How you market your restaurant to your audience plays a major role in your success. In the age of technology, it would be silly not to utilize social media to its greatest potential as a key marketing strategy.
Let’s take a look at 10 social media marketing tips we’d give to restaurants like you:
1. Make sure your social media profiles are easy to find and stay consistent with each other.
If you’re able to use your restaurant name in your handle (the name of your profile account that comes after the “@” symbol), consider yourselves lucky.
We can’t all be trademarked like the Domino’s or Pizza Huts in the world. If there’s too many John’s Pizzerias’ on Instagram, maybe add an underscore and include your city/state in the name to make it easier for your fans to find. Something like; JohnsPizzeria_NJ.
2. Engage with your followers.
If you’ve managed to grow a following, no matter the size, make sure to engage with them! If a customer has tagged you and posted a picture of the food they purchased from your restaurant on their profile/story, be sure to share it onto yours too!
Maybe even thank them for supporting your business and give them a “10% off your next purchase” discount code. This will guarantee repeat customers. Plus, the more you engage on social media (especially Instagram, thanks to their awesome “Story” feature), the more followers you’ll gain.
Did you know that 74% of users that follow or engage with restaurants on social media say they are more likely to visit/order food from them?
It’s almost like word of mouth… just through social media. If your best friend posts a picture of a delicious meal, wouldn’t you be intrigued to find out where it’s from? One follower leads to the next and before you know it, you’ve got 500 people following your page and most likely having their next meal at your restaurant, all due to one shared picture on their friend’s story!
Isn’t social media great?!
3. Introduce your staff on your profile.
Highlight a staff member on your profile each week. Post a picture of them (with their permission of course), their name, what they do and maybe a few words of gratitude!
Bringing familiarity to your fanbase will be a great way to build intimate relationships. The next time a guest comes in, they’ll be able to put a name to that face!
Customers love knowing restaurant staff. When you build a personal relationship with your diners, you also build their trust and loyalty. The next time they’re choosing their next meal, they’ll likely consider coming to your establishment because they know they’ll be treated uniquely.
4. Behind-the-scenes footage is always a fan-favorite.
Customers LOVE knowing what goes on in the kitchen when you’re making their favorite dish. Show them how you’re mixing up their favorite sauce for your famous chicken wings or how you’re topping their favorite potato dish. I mean… really, how are you making that potato casserole? I’m curious!
Getting some kitchen action in on social media is also an awesome way to highlight how hard your kitchen staff works and how much effort is put into each dish! Let’s be real, the back-of-house doesn’t get as much love as they deserve!
5. Promote LTO’s or signature drinks.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE hearing about seasonal dishes or signature drinks on a menu. And you’ve guessed it—my main source for hearing about them is through social media, duh!
I’ve noticed many of the restaurants I favor have a new signature dish they feature on their social media page every month. It’s definitely a trend.
If you want my advice, go with a vodka or tequila-based fruity/citrusy drink for the summer and maybe something darker, like whiskey, for colder months. A signature old-fashioned with a twist, eh?
If you don’t offer alcohol at your establishment, rest-assured, it’s no big deal! There’s plenty of other ways to feature new items on your social media.
Highlight a new dish you’re promoting for a limited time or a seasonal menu item using ingredients you can only get this time of year (and make sure you make that known to your followers!)
To my point—it’s almost Fall so it’s time to get those squash or pumpkin-based dishes rollin’ out! See what I mean?
6. Show community engagement.
Especially after COVID, we’ve noticed community engagement and supporting local businesses goes hand in hand, and it’s played a major role in many of our lives. People will be more inclined to support your business if they see your restaurant participating in community engagement such as going on fundraising walks as a team or supporting local shelters.
Even taking a day to pick up some trash around your local park with your kitchen staff is enough to get customers to appreciate your establishment and for some, rolling through the door with orders!
Showing that your restaurant cares about its community and the environment is an excellent way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty while doing good for the world!
7. Run contests.
Running contests on your social media accounts is a great way to interact with your followers and gain new ones too! You can run a contest every month, or every few months (however you please).
It’s as easy as asking your followers to like your post, tag 3 friends they’d bring to your restaurant (this helps build brand awareness) and sharing your post on their story to gain an extra entry.
The prize can be big or small. Maybe it’s a free appetizer or dessert, or maybe it’s a $50 gift card to your restaurant. The world is your oyster. Bottom line is it doesn’t matter what the prize is—people LOVE anything that’s free.
And the more they share your post on their stories or the more they tag their friends, a domino effect will occur. You’ll start to see more and more people following your page and entering your contest. And voilà, you’ve just gained 20 new followers that will most likely try your restaurant out in the coming months—trust me!
If you want to go the extra mile to guarantee profits, message your new followers thanking them for following your account and even throw in a small discount code for their first purchase. It works like a charm, I promise.
8. Add your menu or reservation booking link to your bio.
Let’s face it, the younger generation is using social media 24/7, whether we like it or not. Why not make it easy for them and add a link to your menu or booking site directly into your bio. That way they’re not scrambling through your restaurant website looking for your menu or where to book a table.
We want to make it as convenient as possible for your followers to choose your establishment for their next meal. When your social media pages are clean, professional, and user-friendly, it just makes their experience 10x better.
9. Boost your posts to target your local audience.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a little money behind advertisements. Facebook is a great place to start when you’re looking to boost to local communities. The best part is you don’t have to spend TOO many of your hard earned dollars on some ads. A few hundred bucks can do wonders and go a long way if you’re advertising for a few weeks.
And advertising doesn’t always have to include money! You can join local Facebook community groups and promote your restaurant there (as long as it’s within group guidelines). This is an awesome way to build new cliental and engage with the community your restaurant belongs to.
10. Be fun and creative!
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media. The most important rule is to be fun and creative so that you stand out. Yes, being professional is something to always keep in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have fun with it!
Do what resonates most with your brand and your team. How can you look unique from your competitors on social media?
Do something different. Interact with your customers on a more personal level.
Just be fun! Be yourself. Be whatever your restaurant desires to be.