When you study the marketing approach of trending restaurants on social media, you’ll notice that they have a few things in common. Whether it’s a global fast food chain like Dominos, or a high-end eatery in Manhattan, there’s key social media marketing manoeuvres used to get masses of followers and a trending hashtag. If you want your restaurant’s Instagram to be a must-follow, and to have your hashtag used thousands of times, sit back and take note.
Cultivate a dedicated following
It’s not just the numbers that get a restaurant trending on social media – it’s the engagement. You want followers who will actually use your hashtag, who will retweet, who will hit that like button and that share button.
Find those people, keep those people, and continually give those people a reason to stay a loyal follower.
Give people a reason to follow you
So, how do you cultivate this dedicated following? Give them a reason to follow you. Social media marketing is, after all, a branch of content marketing. And content marketing is all about giving the people something of value.
There’s a few ways you can go about this with social media marketing. On Instagram it can be as easy as consistently posting visually appealing, mouth-watering pictures of food. On Twitter and Facebook you may need to put in a bit more effort, using these platforms to offer exclusive “social media followers only” deals, or showcasing daily specials – valuable information that is only accessible through following on Facebook.
Learn from example
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular restaurants on Instagram to see how they’re doing it. Some are famous in their own right, like the macaroon king-pins Laduree, New Orleans stalwart Café du Monde, and New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen. If you can position your restaurant as a staple destination in your city, everyone will want to post a picture to show that they’ve been there.
Howlin’ Rays in LA cleverly uses Instagram to showcase secret menu items and to advertise daily specials. Their page provides exclusive information to customers and customers actively follow for these rewards.
Sister Pie in Detroit goes for a slightly different angle. Their page has an altruistic bent, highlighting the local businesses they partner with and their commitment to their community. This approach shows how virtuous the brand is and gives followers something to feel good about and align themselves with. It’s great for branding and also leverages all of the extra reach from tagging in other businesses.
ChaChaMatcha has really embraced the power of Instagram and the hashtag. Everything about the décor and the presentation is Insta-worthy. Their hashtag (#chachamatcha) is splashed everywhere from their souvenir t-shirts to their website, ensuring no one forgets to spread the message when they snap a picture with their matcha latte.
Team up with influencers
To get your restaurant trending on social media, you’re going to need a bit of help. Help from influencers, in particular. Influencers are anyone on social media who have sway over a large following; people whose opinion other people trust, and whose social media accounts other people turn to for inspiration and information.
Find influencers who you can team up with to spread the word of your account. Look for local area influencers (i.e. people who cover anything and everything about your city or neighbourhood), foodie influencers, and media personalities.
Having an influencer run a basic competition on their page such as “like this restaurant’s Instagram page and hashtag their hashtag on this post to win a free dinner for two” is a really powerful way to attract a bunch of new followers and get your restaurant trending.
Make it easy for your hashtag to gain traction
To get your restaurant trending on social media, particularly on Twitter, everyone needs to be using the hashtag without fail. The hashtag needs sheer volume to get your restaurant trending.
Choose a hashtag that is easy to remember and easy to spell. Advertise it on your premises, on your business cards and receipts, and all over your online platforms too. You don’t want anyone to forget to use it!