Do you want to increase the number of new customers walking through your door, increase repeat customers, and get people talking about your restaurant – all without spending bundles on a huge advertising campaign?
Social media is the tool to achieve it all, provided you do it right. Implement these social media tips into your restaurant marketing plan to take your restaurant to the next level.
Before you start posting, tweeting and sharing, it’s really important to set goals. Are you selling nightly specials? Are you promoting events? Maybe sharing your work culture and trying to hire awesome people?
Once your goals are set, the next thing to decide on are the platforms you’ll be focusing on. Popular platforms for restaurants include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and of course Instagram. Some are better for reviews and ratings, while others are great for attracting new customers with eye-catching imagery.
Start With a Plan
Once you’ve decided on your main goals and chosen your platforms, you can start sketching out your social media plan. You don’t need to post on every single platform, rather it’s better to choose one or two, and focus on them.
You will then want to plan out your posts to achieve your goals. A great tip is to create a “content calendar”, where you map out your social media posts for the month. This creates some structure, and around these pre-planned posts, you can interact with followers, post or repost things that your followers will find interesting, or share updates as they happen.
Then there are the unique ways each platform drives discoverability – so plan things like hashtags and keywords. Hashtags are a great way to attract local customers. For example, if you’re in Brooklyn, you could hashtag #brooklynfood, or try #lafoodie if you’re in LA.
All of this might sound overwhelming at this point, but don’t worry, it’s all really easy once you get the hang of it. A good place to start is to take a look at what your competitors are posting and use that as your starting point.
Managing Social Media as a Restaurant Owner
Being the owner of the restaurant, you want to be everywhere, all the time. After all, it’s your baby! When it comes to managing social media for your restaurant, sometimes you have to decide that you may not be the best person to run it. If you have someone on your staff who is social media-savvy, why not make them the go-to social media manager for the restaurant? They’ll love the additional responsibility, and will feel a sense of pride as new customers roll in.
Keep The Conversation Going
Successful social media is about more than just posting content. Some of the most valuable interactions happen around conversations with your customers – both current and future ones.
Jump in, reply to comments, interact, “like” their posts, pose questions, and let your loyal followers be the first to know about things like specials or events.
Quality Over Quantity
Studies show that fewer posts of higher quality are more effective than a constant stream of average posts. This means that it’s more important to put effort into what you do post and manage the interactions around the post, than to just post all day.
It also depends on the platform. On Snapchat or Twitter, you can post multiple times a day. On Facebook or Instagram, the post can lose its effectiveness or even worse, get annoying.
It’s advised to post regularly if you’re running a “story” around a feature or event – like a “behind the scenes” on opening night!
And of course, you should try to be creative. Instead of snapping your signature dish in a dark kitchen, why not put it on an interesting texture like wood or metal. Want to show off your famous burger? Try taking a picture of it cut in half to show the juices, flavors, and layers of sauces, and get followers needing to come in and try it.
Managing social media might sound like too much work right now, especially with everything else you’re juggling.
The potential rewards make the time investment worthwhile, and luckily there are tools that can help you manage your social media. Some effective tools include:
- Hootsuite and Buffer: let you schedule posts ahead of time, post across multiple social channels simultaneously, and manage hashtags
- Buzzsumo shows what’s hot and trending in your social media space
- Planoly for auto-posting
Inspirational Restaurant Accounts
To get you started and get your imagination going, here are some great small restaurants running awesome Instagram accounts:
- PizzaExpress uses great images to inform followers of deals and specials
- Rocking the kasbah! Great use of imagery and updates
- Ace Thai kitchen is really acing social media!
Your No-Fail Restaurant Marketing Plan
Being a restaurant owner, you actually have so much content at your fingertips, enough to make people from other industries jealous! Updates, new dishes that you’re trying, customer favorites, tonight’s specials…all of these make for excellent social media posts.
And thanks to technology, you can schedule your posts in your own time. When it comes to using technology to run an even more effective restaurant, another tool to try is Cheetah. With Cheetah, you can effortlessly order supplies – all from your phone!