Social Media Marketing Tips for Restaurants

Social media marketing for restaurants requires many of the same strategies for any social media campaign, but with specific focus emphasized on the unique nature that a restaurant has compared to other businesses. Restaurants, more than other businesses, need a highly visual campaign that appeals to foodies, new customers, and regulars alike – a with an emphasis on giving their audience a taste of what they can expect from your restaurant. Let’s dive into a few of the best tips a restaurant needs to know for social media campaigns.

Pick the Right Platforms

Establishing a presence on the right social media platforms is the first step for any successful social media campaign. The truth is, though, that no one platform is best – you can effectively incorporate all the major social media sites into your campaign. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious big two first choices, but, beyond that, social media marketing for restaurants can benefit from a presence on Instagram, Pinterest, and Foursquare.

The key is making use of each platform’s best functionality. Twitter, for example, is a fast-paced environment that works with good text and image synchronization – but only if your message is short. Facebook may be more suitable to longer text posts, but nobody wants to read a huge wall of text, so best practice is to keep your messages short and sweet across all domains.

Image-based media such as Snapchat and Instagram are particularly valuable to the discerning social media marketer. As a restaurant, your greatest benefit can come from sharing five-star images of your food, so a good Instagram profile can serve you well – sometimes even better than a routine Facebook post.

Ideally, you diversify your campaign across the various platforms with unique, targeted content based on your expected audience and what that platform best specializes in providing.

Pay Attention to Hashtags and Trending Topics

Successful social media marketing for restaurants, much like other social media campaigns, requires a finger on the pulse of your audience. Even better than keeping in touch is controlling the conversation – like what Pieology Pizzeria does with the #MyPieology hashtag campaign. Not only does this work as word-of-mouth advertising, it also comes with a promotional coupon to certain geographically specific customers participating in the campaign.

One common industry practice is “newsjacking,” whereby you integrate your marketing strategy with the current trending topic of the time. Done tastefully – so no capitalizing on tragedies – this puts your restaurant into the zeitgeist and brings in a wider audience to your marketing campaign. Tapping into trending topics and hashtags will broaden your audience, though it’s also limited somewhat by the geographic spread of readers looking for that story. You may benefit, then, by taking advantage of localized headlines and subjects that interest customers around your restaurant.

Leverage the Interactivity of Social Media

The best benefit your restaurant stands to gain from social media marketing is the level of direct contact you have with your audience. Social media is a public platform, and this means unparalleled access to the personal lives of your customers. You can speak directly to them, involving them in your brand’s voice and identity in a way traditional ad campaigns cannot.

Of course, you must do this successfully to be of use to your business.

The hallmark of good social media marketing for restaurants is a consistent, engaging voice across your platforms – coupled with audience involvement. One British chain, for example, started a social media campaign for “finger selfies” to increase their brand awareness. It helps to know your audience before launching this intense a campaign – if only to know what they participate in most. Plan your message, add some promotional materials if appropriate, and launch your campaign to involve your customers.

A few classic social media marketing techniques for restaurants are campaigns like:

  • Meal/photo caption contests
  • Selfie competitions
  • Photo contests
  • Raffles and prize drawings

These work across all platforms and incentivize word-of-mouth campaigning directly from your most loyal customers. The goal of social media marketing isn’t to spread the word directly, but to turn your customers into missionaries for your brand.

Keep in mind that you can make good use of sites like Yelp and Foursquare to advertise on your behalf – assuming your reviews accurately reflect your restaurant’s quality. Curating and highlighting user reviews is a powerful method to evangelize your restaurant, using authentic customer stories to your benefit. Dedicated cross-platform campaigns to drum up support and get reviews is also another choice, so long as you’re confident your following will positively respond.

Create Curated Content

You stand to gain the most benefit from your social media marketing for restaurants only if you provide the best marketing content to your audience. This means gathering the highest-quality images and material for your tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook posts.

The four factors to consider when creating content are your audience, your message, your brand, and your competition. We’ve already covered looking at your audience, but always be aware of your customer demographics. Additionally, building a consistent brand identity – which should be a part of your broader marketing strategy – is key to effective use of social media marketing. It won’t help your business if your tweets reflect a serious, high-end establishment if your Facebook posts are casual and irreverent.

When it comes to competition, that may seem unusual, but your restaurant benefits from keeping an eye on competitors. This means watching their social media campaigns – possibly even collaborating. Think of good-natured Twitter “fights” between your two companies – though nominally aggressive, they work to build cross-promotion between your customer bases, particularly if you fill different food niches. If nothing else, you can glean some inspiration by looking at your competitor’s social media profiles –be sure not to lift material directly from them.

Get Started With Social Media Marketing

Whether you have an established presence on social media or are starting your campaign, Vizion offers premier social media marketing services that will jumpstart your marketing projects and maximize your benefit. Our experience in the industry means that we can manage your social media marketing campaign for your restaurant with skill – saving you time and energy, while bringing in larger crowds and increasing conversions.