Your menu is unique. Food quality is impeccable. Service is extraordinary. But there is something missing. Your efforts go unrecognized.
One of the most effective means to spread the word about your restaurant, without spending a lot of money, is to use social media.
According to Statista online, 77% of US adults use social media in some form.
Social media should definitely be part of your restaurant marketing plan. But it must be done the right way.
This guide will help you to understand what makes a good social media campaign, and provide tips for how to make the most of your social media engagement.
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How To Choose Which Social Platforms To Use?
The size of the social network and its tools for engaging with users are both important factors to consider.
Let’s look at the size of the top US social networks.
The Most Important Social Apps for Restaurants
Facebook Tops The List
Facebook has the highest number of users, weighing in at over 164 million. Facebook’s profit model is also entirely based on allowing businesses to market to their users.
Facebook also makes it very easy to target your posts to specific types of people you’d feel would be most interested in your restaurant. Using filters based on location, income and other interests you can be sure to make the most impact with the right people.
Instagram — Basically Also Facebook
Instagram is owned by Facebook and is the second largest social media platform at over 111 million users. While thought of as a place mostly used to post food photos and selfies, Instagram has recently introduced allowing short videos and is considering increasing the limit.
But take note of that first part. Instagram is the place to post images of food. By capturing the interest of so called “influencers” (those instagram users with the most followers) your restaurant could gain a viral following that almost resembles a cult.
Who wouldn’t like that?
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
Twitter — One that’s not Facebook.
With 71.9 million users, Twitter’s short form posts have definitely attracted an audience. There’s also an underground food scene associated with the platform. Popup restaurants and food trucks use Twitter to beam out their locations to their followers.
Other restaurant concepts have found social media fame by hyping up specials and offering secret menu items just to their Twitter followers.
In this way Twitter is about what’s going on now and allows you to capitalize on what’s been dubbed “The fear of missing out.” This is the reason people are constantly checking their phones for updates.
Restaurant Social Marketing Content
What Should I Post?
What you post in your social media feed is determined largely by the platform you’re on. Facebook is oriented toward longer-form posts and videos. Instagram is all about the pictures. Twitter is for short bursts of snappy communication.
Your posting habits will be shaped by the platform you have the most followers on. Some examples are:
• Promotional event calendar
• Video advertisements
• Long form information and articles
• Flyers for specials
• New food added to the menu
• Images of customers, staff, events, etc.
• Promotional updates
• Live images from events
• Links to blog posts
Cross-Posting Across Networks
Although each platform suits a certain kind of posting style it’s important to leverage your work and cross post between sites when you can. For example, Facebook can be used to repost tweets and instagram posts.
This helps make sure that everyone who follows you stays in the loop.
Sharing Customer Generated Content
One of the most important ways to promote your restaurant is through the experiences and reviews posted by your customers.
When someone posts their “best lunch I’ve had all week” and it’s from your restaurant, it’s important to find that content and share that moment to your feed.
Search for posts that your page is tagged in and make sure to re-share any posts that mention your restaurant.
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Increasing Restaurant Social Media Engagement
Cultivating A Relationship
The difference between social media and other forms of marketing is the ability to open a dialogue with your customers. This is also what attracts many people to follow you in the first place.
They know that a real person will answer their questions, tell them a joke or share their posts.
Responding to Comments
One of the most important duties you have to maintain your social media presence is responding to comments. This builds the elusive “engagement” that you must cultivate to build your social media following.
Respond to negative comments. While it’s understandable to feel hurt or scared when we see negative comments on our social media feed, it’s important to temper your actions. Remember that your comments are public. Deleting and ignoring isn’t going to improve the situation, no matter how tempting it is.
A negative comment in your social media is a chance to make things right. If handled correctly you’ll improve the relationship with the disgruntled customer and impress others who follow your page.
Positive comments are a bit easier to address. Make sure to show that you read their comment and try to make them feel special. For example if someone says “I loved coming in with my family.” A personal response would be something like “We loved having you and your family visit us!”
Hire A Social Media Manager
If you decide that you don’t have the time to consistently interact with guests on your social media accounts, or you’re finding you are not coming across how you’d like, consider hiring a social media manager.
You can find a social media manager on sites like Craigslist and Fiverr. While it might be tempting to ask your kids or one of their friends to do it, if it’s not their profession, your social media marketing might not receive the serious attention it deserves.
A good social media manager will run your promotions, track engagement, mentions, shares, likes and comments. They’ll help you identify your target audience to receive additional ads and help you track your social media marketing costs against restaurant sales.
Read More: Top 6 Sources of Restaurant Marketing Online
An affordable and effective marketing technique for restaurants is to use social media. The top three social media sites have a combined 346 million users.
To be successful with restaurant marketing on social media you need to know your audience. That means posting what they like and getting involved with them.
Remember to reply to all comments, good or bad. Take negative comments as an opportunity to improve.
If you don’t have the time or the personality to manage your social media campaign for your restaurant you can always hire a social media manager.