Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Foursquare, social media is a great resource for restaurants to engage with their existing customers, reach a fresh audience, and ultimately drive more people through the doors. Each platform has its own benefits, and if you use them to their advantage you can use social media to market your restaurant smarter, not harder.
Here’s how you can use social media to keep your tables full…
Before you Start
Before you even begin to create a Facebook page or Instagram account for your business you need to think about a plan of attack. How do you want your restaurant to come across to viewers? What tone do you want to set? If you were a customer, what sort of content would you like to see?
If you’re a fine dining restaurant you might want to establish a sophisticated tone, if you want to market yourself as the neighborhood hang-out you would adopt a friendly, casual tone. Carry this approach through all of your social media posts – keep your message and your tone consistent for cohesive branding.
The Main Dish: Content
Whatever platform you’re using, photos of your food are key. It’s what you’re selling, after all. But aside from pictures of your product, you should also run exclusive offers and specials. Entice people to “like” your page by posting exclusive specials for Instagram followers, or run a competition where people who share you post on Facebook can win a free meal.
Create a hashtag for your restaurant and encourage any patron uploading pictures of your food or your restaurant to Instagram to use the hashtag and to tag you. Promote this hashtag to garner more views and more followers.
Facebook offers you the ability to create lots of tabs to post in-depth content to your page. The first four tabs, in particular, are influential as they always appear at the top of the page. Create tabs that offer information that customers would want, such as “photo gallery”, “special offers”, “restaurant locations”, and “seasonal menu items.”
Presentation is Key
On your profile page on any social media platform, you need certain key elements. The first one is an enticing profile picture. A high-quality picture of a signature dish is always a good option, or you can opt for a photo of your dining area looking its best. This will depend on what tone you decided to project for your establishment. The fine dining restaurant may opt for a picture of a very fancy table setting, whereas the neighbourhood hangout might go for a picture of a friendly barista.
Every platform should include the basic details of the restaurant. Contact details and opening hours are essential. There should be a clear link to your restaurant site as well as a link directly to the menu. You want to give people all the information they need to make the decision to eat at your restaurant when they’ve looked at your social media page.
Ask for Reviews
Yelp!, Zomato and Foursquare are all about reviews. Google has a review function for businesses, as does Facebook. When you Google a business, the search results page lists the website which you feature on and what your star rating is. Having a good star rating on these social media pages can be key to convincing new customers to try your restaurant.
Ask your loyal customers to leave you a review on any or every one of these websites. You could even consider offering a special discount in exchange for reviews. It has been proven time and again that the opinion of peers is very powerful in swaying our decision making. These reviews can be the deciding factor in whether someone new walks through your door or not.
Restaurants and social media go hand in hand. It really is the easiest way to increase awareness of your business. It is easy to establish a tone and image for your restaurant through what and how you post on social media. Engaging with new and existing customers alike to establish a relationship and spread your name and your brand is one of the most simple and effective ways to keep your tables, and their stomachs, full.