Why should restaurants use social media
You already know that restaurants benefit from advertising online. More specifically, however, restaurants should use social media. Why? Because most of their potential customers use social media. Facebook alone has 2.2 billion monthly active users, Instagram, acquired by Facebook in 2012, has another 1 billion, according to recent statistics.
Restaurants can use these platforms to post shareable content, engage with potential customers, and earn their trust. Social media offers a fast and easy way to listen, too: find out about your guests’ experiences at your restaurant when they write a review or mention your restaurant in a post. Maybe your guests wish you offered more gluten-free options. Or maybe they think the music is too loud. Use that free information to generate ideas for real improvement.
Social media strategies for restaurants
Every restaurant needs to work out a social media strategy that suits their customers. To do that, they first have to figure out who their customers are. How old are they? How far away from your establishment do they live? Do they care about budget-friendly options or are they looking to treat themselves? Developing three to five personas that represent your target audience will help you create a strategy that is tailored to your customers’ wants and needs.
That said, there are two platforms nearly all restaurants need to consider when developing a social media strategy:
- Facebook: according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of US adults have a profile and roughly three-quarters of those users access it on a daily basis. So, Facebook is the go-to platform to reach a large percentage of the population.
- Instagram: statistics show that the photo app is especially popular with people under 35. And restaurants are natural IG stars. The top 100 hashtags from around the world include #food (25), #foodporn (54), #yummy (75), and #instafood (80).
Let’s look at both of these platforms in more detail.
Facebook marketing for restaurants
Facebook marketing includes both free activities such as posting amazing content and paid activities such as boosting your most successful posts. But it all starts with a solid Facebook page and an enticing restaurant description.
Good restaurant descriptions
Your potential customers want to find out what your restaurant is all about – fast. And without having to try too hard. So, keep it short and simple by following these three rules:
- Let people know where you are and when you’re open. Don’t forget things like play areas for kids and parking information!
- Describe the kind of food you serve but don’t go into details. Instead, link to your menu on your website.
- Use your own words. You don’t want to give the impression that your restaurant is just like everyone else’s. So don’t copy what everyone else is writing.
Restaurant Facebook Pages
The best restaurant Facebook pages regularly post interesting, engaging, and useful content. For example, a pizzeria might publish a piece about a new employee with years of experience working as a pizzaiolo in Italy. The story might detail different pizza-making techniques and let the reader in on this new employee’s secret sauce.
The posts should entertain the reader – but they should also include a powerful call to action. You can always ask your readers to like, comment, and share. But do it with a twist! For example, tell your fans that they will take part in a raffle when they share your story and add their favorite pizza at your restaurant. You get more eyeballs on your post. But you also get free word-of-mouth advertising – which people totally trust.
Creative Facebook posts for restaurants
Get even more creative! Give these suggestions a try:
- Live stream from the kitchen when your head chef is creating a new dish.
- Post infographics that detail the journey from boring ingredients like oats and bananas to magnificent stacks of fluffy pancakes.
- Create a Facebook game that teaches your guests about the healthy choices they can make when they order their curry with brown rice or substitute their side of french fries with carrot sticks and hummus.
- Look through the pictures your guests tag you in and find the best ones. Ask the photographers for permission to repost their pictures as funny memes.
- Post a picture of your delicious pumpkin pie and invite guests whose names start with a ‘p’ to come get a free slice with their meal.
Facebook advertising for restaurants
If you do opt for Facebook advertising, you will notice that the platform offers all kinds of different formats and targeting possibilities. Two of my favorite options: boosting popular posts and lead ads. The former involves paying Facebook to show one of your posts to people who are similar to your fanbase but haven’t interacted with your restaurant yet. The latter takes the potential customer to a form prepopulated with contact information from Facebook. That makes it super fast and easy for people to sign up for something, for example, your newsletter.
No matter what kind of ads you go with, be sure to keep your relevance score up. How? By creating different ads for different people. You wouldn’t want to target your over 65s the same way as your Gen Zs, for example.
Instagram marketing for restaurants
Instagram is the second obvious choice for restaurants. After all, beautiful food presentation is something restaurants excel at already. Why not showcase it on a social media platform that’s all about images? Develop your own hashtags and encourage your guests to use them. There are so many accounts solely about food. Or just a certain type of food! And some of them are very popular. For example, @icecream has 290k followers and @pizza has a mind-blowing 640k.
Best hashtags for restaurants
As mentioned, you want to develop some of your own hashtags and incentivize their use. The Pieology Pizza chain, for example, sends its guests coupons for free cinnamon sticks when they post pictures of their food with the hashtag #MyPieology.
Another way to give your restaurant a boost with hashtags is to stay on top of current events: obviously, you will want to research and use trending hashtags for major holidays. Unsurprisingly, #Christmas and #Winter are currently in the top 100. But major holidays won’t give you an edge. Every restaurant – every business, actually – is in the loop. Therefore, try to know what’s going on in your neighborhood. Is the community college having a bake sale? Sponsor them and use their hashtags when you post! They will appreciate the support and the locals will see that your restaurant really cares about the community.
Restaurants using social media successfully
Finally, let’s take a look at a real live example of a restaurant that is rocking social media: Buzzed Bull Creamery in Cincinnati. The first thing you notice when you check out their Facebook page is that they have a succinct, authentic description that starts with “Who We Are” and ends with their very own hashtag: #keepthebuzzgoing. Obviously, Buzzed Bull Creamery uses that hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, too.
The second thing you’ll notice is that they have more than 6.5k fans who actively engage with their content – despite the fact that they only opened in 2017! Who knew that mouth-watering pictures and videos of frozen desserts with coffee and alcohol were so likable and shareable?!