giveaway!
Overall, contest parameters should benefit your restaurant and provide you with further exposure. In turn, a lucky winner will receive a great prize. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
- Advertise Upcoming Promotions – Want to make the most of the holiday season? Or perhaps you’re trying to generate a larger happy hour crowd? Utilizing social media, you can make achieving these goals possible. If you have a seasonal or other time-sensitive promotion, advertise it on all your social media accounts. Include an eye-catching image with your restaurant’s branding, so that customers can know exactly what you’re offering. By doing this, you will likely receive more sales than you would without social media advertising.
- Post Open Positions on LinkedIn – Although we recommend utilizing social media marketing to attract customers, it can also be helpful for recruiting new employees, too! Create a company profile for your restaurant on LinkedIn, and post new job postings on your account. You’ll be able to easily locate strong applicants, review their credentials, and contact them to set up an interview. Make your hiring process as seamless as possible, so that you can recruit assets to your team, and then be able to focus on other areas of your restaurant.
To learn how to post a job on LinkedIn, follow their simple instructions that are listed on this page.
- Update Your Facebook Business Page – Did you know that Facebook is the most popular social media platform for restaurants? If you’re not active on Facebook, you could be falling behind your competitors! Update your Facebook Business page to include your restaurant’s address, contact information, links to reservation sites that you partner with, and a description of your cuisine and ambiance. The more relevant details you can include, the better. If potential guests search for your restaurant on Facebook, you’ll want to ensure that they can find everything on your business’s page. If they can’t find what they need, they may move onto another restaurant instead.
To get started, create a page by selecting ‘local business or place.’
Then, you’ll be prompted to another page, where you’ll be able to add information about your restaurant.
- Respond to Online Reviews – Most likely, your restaurant is featured on listing sites like Yelp and Foursquare. These sites can be intimidating to restaurant owners, as one bad review can deter future patrons from visiting your establishment. Thankfully, there are ways to combat this. When you receive a review, regardless of whether it is positive or negative, always write a thoughtful, personalized response.
If a customer compliments your restaurant, thank them for their patronage and write that you are glad that they enjoyed their meal. This only takes a few moments, but further shows the customer that you appreciate their business. When customers express that they are unhappy with their experience at your restaurant, it is pivotal that you apologize, offer a solution, and aim to determine what caused any issues that occurred. To ensure that you and your staff are prepared to respond to online complaints about your restaurant, follow the tips in this post.
- Post on Social Media Frequently – You might think that if you post occasionally, it will be enough to attract followers to your restaurant. This is not the case. If you don’t consistently share social media updates with your followers, they’ll likely unfollow your accounts, or won’t see your content in the first place.
In addition to posting frequently, it is important to consider the type of establishment you run, and what your restaurant’s hours of operation are. For instance, if you own a coffee shop, you won’t benefit from advertising your latte specials during happy hour. So, you should schedule posts strategically, and ensure that you’re considering your restaurant’s schedule when promoting social posts.
Invest in Sponsored Posts – While organic efforts can be beneficial, you might gain a larger audience for your restaurant if you share sponsored posts. For instance, on Facebook, this will allow you to target users based on location, interest, income levels, among other factors. You might be wondering; how can this benefit my restaurant? Well, it’s simple. By targeting people that live near your restaurant’s location(s), you’ll pique their interest. When they see your sponsored post appear on their newsfeed, they’ll be more likely to engage than users who either don’t live in the area, or likely wouldn’t be interested.
10. Share Customers’ Content – Interact with patrons by sharing their content on your social pages (with their permission, of course). If a customer posts a photo on Instagram of one of your dishes, or writes a complimentary Yelp review, share this with your other followers. Not only will this likely inspire other followers to visit your establishment, but the person who posted it will be flattered that you’re utilizing their image or post. Although using social media for producing sales is pivotal, don’t become so focused on this that you aren’t putting effort into customer engagement! If you foster relationships with your patrons on social media, they’ll be more likely to remain loyal customers.
11. Hire a Social Media Manager – Owning a restaurant requires a wide range of responsibilities. Most likely, managing your restaurant’s social media pages will be difficult to maintain, in addition to ordering inventory, providing customer service, supervising employees, paying bills, among other tasks. Instead of putting social media marketing on the backburner, consider hiring a talented marketer, who can focus on your restaurant’s social media presence.
Unsure of the qualifications that your social media marketer should have? Check out this helpful list from Sprout Social.
- Include Multimedia Content – Regardless of the social media platform you’re using, you should include photos, videos, gifs, and other forms of multimedia content. In fact, it’s proven that by including visual content, you’ll likely receive more engagement. For instance, tweets that include images receive 150 percent more retweets than image-less tweets, and Facebook posts receive 2.3 times more engagement when they include an image. So, going forward, commit to including a photo, video, or other graphic with your social posts. Most likely, these components will be what catches users’ eyes, and will hopefully prompt them to read the text or click the link you’re advertising.
- Post Polls – Want to know what your customers think of your latest special? Create a poll on social media to find out their opinions! We recommend using Twitter, since the platform makes it easy to create polls and review the results. Below, you’ll see how to add a customized poll to your tweet.
Utilize polls to connect with customers and determine what is important to them. Having access to their insights through polls will enable you to improve your menu and overall customer experience.
14. Pay Attention to Social Media Analytics – Even if you are executing a myriad of social media marketing efforts, you can’t be successful if you don’t take time to analyze results. By doing this, you can determine what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to refine your social media strategies. To start, we suggest setting up Google Analytics for your restaurant’s website, if you haven’t already. Then, review the acquisition traffic you receive from each social network. By doing this, you can determine which platforms are generating the most referral traffic to your business’s website. If certain networks aren’t bringing in traffic, this tells you that you need to change the way you’re utilizing this platform.
In addition to using Google Analytics, we suggest checking out the analytics options offered by the social media platforms that you’re using. For instance, on Facebook, you can see how many people saw your post, in addition to how many users liked, shared, and commented on it. Below, you’ll find an example of this.
By reviewing the analytics provided by each platform you use, you can uncover data regarding which content is resonating with social users, and what isn’t. From there, you can create content based on these findings.
15. Partner with Other Brands or Businesses – Want to expand your audience, and in turn receive more business? Forge a partnership with a nearby restaurant, bakery, bar, or other business. Meet with the establishment’s marketing team, and determine how your establishments can enter a mutually beneficial partnership. For instance, you could conduct a joint giveaway, in which the winner wins something from both of your businesses. Or, you can hold some sort of event in which both businesses participate. Once you decide on a project, make sure that you both tag each other’s establishments in your social posts. Followers will likely be interested and click on your pages, helping you both gain new followers!
Now that you’ve learned about these 15 social media tips for restaurants, start implementing them! Using social media can allow you to increase sales, connect with patrons, and refine your restaurant’s brand, among other advantages. Once you create a consistent, successful social media strategy, you’ll be surprised at how your restaurant can benefit as a result.
If you have other social media marketing tips to share with fellow restaurant owners, tell us about them in the comment section below!