Restaurants and diners are some of those businesses that always have a steady stream of customers all year round. That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t benefit from a marketing strategy. On the contrary, social media for restaurants is part of a thriving online campaign.
Read on to learn more about how you can harness social media for your restaurants’ promotional campaigns to attract patrons.
— Mamma Mia Pizzeria (@MammaMiaOxford) May 29, 2017
Get ready for the most hunger inducing article to ever appear on this blog!
Why your restaurant needs social media
Just like with any other businesses, there are many benefits to using social media for restaurants:
- Social media is cost-effective: Trying to reach out to diners beyond your place’s immediate neighborhood is always a good idea. Social media gives you a way to do that without needing to spend a lot of money on promotions.
- It can be used to interact with customers: Social media gives you a platform to engage your customers even if after they have left your place. For example, you can use it to hear about any criticism or compliments they may have. You can also use it to connect with reviewers, influencers, and potential business partners who can help boost your place’s prominence.
- Social media can enhance dining experience: People love to share their experiences, and that includes while they are dining out. By encouraging your patrons to share their experiences on social media, your restaurant gets exposed to even more potential customers.
- Social media for brand loyalty: Brand loyalty not only earns you a constant stream of regular customers but also brings in new ones. You can build that brand loyalty much faster by using social media.
These are not the only benefits you can get from social media. By learning how to use it the right way, your restaurant will surely gain a lot more in the long run.
Choosing the right social media platforms
Finding the right social media platform for restaurants to build their online presence on is an important first step in harnessing its power.
Instagram and Pinterest
One thing worth noting when it comes to restaurant promotions is that it relies heavily on visual presentation. While all social media sites let you share visual media, you would want to make your presence known on those that have them as their main purpose. Two such sites to make the most of are Instagram and Pinterest.
Instagram is pretty well known as being one of the birthplaces for the current online food photography craze. The current fad involves people sharing photos of food they are eating with their friends and family using social media. If you are looking to join on the trend, this site is definitely the one you would want to be on.
On the other hand, Pinterest is a great place to connect with your audience and share food ideas.
You can also use it to increase the visibility of your Instagram and other social media posts. All you need to do is pin content from the other accounts to your Pinterest boards. By using our Pinterest Repins Service, you can further increase their reach.
Due to its large number of users, Facebook is another social media for restaurants to create a significant presence on. Take your time when building your page. Make sure it is consistent with your brand identity on other platforms. For instance, use your restaurant’s color scheme as a predominant motif in your profile and cover images.
Explore the different options available to you when you post content on your page. For instance, you can change the background color of a short post to catch more attention. Putting images and videos in your photos also works well for attracting attention.
It is important to avoid overwhelming your visitors with too much self-promotion. Use your page to engage them further by providing a variety of content. Creating discussion posts also helps in engaging your audience.
Twitter is always a useful site to be on if you are looking to reach out to customers in real time. Good examples would be announcements and promotions that you would want your customers to read about in the shortest possible time. It can also be used for customer service. Finally, you can also reach out to influencers, like food bloggers and chefs, who can help promote your place.
Happy Saturday! pic.twitter.com/9xmuH7drSO
— Top Pot Doughnuts (@Toppot) May 27, 2017
Getting a lot of retweets is one way you can get a lot of exposure on this platform. Special offers, promotions, new menu items, and events are some of the content that have the potential of getting you a lot of retweets. By using services like bought retweets, you can increase the visibility of your messages and attract more retweets.
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but YouTube is also one of the social media for restaurants to work with. There is a variety of video content you can upload to the site, including:
- Menu highlights
- Interviews with your chefs and staff
- Customer testimonials
And many other features. You can go further and create your own online food show, just like Chipotle:
One thing to remember is that your video content should not just be seen on YouTube. Share them on your other social media accounts as well as your website. This helps attract more viewers to both your videos and the channel as a whole.
Apart from the other more obvious social media for restaurants, Yelp is also another site that you would want to be on. This is a site where users can post and share reviews of their favorite eating places. Yelp can also make you more visible to people searching for restaurants on Google. The key to being discovered on Yelp is having a well-made page.
You also need to carefully consider the category in which you would place your business in. This will help improve your position in search results. Encouraging your customers to write reviews also contributes to increasing your visibility. Just try to get a 5 star rating:
Foursquare is a mobile application that lets its users discover and share information about establishments. What is great about the app is that it lets restaurants easily offer incentives to customers checking-in their place. This encourages them to frequent your place more and promote it to their peers.
Promoting your place on social media
Creating a social media marketing plan
A marketing plan is a useful tool to have when deciding how to effectively use social media. There are four parts of the plan you need to consider:
- Audience: Think about who your regular customers are and which crowd it is you want to attract attention from. You should also consider what social media sites they are more likely to use.
- Message: Come up with a clear message you want to pass on to your target crowd. This will serve as a guide to the kind of content to post on your accounts.
- Concept: Your message should also be closely tied with your restaurant’s concept. For instance, you can emphasize that your place is well suited for after-work chat or celebrations.
- Competition: Take a peek into what other restaurants within your area are doing on social media to attract more customers. Use the information to come up with “unique” tactics of your own.
These points can be laid out in a simple plan to create your initial presence. From there, regularly revise it to accommodate changes.
Creating your content
The right content is an important element when it comes to effectively executing your social marketing plan. One thing to keep in mind about content on social media for restaurants is that you should not limit yourself to standard promotional materials. Look for fresh ways to present your content to further entice your audience.
For instance, instead of the usual poster image announcing your latest in-house promotion, you can use animated GIF’s or a short video teaser about the menu you serve.
✔Savoury ✔Hearty ✔Delicious ???Our Bangus Sisig is one of a kind. For those who is not into meaty dishes this is just perfect for you! And for those who prefer meat, this one is incredibly tasty you just might include this to your top fish dishes!#love #bangus #sisig #BeatrixCafePh #alldaybreakfast #cafeph #somethingfishy #homegrown #sanjosedelmonte #bulacan #philippines #supportlocal
Posted by Beatrix Cafe on Saturday, October 1, 2016
This makes them more attention-grabbing. You can also share your menu of the day this way.
Exclusive social media promos are great as a content idea. The trick here is to announce these offers during the times when the most number of customers are expected to come. Do this on a regular basis to give your customers an incentive to follow you on social media.
Going beyond food
For restaurants to really stand out they need to offer more than just food when it comes to social media marketing. Sometimes, the place itself becomes a selling point for the restaurant. Create content focusing on the various other amenities you have to offer. They could be anything from reading corners to in-house events. The Elysee Greek Restaurant in London, for instance, has an amusing amenity it promotes a lot.
Our live music, including plate smashing, is featured in our main restaurant MON to SAT. Don't miss out on the fun! pic.twitter.com/hOJgicNy9S
— The Elysée (@The_Elysee) July 11, 2016
When talking about your amenities, though, don’t do it in a sales-like manner. Instead, focus on what customers can expect and experience.
Another way to do this is by offering “behind the scenes” content. You can focus on how your most popular dishes get prepared while giving tips along the way about food preparation. Maybe you could focus on some of your more popular staff members and showcase their day at work. All this helps create an image of a people-friendly place that is your restaurant.
Engaging your customers on social media
Doing customer service
Professionalism is key for an effective customer service effort on social media. Treat the customer inquiries you receive on your social media accounts like those you would get from customers in your establishment. Be conversational in your tone to put them at ease and respond to their questions quickly and clearly.
?Awesome Anthony! U rock!
— CoreLife Eatery (@eatatcore) May 16, 2017
You can also be proactive with your customer service approach by using your social media accounts to provide valuable information. For instance, you can post about the various events that are taking place at your restaurant. Alternatively, you can post about other establishments you think your patrons should also check out. These establishments would be more than happy to thank you and promote you to their own patrons.
Don’t limit customer engagement on social media to just a few employees. Get everyone involved in the effort. This makes your brand more relatable and tangible. Oversee your employees’ response to customers on social media to avoid mistakes but don’t be too strict with them to keep the posts authentic.
Showing appreciation for your customers
One good way to earn return customers is by showing appreciation for their patronage. Apart from the usual “Thank You” messages you can feature them in your social media posts.
Sharing user-generated content is another way to say thanks to loyal customers. The most common form of content that come from patrons are photos and posts pertaining to their experience in your place. However, some of your more loyal fans could go further and create things like fan art to show their support.
You can also take this a full circle and create a social media wall within your premises to proudly showcase them to your other customers. Your loyal patrons will appreciate it even more.
Increase your presence on social media and get more people ordering
As you can see, there are many benefits to being on social media for restaurants. But to reap the fruits, you should build your presence on it the right way.
- Know which ones to be on: Focusing on the platforms that your patrons frequent will ensure that they see your latest menu and drop by for lunch or dinner.
- Go beyond food: By creating an engaging social media experience for your customers, you increase the chances that they will recommend your place to their friends and followers.
- Show appreciation for your customers: Don’t end your patrons’ dining experience by just saying “Thank you for coming” as they leave. Show your appreciation by continuously engaging them on social media long after they have left.
Follow these useful pointers and you will soon be the place to go to and have customers lining up for a meal.