How to Effectively Market Your Restaurant on Social Media
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants is one of the most important ways your venue can connect with customers new and old, and appeal to them in an industry that is home to an endless variety of choice in cuisine, culinary experience and pricing.
Just being on Social Media isn’t enough – you need to know who you’re talking to (demographically), what they expect from you, and be posting high-quality content on a regular basis to ensure that you keep their attention. Having an effective Social Media strategy can boost your bookings and your reputation, and help you interact with your local community in a meaningful way.
Here’s 10 Ways You can Effectively Market Your Restaurant on Social Media:
You Need to Know Your Restaurant’s Marketing Goals
You mustn’t just start posting without having your Restaurant Social Media Strategy in place. You need to identify your goals first. Brand awareness, lead generation, and customer interaction are some of the reasons people turn to Social Media for marketing.
These are just some ideas on what you could aim for, you need to look at the unique needs of your venue and decide what you should be working on.
When running your strategy, it’s important that you keep to one or two goals at a time – you don’t want to dilute the effectiveness of your work by aiming for too many things at once; as they say – too many cooks spoil the broth!
You Need to Fill in Your Restaurant Profile on Multiple Channels
You need to have profiles on different Social Media platforms to see any progress and to make sure your Restaurant is accurately represented. Everyone is on Facebook. Have accounts on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. It’s worth doing a little research on your target audience first though – whilst you should create accounts on all the major social channels, you don’t want to waste your time creating specialised content and heavily promoting on a platform they aren’t going to use.
Is Gen Z a big audience for you? Well, most of them are on Snapchat but they might not be hanging around LinkedIn.
Whichever channels you use, you need to make sure that your contact information, opening hours and any dietary restrictions or accessibility issues are clearly displayed, and updated whenever a change is made.
You Need to Develop a Consistent Voice for Your Brand
Creating a consistent voice is something all the best restaurants and brands do. Just look at Sweetgreen; whether you’re on their app, their Social Media pages, or in their store, you are presented with a clear and consistent message. Their brand is recognizable even if you can’t see their logo.
Having a consistent message and speaking with one voice, means your brand is much more than just somewhere people can get something to eat. It allows the guest to relate to you and your restaurant, it builds an emotional connection and keeps your venue in the forefront of their thoughts – which is essential when it comes to the decision making process.
Social Media for Restaurants is an extension of the guest experience, it’s often the first place a new customer will discover you – and somewhere where others can give their opinion of your food, services and brand as a whole. You need to give every customer the best possible experience every time.
You Need to Serve Up Delicious Content Daily
To keep your Restaurant in the minds of your current customers, and to appeal to new diners – you must post content regularly. No one is going to be interested in an account that hasn’t posted anything in a few weeks or is too sporadic with their updates. You want to be encouraging your online guests to not just follow your channels – but to get involved with your posts and want to see more.
Be sure to post fresh, new content regularly to ensure you appear in homepages and timelines. Posting on a schedule gives you the chance to stand out from the crowd, and gives your audience a sense of familiarity – if they know when you’re going to post, they’ll be more likely to stop by the pages and see what’s new.
Restaurants have an abundance of different types of content they can create and areas they can promote – from teasing new menu items to behind the scenes looks in the kitchen, to sharing customer feedback and celebrating milestone events, you can easily source content ideas to turn into Social Media posts.
Give Your Diners Good Reasons to Follow You and Get Involved
People aren’t going to follow you on Social Media without good reason. They are likely going to follow you because they are curious about what you can offer them – this could be entertaining or interesting content, exclusive promotions, a connection with celebrities or Influencers, or some other incentive.
Be sure that you post content that is worth seeing – these channels are advertising and representing your business, you want to make sure your guests are seeing it at its best. Avoid overdoing promotion too, as this can turn customers away and get them to unfollow you. There’s a difference between posting regularly and spamming a person’s feed. Learn this difference, and don’t cross that line – make sure you know what the optimum posting amounts are for each channel before you start crafting your content.
Encourage Your Guests To Share Their Experiences With You
User-Generated Content (content created by your guests that involve you and your restaurant) is great for brand awareness, building your reputation and encouraging trust. When your guests create their content about you – they’re sharing your brand with a wider audience – their friends and social network are going to see the content they are sharing and be influenced by what your guest has to say about you.
By sharing this content – you are achieving a few things at once; you’re filling in part of your posting schedule with content you’ve not had to create yourself, you’re showing your guest that you appreciate the time and effort they’ve taken to create the content, and you’re showing your wider audience that your restaurant is such a great place that people want to talk about you.
You Absolutely Must Respond to Your Reviews – Good and Bad
Responding to online reviews is one of the most important things you should do – many people won’t take the time to leave a review, so it’s important that you appreciate the ones who have – even the negative ones, because the customer might be unhappy now, but they’re giving you a second opportunity to make the situation right and win their loyalty. Addressing negative reviews and showing your appreciation for positive ones gives your business a friendly and approachable persona online, it shows that you care about your customer’s experience and are willing to make an effort if things don’t go quite according to plan – not to mention, by responding to your positive reviews, you’re doubling the amount of positive sentiment associated with your brand that can be indexed by a Search Engine.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your flaws, and be public about addressing and trying to improve on them. A good restaurant Social Media strategy sees negative reviews as a chance to address problems and turn disappointed customers into potential brand advocates.
8. Offer Exclusive Promotions to Your Online Guests
Even the smallest exclusive promotion or coupon could be great for business and customers. It can be something as simple as giving customers free breadsticks in exchange for sharing a picture of their meal at your restaurant, or using a specially created hashtag associated with your restaurant in their post. It gives you a second shout-out and encourages customers to get involved with you on Social Media. You are rewarding them for taking the time to talk about you. There’s also a good chance those people will share their promotions with others, which can lead to you getting more business for your restaurant. It’s a win-win situation.
9.Capitalise on Trending Topics that Are Appropriate To Your Restaurant
We’ve all seen businesses jump on Social Media trends and have a good time of it all. Jumping on an already established and trending topic on Social Media is a brilliant way to improve the exposure for your Social Media posts; especially if you can chime in with a clever take on the trending topic. The strategy is known as “newsjacking” and it means everyone following the trend sees your post. Don’t be afraid to try it for yourself – just make sure that you know what the trend, related hashtags and subject are really about before you get involved, and that they’re appropriate for your Restaurant – if you don’t do your research and get involved in something inappropriate, you’re going to damage your reputation.
10. Host Contests Online for Your Guests
Hosting contests is a great way of building new connections and interacting with your restaurant customers on Social Media. Everyone loves free food after all. Host fun games such as caption contests with coupons for free food up for grabs to engage customers and get people talking. What’s so great about this is that there’s an almost endless array of contests you can host. These contents offer fast and effective results for fans and restaurants alike. You build a rapport with your regular guests, inspire new custom and promote stronger emotional bonds with your growing community.
Social Media is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for interacting with customers, increasing your reputation and creating a community that supports your restaurant. When you get your social media strategy right, you will see increased interaction with your brand and the tables in your establishment filling up.