Social media plays a crucial role in today’s business so whether your restaurant currently has an active social media page or not, your business is under discussion online. In fact, according to a study conducted by MGH, 42 percent of users use a restaurant’s social media page to be a deciding factor on whether or not to dine in that restaurant. For your business to operate more successfully, it is important to manage and improve your social media presence.
Why should restaurants use social media? The following are just a few compelling reasons.
Social media helps customers find (and promote) your restaurant. Today, not having an online presence on popular social channels can mean that your business is invisible to many guests who might find it and who may also otherwise promote your restaurant for free. According to Social Media Today, 30 percent of millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence, and 59 percent say they often review menus online.
Social media can be used to target local people and tourists. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter enable guests to find local eateries. If a brand isn’t active on these platforms, there is a good chance that guests won’t find them – nor visit their restaurant. Be sure to add your location information in the bio and social media posts. Set aside some budget to launch some Facebook ad campaigns that target tourists.
Social media can help promotes customer loyalty. Customer loyalty depends heavily on your services both inside and outside of your restaurant. Use the comment section and direct messages to initiate conversations, answer their questions, respond with love to their affection towards your unique dishes. This helps you attract new diners and find out about the food and services that excite them the most.
Social media can provides information and adds professionalism. Social media platforms give you a chance to promote relevant information, such as contact number, location, new additions to the menu, events, special offers, awards and recognitions. This shows professionalism and care to provide your guests with the best experience.
Social media can serve as an effective promotion channel. Social media is more affordable than offline advertising. Most of the time, it’s completely free! Studies show that 69 percent of millennials take a photo of their food before eating it. And most of those photos end up in various formats on social media platforms. Pay close attention to these, and make sure to respond to them in a timely manner.
Making It Happen
Here are some marketing tips to promote your restaurant.
Master your photos and videos. People love to see photos and videos of food because if something doesn’t look appealing, we won’t eat it.
Use food-related hashtags in your posts. Hashtags make your content visible to people who wouldn’t otherwise view your content. It creates awareness of your content on social media. Social media users can browse hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Here are examples of food-related hashtags to get you started: #Foodie #EatingfortheInsta #ForkYeah #FoodLover #Yum #FoodPhotography
Boost Facebook posts to local people and tourists. Using Facebook’s “Boost Post” button is the simplest way to expand your reach with just a few clicks and some few dollars per day. To do this, post a regular post to your Facebook page. Then, you will see a “Boost Post” button which you click then select the goal for your boosted post.
Make it easy to view your menu and book a table. If people like what they see on your restaurant’s social media pages, they’ll want to visit. You can make this easy for future diners by including a link to your table reservation or menus from your social media profiles.
Offer visitors an incentive to leave a review. As a recent study suggests, 73% of people trust a local business more on the basis of their positive reviews. To save time, you can schedule posts to your Google My Business page, asking past customers to leave a review. You could even give incentives for this – such as discount codes, money off future meals, for example, or free desserts.
Which Social Platforms?
Which social media platform(s) should you use for your restaurant? As a restaurant owner, ask yourself these questions:
Where does my target audience spend its time? Consider the demographic of your target audience and how that correlates to the attributes of different social channels. If your customers skew toward the younger set, they may be less likely to be active on Facebook and more likely to use Instagram and TikTok, instead.
What channel is aligned with my brand? If your restaurant is very posh, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest should be on the top of your list. If it’s engaged in social causes, you might want to be more active on Twitter. Finally, if you’re all about experimenting and setting trends, TikTok should be your go-to channel.
Can I present my restaurant better through videos or images? Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are perfect for images! But, if you want to experiment with short-format videos, your choice should be between TikTok and Instagram.
Use a content calendar to give you a better perspective of your overall marketing strategy. You’ll be able to align your post topics with your social media and email marketing content. Besides, it will help you mend content gaps and prevent you from missing your content’s mark. (The JoyUp social scheduler has been shown to save restaurants over 30 minutes of related work activities each day, or up to three hours per week.)
The following are some best practices for social media marketing, based on our extensive experience working with restaurant clients.
Focus on content planning. It is essential to decide the kind of content you wish to post online. You can post engaging content like a recipe for preparing one of the mocktails you serve. Exciting content keeps people coming back to your social media and also to your restaurant.
Ensure posting regularity. It is also important to update your social media profile on a regular, ongoing basis. This practice will help ensure that people keep seeing your restaurant on their feeds. If you are irregular with your posts, your customers might forget about you. Your aim is to be noticed and regularity helps you achieve that.
Aim for originality. Being original is imperative. The posts that you share online should be freshly curated. People like originality. Posting something new and different is the best way to catch their attention and engage with more people.
Track your success. Posting on social media is not enough, you need to track and analyze if social media marketing is working good for you or not. This helps you understand if you need to invest more time into your social media account for engaging more people.
Strengthening your social presence (or simply adding social media to your marketing mix, if you haven’t already) can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing awareness of your restaurant, generating engagement with your menu and getting more customers in the door. Restaurant owners today cannot afford do ignore the impact of digitalization across all channels, including social. Building a strong social media presence can play an instrumental role in driving increased sales and overall business growth.
Abhinav Kuru is the CEO at JoyUp, based in San Diego, California. JoyUp is a SaaS platform that helps restaurants with commission-free ordering and 360 degree marketing to fuel marketing channels into order-taking engines. Get started today with JoyUp and reap the best results in your return on investment.