Social media is an important tool for any business to utilize. But when it comes to places to dine or have a drink with friends, it’s absolutely crucial. It is now imperative for restaurants to be on social media in 2019.
The use of social media continues to increase more and more with every passing year. This platform provides a unique opportunity to stay laser focused on your target audience and connect with your customers in real time.
Social media allows your customers to connect with you and your business on a more personal level. People who feel a personal connection to your restaurant will be your most loyal customers and establishing personal connections will go a long way in helping you generate buzz for your restaurant.
You could have the best bowl of pho, pizza, or fish and chips in the game, but if only a handful of people are coming in each day to order them - you’re failing.
This is why it’s essential to strike the perfect balance between your product, service, and marketing. Your restaurant’s social media game needs to be just as good as your food, atmosphere, and service. According to Social Media Monthly, 75% of consumers have used Facebook to decide which restaurant they’ll eat at. This is consistent with numbers across several other social media channels. The influence of social media on purchasing and dining decisions is only rising higher with every passing day.
Now that we’ve established the importance of social media for your restaurant, let’s delve into the importance of knowing who your target market exactly is before you start marketing. Take the time to laser focus on the demographics of people you have coming into your establishment, the people you WANT to come in, and their interests. You want to make sure you’re connecting with the right audience.
Overall, when you’re creating content for your social media get creative and have fun with it. This creativity should reflect on all your social media pages and help you stand out from the clutter. There are several proven strategies to increase engagement on your posts and get more people to come to your restaurant. These strategies help you to effectively utilize social media and have more time for what is important - running your restaurant.
Let’s take a look at some strategies to utilize going into 2019 that will boost your sales and social media following. We’ll also check out some restaurants that have successfully used these tactics.
Strategy 1 - Double Down on Instagram
Instagram is hands-down the most effective social media platform for restaurants because it gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase your products. Not surprisingly, it ranks as the number one social media app for engagement with restaurant brands. More than 93% of people claim that the visual appearance of a product influences their purchasing decision. People want to see pictures of your scrumptious food, inviting decor, behind the scene clippings of your kitchen, etc.
You should double your focus and effort on Instagram as soon as possible. This will allow you to tap into the reach and power of social media faster than any other platform. Also, utilize relevant hashtags for your Instagram posts. The use of hashtags alone can increase engagement by 12.7%.
- How Do I Do It? - The greatest call-to-action a restaurant can have is by posting mouthwatering pictures of your food. Spend some time taking some great photos of selections from your menu, especially the newly added ones.
Now that you have some great content to start utilizing, use a common theme and filter within your pictures; this will help provide consistency and give your brand a distinct angle that people look for. You can achieve this through the use of great visual tools, like PosterMyWall, that provide thousands of professionally designed templates for a variety of themes. Simply select a template that you like, customize it for your restaurant, and download.
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After creating your content, use an Instagram scheduling and analytics tool like Hopper to schedule your posts for the week. It is much more effective for you as a restaurant owner to spend one-hour planning and strategically scheduling your posts for the upcoming week versus spending an hour a day in between other tasks to try and figure out a quick post for that day.
- Who Does It Well? - Botolino Gelato
Botolino Gelato in Dallas, TX has mastered their social media marketing. They combine a creative mix of Instagram posts that contain pictures of their new flavors and specials, but also user-generated content. This routinely drives in higher levels of engagement for their brand.
Strategy 2 - Utilize Engaging Video
As seen in the previous example, engaging with customers on social media is key to a restaurant’s success. Videos consistently have the highest percentage of engagement, so this type of content should make up a large percentage of your posts on social media. Also, try to utilize the Live Video features on social media to show your audience sneak peeks from your restaurant and establish that personal connection. According to Facebook, the average person spends 3 times more time watching a live video than one that isn’t live.
If you are consistently posting engaging content for your target audience, you will stay on the top of their minds and subsequently drive in more and more traffic toward your restaurant.
- How Do I Do It? - Creating spectacular video content is much easier than you think! You can simply browse through PosterMyWall’s professionally designed video templates to create engaging commercials and other video content for your social media platforms in minutes only. Make your food come to life through your video content and draw in customers faster than any other form of advertising or content.
- Who Does It Well? - Kinfork BBQ & Tap
Videos can provide a unique look and perspective for your restaurant. Kinfork BBQ & Tap in Schaumburg, IL has consistently utilized video to draw attention to new specials or offerings. One example was when they creatively rolled out their new menu and gave their audience a visual tasting. This generated some of the highest numbers of engagement Kinfork has seen to date.
Strategy 3 - Stay Immediate
The first thing your customers see when they go to your social media page should not be a post about last week’s dinner special. Timely posts, like your new special for the night, video from a recent event, or announcing a limited-time discount only for your social media followers are smart ways to sell immediacy. After all, you probably wouldn’t be happy if you went on a restaurant’s social media page, saw a 15% off coupon code, but found out it expired last Friday?
- How Do I Do It? - Utilize powerful social media planning tools like Social Report that can help you plan out your social media posts for the week, while you plan your specials for the week. This will help ensure you are posting about all of your specials and events in a timely manner across all platforms.
- Who Does It Well? - Nekter Juice Bar
Nekter Juice Bar out of Costa Mesa, CA consistently posts daily social media updates that are visually appealing and bursting with color. They also change their color palette monthly, pairing their brand color with a seasonal shade to support their message of “it’s more than just juice, it’s a healthy lifestyle.” Nekter also utilizes a hashtag with their brand (livethenekterlife). This helps them consistently attract hundreds of likes per post and dozens of comments.
Strategy 4 - Display Your Menu
People like to have an idea about their options before they come in to eat at a restaurant. It’s crucial that you display your menu on all your social media platforms in an appealing manner.
Focus on good menu design, as your customers will remember you for it. Get creative and display your menu regularly across all your social media channels. As you add new/seasonal items to your menu, make sure you schedule announcement posts on your social media platforms simultaneously.
-How Do I Do It? - You can create stunning menu designs for your social media with beautifully designed templates. Tools like PosterMyWall provide everything you need to create menu designs, under one roof. Once your menu is ready, add it to your Facebook page and all other social media platforms. A stunning menu that is easily scannable will definitely set you apart from your competition.
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- Who Does It Well? - Iota Brew Cafe
Iota Brew Cafe in Los Angeles consistently gets great interaction and responses on their social media accounts. Anytime they have new offerings on their menu, or announcements to make, they have a great-looking social media post to go along with it. Iota sticks with a vintage look for their menu design and people absolutely love it.
Strategy 5 - Converse With Your Customers
Social media is the perfect place for your customers to not only talk to you but to talk about you. Have fun with making it more personal. Starting a conversation on social media breaks down any perceived barriers between your restaurant and your customers, makes you more “real,” and will lead to even more interactions in the future.
- How Do I Do It? - Make sure you are consistently checking social media sites for mentions and comments about you and your restaurant and reply to every single one of them. It is important that you reply with individualized and customized responses to each person. You definitely do not want to use template responses. Not personalizing your responses and showing your followers a canned response each time is one of the quickest ways to alienate yourself from your customers. Restaurants who respond timely to customers on social media will generate greater buzz as more than 71% people say they’re more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly to them on social media according to Forbes. Tools, like Mention.com, help you stay on top of all your brand mentions and comments on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page.
-Who Does It Well? - Dunkin Donuts
Dunkin Donuts is always thinking outside the box when it comes to connecting with their audience on social media. Despite being such a large corporation, they still create a hometown feel that you can relate and connect with. In this example, Dunkin Donuts provides an individualized and signed response to customer praise with their signature "DD" and a plug to their seasonal Pumpkin Swirl offering. In one fell swoop, they connected with a follower, showed that their brand is still “real,” and brought attention to one of their latest offerings.
With 2019 fast approaching, this is the perfect time to step back and evaluate the new opportunities for your restaurant’s social media marketing. Take the time to see where you currently lack and how, with just a couple of tweaks, you can kick up the creativity.
Social media is the first place diners turn to when deciding where to eat and what places they should be raving about. A negative review on social media can break your restaurant, and a positive review can up your game like nothing else. You can set your restaurant up for success by staying consistent in your posting, using stunning visual displays, showing off your great looking menu, and interacting with your followers on a continual basis. Build your stack of social media marketing tools to include Poster My Wall, Hopper, and Mention, and you’ll cover all the bases you need to help fill your restaurant in 2019!