Ever wondered how some restaurants are always busy, even at times when other restaurants on the same high street are experiencing a dip in business? Well, the answer you are looking for is probably ‘social media for restaurants’.
In this guide, we will try and help you understand what social media marketing for restaurants is all about and how you can cover the basics so you too can start getting more customers through the door.
Restaurant owners need not only take part in social media marketing and its ever-changing trends, but it should form a large part of their marketing plan. Why? Because as a restaurant owner it will earn you a competitive edge.
Social media is used not only by your competitors but also by your customers. It is used by people of all ages and demographics, and your absence means your business is missing out on the free exposure that comes with social media.
We see people glued to their phones everywhere you go and as a result of this many have come to the conclusion that social media makes us ‘anti-social’. But social media in itself is all about socialising.
With a single click of a button, you can connect with friends, family, get an idea of what others are doing, be acquainted with major events happening in your area, and engage with individuals from different walks of life.. As a matter of fact, every like, share or comment is an interaction.
A mere presence on social media grants you an opportunity to interact with your clients and keep your business in the forefront of their minds even when they aren’t in your restaurant.
Furthermore, using social media gives your customers the ability to positively review your business, share images of special events or even mention your accomplishment as something to be celebrated.
In other words, social media is the digital form of word of mouth and your daily communication with your customers.
Well, social media is a fast growing industry yet very dynamic with often new applications and new trends to understand. This blog will address the fundamentals of social media marketing for a restaurant with respect to the best platforms to focus on, what you will be required to share and how to expand follower base.
The basic platforms for a restaurant include Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business. These are the most important platforms that will prove significant for your restaurant. Let’s review each one of them.
This is perhaps the most essential social media platform for restaurants with not only the largest but also with the most diverse audience compared to any other. Indeed, not having one translates to a fail in marketing in today’s world.
In addition, Facebook offers a variety of ways to communicate with your customers. For instance, clients can write a review on your page, visit your web, upload images to your page and tag you in them, and chat to you via messenger in case of questions that need to be addressed.
Even though Facebook has the lion share of the social media marketing, the role of Instagram is also significant in the restaurant industry. In fact, underestimating its potential can be a costly mistake.
It is an entirely photo-based platform with food photos ranking highest consistently. Admittedly, they are responsible for the abhorrent tendency of people taking photos of their foods rather than eating- yet you can take advantage of it to expand your business.
It is meant for people to take photos and post them for their followers to see.
To make your content easier to see, it is important to look for unique and specific tags. You can even geotag your content so people can easily locate your address and where the photo was taken leading to more foot traffic.
A huge number of restaurant goers are on Instagram so having an Instagram account will allow them to post photos celebrating an event in your restaurant and tag your Instagram account for their friends and family to see, which can help increase your exposure.
Though not a social media platform, your presence here is crucial in marketing your restaurant via social media. It is an online platform that allows businesses to add their business on Google maps, lets customers tag their pictures via GPS, and gives customers the ability to post Google reviews.
One of the first things people do whenever they hear of a new restaurant or café is to often check out its reviews on Google. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your business appears on Google Maps and you get your customers to post their reviews. This will also enhance your Google search rankings.
This is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing and involves what you post; your photos and the status update you post to your audience. The most effective way of increasing and retaining your audience is to share quality content.
It is not all about posting but the strategy behind it. You should be creative enough and avoid posting the same thing over and over. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience. It is recommended that you divide the content you share into three categories as follows.
The content should focus on facilitating business to your restaurant. This may involve photos of your most popular dishes, an advert of your beverages or a promotion of your catering. The information may also be in relation to ways of getting in touch with you.
This may relate to reviews from customers, snaps of your meals with striking captions. Appropriate quotes, or facts regarding the food you serve.
The contents shared in this section can come from local events in which you are a participant of, a review that may have featured in a blog or local paper, an article about the details of your dishes and so on.
Remember the motivation behind social media marketing is to keep in touch with your customers. Avoid speaking at them but rather speak with them. You can avoid being a victim of speaking at your audience by avoiding posting too many sales posts.
You may feel a bit apprehensive if you’ve never done any photo or design work before to come up with striking content for your restaurant, but don’t worry, it is possible.
Remember, people, become good at what they do by studying. The best thing to do in this instance is to study social media accounts of competitors and bloggers in the food industry.
Look at the most liked posts and determine whether there are common themes or styles. Take note of all the design elements you come across and incorporate them into your own content.
The success of the social media marketing of your restaurant will live and die by the quality of the photos you take. If you can afford a professional photographer, do not hesitate to hire one.
If you cannot afford such services, then applying the following tips with your phone can help you maximise the quality of your photos:
1 – Make your photos bright and colourful – photos are taken in good lighting attractive and draw the attention of viewers.
2 – Work that angle – Shooting at an angle will lead to unique images.
3 – Use high-resolution photos – nothing is worse than a granny pixelated image to put people off
4 – Do not forget to use filters – filters enhance the quality of your photos, so make sure you use them.
Another effective way of increasing exposure for your business on social media is by acquiring the services of a local blogger. You can offer them a discounted meal and ask them to feature your dishes in their posts.
Using images of your customers means you really pay attention to their posts and this may encourage them to post even more. So try to use as much user-generated content as possible.
The simple answer is yes. There must be a motivation behind every post. You are likely to have many views if you post when people are not working. Consider the time that draws most customers and post during those hours.
Getting the content seen is a very significant step. The two main tactics you can use when increasing your followers is targeted followers and engagement.
Just as the name suggests, it means following the right people. There are many ways to skin a cat but the most common one is to follow hashtags relevant to your industry. Instagram will always provide an option of tags related to your search along with the most performing posts.
Follow the users who liked the post. One the most effective strategy is following competitors’ followers. There is a high possibility that those who recently liked their photos can follow you back. It is important to have more followers than you are following. Therefore, regularly check and clear those who did not follow you back.
Your content is insignificant if no one interacts with it. It is better to have a small engaged audience than a large but inactive one. Ensure the content you share intrigues and encourages response.
Ask thought-invoking questions, trigger a debate and offer promotions such as a gift card to followers. Remember engagement is a two-way thing. Respond to customers’ comments or reviews.
In conclusion, the most effective social platforms for your business include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ensure that the content you share is clear with bright images of the dishes you offer.
Rather than stopping at that, go ahead and tell customers the story behind your business. Be conversational and respond to all their comments and reviews.
Always check what individuals share within your location through Instagram. Be patient and persistent. Once you complete the basics covered here, you can start exploring other new platforms and tools to keep growing your business.