How do customers use social media to choose the next restaurant they want to visit? Here are a few insights provided by a survey by MGH restaurant marketing agency:
- 36% of customers in the U.S. follow restaurants on social media
- 45% of customers in the U.S. said they visited a restaurant for the first time because they saw a social media post made by the establishment itself
- 22% of customers in the U.S. said a restaurant’s social post got them interested in coming back
SMM for restaurants: the basics
Everything starts with setting up your establishment’s accounts if you don’t have them yet. The absolute minimum for a restaurant is Facebook and Instagram.
If you’ve already had your social media accounts for some time now, go through the checklist below to see if your profiles are optimized correctly.
- Verify names. Your restaurant’s name should be identical across all social media platforms. The same should be your social media handles.
- Profile photo. Like we already mentioned, consistency is key. Make sure your restaurant profile picture is the same on all platforms, so your guests can easily recognize you. It’s best if you use your restaurant’s logo for this purpose.
- Location. If you have several locations use the address of your flagship or most popular location of the social media site allows only for one address. Be sure to mention your other locations’ addresses in the “About” field.
- Enter your restaurant’s website URL in the respective section. This way you will direct your customers so they can learn more about your business.
- The “About Me” or “Bio” sections should include a brief description of your business. Be sure to include your unique selling proposition and the most interesting and compelling facts about your restaurant. By telling your compelling story you will help your customers make a choice.
4 best practices for restaurant social media marketing
Social Media Marketing is a practice where you reach your audience organically, post authentic content and keep an honest and human conversation going. This works much better than just running paid ads. Engaging your current and prospective customers in a conversation takes hard work and effort, and this might become a full-time role for your business. Here are some ideas that could help you start your social media activity:
Run a contest to boost engagement and gain followers
Instagram is one of the top platforms for restaurants because customers are always on the lookout for new places opening in their area and following them to learn about specials, promos, and events. Running a contest or giveaway on Instagram is one of the best bets to boost your reach. This will make people share, comment, and like your content, and the Instagram algorithm will do its job to show your content to more people and gain more followers.
An Instagram contest is the most efficient way to spread the word about your upcoming opening or event, such as the opening of a new location or an online ordering service.
For an Instagram contest to be successful, the rules for entering should be simple and transparent. Try using these most common criteria:
- Each participant must like your contest photo and be subscribed to your account.
- Tag friends in the comments. The chances of winning increase if they tag several people, but have them do it in separate comments to boost your post in the algorithm.
- Sharing your post in their feed and tagging your account should give folks an even higher chance of winning.
- Partner with another business in your area. This could be a theatre, or another event venue, which can help you create a “show and dinner” package. The rules for the contest will remain the same, but the followers will have to subscribe to both accounts, and this would enable cross-promotion.
Re-share user-generated content
Customers love taking photos of their food and Instagram-worthy restaurants that they visit. You should take all the chances to leverage their content, and repost mentions of your business in your feed. Do not forget to thank them for mentioning your restaurant via a direct message, and be sure to ask for permission to repost their beautiful and informative content.
Here is what you can do daily to find some user-generated content:
- Search for your location on Instagram to check if someone mentioned it in their feed
- Search for your restaurant’s name hashtag
- Enter the name of your restaurant on Facebook or Twitter search to check if people mentioned it without using your hashtag or location
- Сheck out the posts where people tagged you in on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts
- Have some decor items that make your guests want to take and post more photos.
- Ask people to post. Give them a free item or a discount in return for a review or a post on social media.
Have someone new manage your restaurant’s social media account
Practice rotating access to your social media account among your employees. This way, your business will be presented from different angles through the eyes of various people. Each of them will be telling your story differently. Consider engaging your business partners or even very loyal customers to take over your accounts for a day.
If you introduce this practice, make sure to outline some basic rules for everyone to follow, so the story of your brand remains consistent, while each of them can bring their unique perspective.
Post as often as possible
It is best if you post Stories daily, so you don’t lose engagement and coverage. As for regular posts, you don’t have to do them every day, but it’s a good idea to be consistent, and have a content plan for at least three posts a week.
It can be difficult to come up with the content on a regular basis, especially on a visual medium like Instagram, but the key is not to overthink it too much. Here are some ideas for when you’re having a creative block: At first it can be hard to come up with content ideas on a regular basis, but after testing some hypotheses, you will work out your brand’s tone of voice and visual style. Here is a list of some ideas you could try:
- Remind your guests that you have gift cards and merchandise available for sale, especially before the upcoming holidays.
- Take compelling pictures of your daily specials, in case customers are looking for some new places to visit.
- Film some meal prep action in the kitchen, while purchasing fresh ingredients from suppliers, or decorating your location for the holidays.
- Introduce a colleague. Have a member of your staff talk about what they like most about their job, tell their favorite story about working here, or just some fun facts about themselves.
Want more tips on running your restaurant business? Check out other useful posts on Tawreed blog. Be sure to contact us if you are looking for reliable suppliers for your restaurant.