72% of Facebook users have searched the platform before choosing a restaurant to eat at. That’s a staggering number, and one that is supported by evidence found with other social media platforms.
The message is clear: Social media is here to stay and if you want more customers to come through your door, you need to be on social media and using it to its full potential.
But where do you start? How can you use social media to bring more customers through your doors?
That’s the subject of today’s guide to social media marketing for restaurants including nine strategies proven to work.
Engage on Instagram
Instagram is the top social media platform for engagement, making it a must-use for your social media marketing efforts.
The immensely popular photo-sharing platform provides the perfect place to post delicious photos of your menu offerings.
If you want to have a presence on Instagram, you need to post images daily. You can also create Instagram stories every day to spotlight special menu items and limited time deals. You could even include behind the scenes footage from the kitchen or bar.
Expand the reach of each post by using hashtags. Niche tags are best for restaurants that help identify your location, such as “#WestSideEats” or “#OldTownEats.”
Remember, Instagram is a mobile social site. By adding a specific location to your tags, nearby prospects who are looking for a place to eat can find you.
Link to Instagram and all your social channels from your homepage. You can see an example of perfect social media link integration on this website.
Run Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are a great way to get the word out about your restaurant. It’s widely considered the best social platform for paid ads due to the vast number of targeting variables which allow you to hone in on your ideal customer.
Start by geo-targeting ads to the ZIP code of your restaurant to make sure your ads are only seen by locals who are close enough to drop by and eat. This is the easiest way to attract new patrons who could turn into regulars.
Maximize Your Facebook Page
Nearly all of your patrons are on Facebook, and most people check their feeds two or three times a day. This helps explain why so many people are searching on Facebook for good local restaurants and asking their friends for referrals.
To attract more Facebook users to your restaurant, it is vital to optimize your business page on Facebook.
Start with your cover image. Facebook gives you 851 by 351 pixels to wow your customers with a professional quality photo of your most scrumptious menu item.
Just below the cover image are four tabs you can use to engage with anyone visiting your page. The tabs are photos, locations, food deals, and featured menu items. Fill out each section as if you are a patron and give them the information they need.
Update Google My Business
Google My Business is essential for any business owner, including restauranteurs. Potential patrons are in your area every day searching their smartphones for restaurants to visit. That’s why it’s so important your restaurant is visible on local search and the information is current.
Make sure your address, phone number, hours of operation and menus are up-to-date.
Most people create a Google My Business page and never visit it again. Don’t make this mistake.
Instead, post to your page several times a week, mentioning your current specials, new menu items and anything newsworthy. Make your posts visually appealing because they will show up right below your listing in Google Maps and Search.
Strategize on Twitter
Twitter is a popular text-based social platform, but if you want more shares, always include images in your posts as they are proven to increase clicks and retweets.
Be creative and offer social coupons. For example, you could Tweet a “secret” code such as:
“SHHHHH. Just for you, we’re giving 10% all lunch items today when you mention the code SECRET. Can you keep one?”
Ironically, this type of secret code can result in more shares as people want their friends to be in on the deal.
Twitter is known for its immediacy. The posts most people read and share are usually less than an hour old. It makes Twitter the perfect place to post spur-of-the-moment specials. For example, you could offer a group special close to lunchtime when people are often deciding where to eat with their co-workers.
Encourage Patron Posting
The best advertising is word-of-mouth, and social media provides the perfect platform for your customers to spread the word. To that end, encourage your customers to become advocates for your restaurant.
Start by creating a hashtag for your restaurant and incentivize customers to post to it. Perhaps you offer them a free drink when they share a picture of their food to the hashtag.
Repost positive reviews posted by your customers. It provides social proof to your following and reminds them to return for their favorite dish.
Go Behind The Scenes
Social media is best when your following feels like a community of friends, so post accordingly and always practice proper social media etiquette.
Let your followers get to know you and your staff. Post videos and speak directly to your following. Let them know why you started your restaurant and the experience you hope to give them when they visit your restaurant.
Shine a light on your staff, praise them for positive customer reviews and add targeted hashtags like #employeespotlightfriday.
The Bottom Line About Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
The best part about social media marketing for restaurants is most of it is entirely free. And it only takes a few minutes to create effective posts.
If you don’t have the time to post consistently to your account, consider utilizing an app like Buffer to streamline the process. You can create all your posts for the week and schedule them for posting.
Remember to optimize all of your social media profiles to maximize their potential. You may even consider using a professional photographer to photograph your menu items and present your food in the best possible light.
If you found this article helpful, please check out more of our social media tips and tricks.