It’s no mystery that social media is much more than a place to share moments of life, watch 9gag, or watch cute pets videos. Whether we like or not, it also became a part of the offline side of life. Social media is now also an important part of business – it’s another marketing channel for all sorts of businesses, both online and brick and mortar businesses.
Car workshops, online stores, architecture firms, personal trainers, music bands and funeral houses – for better or for worse – are already present in social media. It includes restaurants.
Much have been written and said about social media marketing for online businesses: SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies, online stores, or new technologies.
But what if you’ve just opened your donut shop around the corner and want to build proper online reputation to have more customers and grow your business?
To help you out, I prepared a guide to restaurant social media marketing.
A Few Important Numbers
The impact of social media on both the online and the offline is massive.
- 93% of consumers admits that online reviews impact their decisions.
- 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 68% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.
- 75% of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media.
Social media and online reviews are the social proof restaurants need in order to develop and thrive.
A spot-on restaurant social media marketing is a must.
What You Need From Restaurant Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for your restaurant is an investment that takes time, effort and money. If done properly, the return on the investment is huge.
Your goals here are simple:
Let the world know you exist. Prove your place is better than your competitor’s. Make them stop by.
Let’s do it
Tip 1. Create proper restaurant social media profiles.
Restaurant social media marketing starts with a basic task – creating proper profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I’m pretty sure that Facebook and Instagram will be your main channels, but have also a Twitter account. Just in case.
This is what proper means:
Proper on Facebook means all relevant information is there:
And here’s proper on Twitter:
To sum up, all above-mentioned profiles contain a short description, a link to their websites, and address.
A proper social media profile of a restaurant contains one more thing: a unique branding.
People judge the book by its cover so in order to attract attention of social media users, you need to have beautiful branding: logo, branded
images and a unique restaurant hashtag.
Tip 2. Use social media monitoring.
Restaurant social media marketing can hugely benefit from social media monitoring.
To put it simply, social media monitoring tools collect in real time all online mentions of predefined keywords.
This may include, for example, your restaurant name and your restaurant hashtag.
It’s a simple yet powerful tool to handle at least a couple areas of your online presence:
- Reputation monitoring.
- Influencer marketing.
- Finding customers.
- Customer service.
There’s much more to social media monitoring but this is perfectly enough for a restaurant entering the market.
If you feel like this is something you need, you can give it a try and play around for free.
Tip 3. Take and post beautiful photos.
Great photos are an inevitable part of restaurant social media marketing.
Great photos sell stuff.
Make sure that photos from your restaurant are no different.
Take a leaf from Piada Italian Street Food’s book:
#GlutenFree doesn't have to be #basic ? Introducing New Menu Reveal #3 – the Super Greens Bowl. Shaved brussel sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, kale, glazed chickpeas, bruschetta tomatoes, almonds, parmesan & harissa vinaigrette. Now wipe the drool off your screen & tag your Gluten Free frenz. Lunch date 10/10? Link in bio for new menu.
Damn, I gotta grab something to eat now!
Visual content is superior to any other form of content. It’s easier to absorb, stays in mind and, in the case of food, whets the appetite. Food is visual.
Canva (BTW a great and simple tool for graphic design) presents some interesting numbers of importance in restaurant social media marketing:
- Tweets accompanied by images receive 150% more retweets.
- Facebook posts accompanied by images receive 2.3 times more engagement.
You can use Canva to create brand social media images for your restaurant.
The food your restaurant serves is a commodity. You need to show it off!
Tip 4. Participate, engage and share.
Your restaurant is a part of a local community. Support local events, partake in initiatives and come up with some.
For example, there’s a bike race in your area. Get in touch with organizers and set up your stand and offer your coffee.
Another example. There’s the World Book Day. Announce in your social media that every person that comes to your restaurant and reads book will get a discount.
The last example. If you run a pizza place, create a Facebook event inviting people to the movie night you will organize and watch some movies about pizza.
Options are endless here.
Tip 5. Find your customers.
Find your customers in social media and invite them in.
People travelling to other cities often ask in social media for restaurant recommendations.
You, as restaurant, with the help of social media monitoring, can identify these social media posts asking for recommendations. Then, you reach out to this person and present him or her with your offer.
All you need is social media monitoring and a well optimized project.
Yep, you have to fight for every single customer also in social media.
Tip 6. Host social media contests.
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop does it well.
They organize caption contests for food coupons. The most talented and lucky author gets a coupon to spend the next time her or she visits their restaurant.
It builds closer relationships with customers and engages them. Also, all sorts of contests attract people because it’s a chance to save some money. A penny saved is a penny earned.
Tip 7. Use emojis.
I can’t believe I’m actually writing these words: emojis are a marketing tool.
In fact, you can now post an emoji to order a pizza on Domino’s Twitter. This simple solution won a Titanium Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity! That’s a next level restaurant social media marketing!
Don’t forget about Taco Bell’s marketing campaign on the occasion of bringing to life a taco emoji.
A study from University of Missouri-St. Louis proves that emojis have a positive socio-economic impact and influence human emotions.
Data from Zazzle media shows that social media posts with emojis have a 57% higher like rate, a 33% higher comment rate and a 33% higher share rate.
I think we have the social proof. Now back to restaurant social media marketing.
THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD EMOJIS YOU CAN USE!
Use them in reasonable amounts in your social media posts.
Tip 8. Monitor your reputation.
Restaurant social media marketing involves monitoring social media mentions of your restaurant.
It’s particularly crucial for newly-opened restaurants gaining the initial traction both online and offline.
Monitoring social media mentions about your restaurant increases, what social media reach they generate, you see the most influential sources that mention your restaurant name (an influential flood blogger? an online food magazine?).
The number of social mentions and their social media reach is represented on a chart so that you can quickly identify spikes in volume of mentions and social media reach.
Track them and see who mentions your restaurant name. Who knows, maybe you made it to a blog post about new promising restaurants in your town!
Tip 9. Do Facebook ads.
Facebook ads are a blessing for restaurant social media marketing – they provide rich targeting options.
The great thing is that Facebook offers geotargeting. It means you can advertise only to people in your area.
Also, you can specify age groups, or target people of certain interest, likes and followed pages.
Facebook ads are a topic for another day but you should definitely go for it.
Tip 10. Show the behind-the-scenes.
Share moments and anecdotes from the backstage of your restaurant – it works great in building relationships with customers over social media.
Show your employees, introduce them and place into spotlight. Show the people that make the magic happen.
So much fun at @theimproper #BostonsBest party tonight! The sibs @ireneshiangli @andrewsli @mei23 had so much fun dressing up as ???(ok there's no pea emoji) at the @bostonpublicmarket stand and seeing old friends. Thanks for having us and picking us as #bestfoodtruck this year! #theimproper #theimproperbostonian
It humanizes your restaurant and fosters the relationship between you and your followers and customers. They will be more likely to recommend your place!
Tip 11. Gather customer feedback.
You can do it without bothering your customers. Here’s how.
Restaurant social media marketing can massively benefit from social media monitoring.
People in social media share their experiences. They might be talking about their visit in your restaurant: if they liked the menu, if this pasta was overdone, if they missed this one brand of beer.
Customer feedback is priceless for restaurants making their first steps.
Tracking social mentions of your restaurant lets you can gather customer feedback without bothering your customers – you just read what they posted about your restaurant.
It’s always good to respond, no matter if a review is positive or negative. Remember to respond!
Can you believe that Paris Creperie responds to every single online review?! How cool is that!
Here’s a great example of restaurant social media marketing: a restaurant was monitoring relevant phrase and learned about the problems mothers with babies face – they miss changing tables in restaurants. See how it ended!
Tip 12. Use Instagram hashtags.
Hashtag do not only look cool but they are your way to show your restaurant to the world.
Contrary to other social media platforms, Instagram hashtags work really, really well. If used knowingly, they are a great help in getting exposure for your restaurant in social media.
Focus on using trending hashtags. Then your Instagram post will be featured among the most popular posts at a given time. The chances of getting noticed increase. Don’t forget to use your town name as a hashtag! Launch Instagram hashtag campaigns. Contests, coupons, lotteries, giveaways, events at your restaurant. They all can become hashtag campaigns: easy to spread, boosting awareness, and easy to measure.
The performance of your hashtags can be tracked using social media monitoring. Here’s you can find more information about Instagram hashtag analytics.
To keep up with trending hashtags, you can use RiteTag. Here’s more about it.
Tip 13. Do influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is another important part of restaurant social media marketing.
It’s basically cooperating with people of considerable social media influence who have an audience and authority in a given field.
As a restaurant in social media, I would aim at cooperations with lifestyle and food bloggers. They starve for new food in town and good content for their blog, vlog or podcast.
First of all, you need to identify them. Again, social media monitoring can be of help here. It’s pretty simple – monitor keywords related to your business area, i.e. restaurant, review, food, blog. This way, a social media monitoring tool will show you authors and sources (blogs, blog posts) that mention keywords relevant to what you do.
Among them, you identify lifestyle and food bloggers. Then, you need to reach out to them and invite them to your restaurant for a review.
It’s a win-win situation – they get fresh content and your restaurant gets social media exposure.
Tip 14. Share customer-generated content.
It’s a social (media) proof a good opportunity to turn your customers into ambassadors. A little bit like already mentioned influencer marketing.
The difference is that your customers don’t offer social media exposure but they offer endorsement.
Again, here you can create a hashtag campaign on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Here’s a great example of restaurant social media marketing from Pieology Pizzeria. Their customers can be featured in the restaurant’s social media using #MyPieology hashtag.
Just like here:
Tip 15. Use promoted tweets.
Again, you should promote your restaurant with paid ads also on Twitter.
Similarly to Facebook, you can precisely target consumers using geo targeting. It’s an awesome opportunity to promote meals around meal times.
Do you have any other tips for restaurant social media marketing? Feel free to put them in the comment section down below!
Oh, I mentioned a social media monitoring tool a couple of times. If you’d like to learn more about it, check this blog post describing 17 social media monitoring applications in business.