A solid restaurant social media marketing strategy is an essential part of a comprehensive overall marketing plan. Rounding out your digital presence with strong social accounts and quality content can make or break a sale. The best part? It’s free.
Advanced Guide to Restaurant Marketing
From social media to discount websites, how are you marketing your restaurant? Read this free guide of effective tactics that you can start using today.
The basics of restaurant social media marketing
Before you can get started with restaurant social media marketing, you’ll need to set up accounts if you don’t have them. For restaurants, Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms you definitely need to be on.
If you already have these accounts set up, go through the restaurant social media checklist below to make sure your profiles are set up for success.
- Display names. Keep your restaurant’s name consistent across all social media platforms so that when guests look for you, they’ll know they’ve come to the right place.
- Social media handles. Again, be consistent and identifiable with your handle. If your restaurant name is already taken, try adding your city name or abbreviation to the end. (ie: if @burgerbar is taken, try @burgerbar.nyc)
- Profile photos. Just like the two points above, keep this consistent across all platforms. Your restaurant’s logo is the best bet to make sure your guests know it’s you.
- Your restaurant’s location. You guessed it—be consistent. If your restaurant has multiple locations, some social media sites only allow for one address, so use the address of your flagship location or most popular restaurant on those platforms.
- Your restaurant’s website URL. Each social media platform has a website field, allowing you to direct your guests anywhere online. This space should go to your restaurant website so new followers can learn more about your business.
- The “About Me” or “Bio” sections. This should include a brief description of your restaurant that will entice potential customers into visiting your restaurant.
Restaurant social media marketing best practices
Unless you are running paid ads, restaurant social media marketing is all about organic and authentic content and conversations. It can feel like an extra full time job just to manage your restaurant’s social media, but here are a few ideas to keep the conversation going and get current guests and prospective customers to engage.
Run a contest to boost engagement and gain followers
Instagram is the platform where restaurants see the most engagement, so try running a contest there to boost your reach. The Instagram algorithm loves it when people share, comment on and like your photo, and contests give your followers a reason to do just that.
In addition to gaining a following, an Instagram contest is a low-budget method to get the word out, whether you are trying to drive more people to your online ordering page or announce the opening of a new location.
To run a successful Instagram contest, keep the rules simple and clear. The most common criteria for entering are:
- Like the contest photo and follow your account
- Tag friends in the comments. You can offer people a higher chance of winning if they tag multiple people, but let them note that tags should be left in separate comments (this boosts your post up in the algorithm).
- Offer an even higher chance of winning if folks share your post in their story and tag your account for visibility
You can run a contest on your own or in partnership with another business. For example, pair up with a local theater for a “dinner and a show” package; the contest rules remain the same, but it is mutually beneficial because entrants must like and follow both accounts, giving you some cross-promotion perks.
Re-share user-generated restaurant social media content
Don’t underestimate your customers. A little digging can reveal beautiful photos they take and stories shared on social media. With their permission, simply ask via a comment if they would allow you to share, retweet or repost their content from your page.
Here are a few places to look for user-generated content:
- Look up your location on Instagram to find photos taken at your restaurant
- Conduct a hashtag search with your restaurant name
- Conduct a Facebook or Twitter search with the name of your restaurant to see if people mentioned it without using a hashtag
- If you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram check out the photos and posts you’ve been tagged i
- Ask! Post signage in-store enticing guests to post on social media, offering a discount or free item in return.
Have someone new take over your restaurant’s social media account
Give access to one of your social media accounts to one of your employees, a partner business or even an extremely loyal customer to do an account “takeover” for a day.
This allows your audience to see your restaurant through the eyes of someone new. The fresh perspective is always interesting to hear. Make sure you outline specific instructions for running the accounts, like basic dos and don’ts, while allowing that person to have enough creative freedom to showcase their individuality.
Post as often as possible
You don’t have to post every day, but you should be posting consistently to keep your restaurant’s name top of mind with guests and potential customers. At least three times a week is a good starting point when getting started with restaurant social media marketing.
It can be difficult to come up with content on a regular basis, especially on a visual medium like Instagram, but the key is not to overthink it too much. Here are some ideas for when you’re having a creative block:
- Remind guests about gift cards and merchandise you have for sale, especially around major holidays
- Snap a picture of the day’s specials for guests looking to try something new
- Show a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action in the kitchen, while shopping for ingredients at the farmer’s market or setting up for an event
- Feature a staff member each week. Have them talk about their favourite dish, what college they go to if they’re a student, a fun fact about themselves or something else to showcase their unique personality
- Promote community activities. Show your community support for local events by helping to boost their attendance.
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