Ever since Facebook came to light, a new era of social media marketing has begun for restaurants.
Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are also examples of powerful platforms that restaurant owners can use to reach out to potential and current customers.
According to a 2019 MGH survey, 45% of US diners said they’ve tried a restaurant because of a social post. And this number is said to increase in the coming years as social media users continue to grow.
If you’re an owner of an independent restaurant, it’s time to start utilizing social media in your marketing strategy.
Not sure where to start?
Check out this guide to restaurant social media marketing. It provides simple tips on how to use social media to reach your target market and grow your restaurant business.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
If you’re an owner of an independent restaurant, you may be wondering how social media marketing can help your business.
Franchise and chain restaurants might have the advantage when it comes to marketing budgets, but that doesn’t mean social media marketing can’t be beneficial for smaller businesses.
In fact, social media marketing can level the playing field and help you reach your target market without breaking the bank.
Some businesses even start thinking about opening a second location because of the success they experience from social media marketing.
Their organic traffic and followers increase so much that the consumers themselves demand a second location!
But before jumping into a new investment opportunity, it’s best to think about the right time to open a second location. As they say, slow and steady wins the race.
Now without further ado, here are some benefits of using social media for your independent restaurant:
1. It’s cost-effective
Compared to other marketing channels, social media is relatively inexpensive. You can create and post content for free. The only cost you might incur is if you choose to run ads.
2. It’s efficient
You can reach a large number of people without spending a lot of time or money. All you need is a smart social media strategy and some creative content.
3. It’s interactive
Social media provides a two-way communication channel. You can not only post content but also engage with your audience. This way, you can build relationships with them and create a loyal customer base.
4. It’s targeted
You can target your posts to a specific audience. For example, if you want to reach young adults in a certain geographic location, you can target your ads accordingly.
5. It’s measurable
Unlike other marketing channels, social media is highly measurable. You can track your posts’ engagement rate and analyze your audience’s demographics. This way, you can fine-tune your strategy and create better content.
Now that you know the benefits of restaurant social media marketing, let’s take a look at how you can get started.
Getting Started with Restaurant Social Media Marketing
Having a social media marketing strategy is important for any business, and this is especially true for restaurants.
Because the restaurant industry is highly competitive. In order to stand out, you need to have a plan.
So before jumping into multiple social media platforms, there are a few things you need to do to set yourself up for success:
1. Search for Relevant Platform You Need
First, you need to identify your target market’s social media platforms.
According to the PEW research center 2021 report on social media use, if you’re targeting young adults, you might want to be active on Snapchat and Instagram.
If you’re targeting an older demographic, Facebook might be a better platform for you.
Picking a social media platform should be based on where your target market is most active. So ensure that you’re doing your research before deciding which platform to use.
Of course, you can use multiple platforms to boost your reach. But when you’re just starting, it’s best to focus on one or two platforms that you can excel at.
2. Define Your Brand Identity and Voice
Your social media presence should reflect your restaurant’s brand identity.
Your posts should have a consistent style and voice that represents your business. This way, your audience will be able to recognize your content even if they’re not familiar with your restaurant.
Your brand identity should also be reflected in your profile picture and cover photo. So make sure to choose images that represent your business well.
3. Ensure Your Website it Up-to-date
A restaurant’s social media marketing strategy cannot be complete without a professional website. After all, your website is the foundation of your online presence.
It should be up-to-date and reflect your restaurant’s brand identity. This way, when people visit your website, they’ll get a good idea of your business.
Make sure to include important information such as your menu, contact information, and location. You might also want to include an online booking system or a link to your delivery service.
You should also ensure that it’s mobile-friendly.
Did you know that Americans check their phones around 344 times per day?
So if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re likely losing out on a lot of potential customers.
And if you’re planning on starting delivery services, using Orders.co can get you the start your business needs by developing a personalized website and a commission-free direct ordering!
4. Create High-Quality Content
Once you have your website up and running, it’s time to start creating content.
Your content should be high-quality, relevant, and engaging. It should also be optimized for the social media platform you’re using.
For example, if you’re using Instagram, your content should be visually appealing. This means using beautiful photos and videos that represent your brand.
If you’re using Facebook, your content can be a mix of photos, videos, and text.
No matter what platform you’re using, make sure that your content is original and reflects your brand’s identity.
5. Interact with Your Audience on Your Social Media Accounts
Social media is a two-way street.
It’s not enough to just post content and hope that people will see it. You need to interact with your audience on a regular basis. This means responding to comments, answering questions, and sharing other people’s content.
You show that you’re invested in your online presence when you interact with your audience. This, in turn, will make people more likely to visit your restaurant.
6. Measure Your Success
After you try out a restaurant marketing strategy, you need to measure its success. This way, you can identify what’s working and what’s not.
There are a few metrics you can track, such as your reach, engagement, website traffic, and conversions.
You can also use tools like Google Analytics to track your progress. By measuring your success, you can make sure that you’re using your time and resources effectively.
8 Restaurant Social Media Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Online Presence
There are many restaurant social media accounts out there. But with so much competition, how can you make sure that your business stands out?
Here are seven social media marketing tactics that will help boost your online presence:
1. Use Appropriate Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to reach new audiences and promote your content.
When you use hashtags, make sure to use ones that are relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a pizza restaurant, you might use hashtags like #pizza or #food.
You can also use hashtags to promote specific campaigns or offers. For example, you might use a hashtag like #freedelivery to promote your restaurant’s delivery service.
2. Cross-promote Your Social Media Channels
If you have multiple social media accounts, make sure to cross-promote them.
For example, you can include links to your various accounts on your website or in your bio. This way, people can easily find and follow you on the platform of their choice.
You can also post content from one platform on another. For example, you can share your Instagram photos on your Facebook page.
3. Share Recipes in Your Posts
People love to see recipes, especially if they’re easy to follow.
For example, a wine shop can share a wine pairing recipe on its Instagram account that can be a well-suited Friday evening dinner idea for its loyal customers.
If you have a blog or website, you can share recipes in your posts. You can also share recipes on your social media sites.
Make sure to include photos or videos of the finished dish, as this will make your content more appealing.
4. Post-Behind-the-Scenes Content
As more people look for authenticity and transparency, behind-the-scenes content is becoming increasingly popular.
This type of content gives your audience a glimpse into your business and makes them feel like they’re part of your story.
Some ideas for behind-the-scenes content include photos or videos of your kitchen, staff, or customers.
5. Host Social Media Contests
Contests and giveaways are a great way to engage your audience and promote your restaurant.
To enter, all people have to do is follow your social media account and share your contest post. Then, you randomly select a winner from the list of entrants.
Make sure to promote your contest or giveaway in advance so people have time to enter. You can send an email to your subscribers or post about it on your social media accounts.
6. Post Your Menu on Your Social Pages
Make it easy for people to find your menu by posting it on your social media accounts.
You can take pictures of your dishes and post them on Instagram or Facebook. You can also share your menu on your website or blog.
If you have a digital menu, you can share the link on your social media accounts.
You can even use paid ads on social media sites like Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads to advertise new food items on your delivery menu or to promote your happy hour specials.
7. Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to promote your restaurant. This type of content is created by your customers and can be in the form of photos, videos, or reviews.
When you use UGC, make sure to give credit to the creator. You can do this by tagging them in your post or including their username in your caption.
Not only does this show that you appreciate your customers, but it also encourages them to create more content.
Food bloggers or influencers can also be powerful UGC creators. You can collaborate with them by sending them free meals in exchange for a review or social media mention.
8. Promote socials in-store
A great way to increase your online presence is to promote your restaurant’s social media accounts in-store. This can be done by displaying your account names and handles on menus, flyers, business cards, and any other marketing materials.
You can also encourage customers to follow or check in to your accounts by offering discounts or giving away freebies.
For example, you can offer promos only available to social media followers, such as “show us you follow and get a free drink”.
Plan Your Restaurant’s Social media Strategy and Increase Your Online Presence
It’s time to put your social media strategy in place and start interacting with potential customers online!
Just keep in mind the following:
- Ensure to map out your target audience, the platforms they use, and the type of content they engage with.
- Remember to keep your tone engaging and professional, and post interesting content that will make people want to learn more about your restaurant.
- Don’t forget to track your post’s success by analyzing your social media analytics. This will help you understand what’s working and what you can improve on.
By following these tips and increasing your online presence, you’ll be one step closer to boosting sales and expanding your customer base.