We are not Masterchefs, and we can’t tell you what to cook and prepare for your customers, but here are a few tips that can help you make your business “delicious” on social media.
Managing social media activities for restaurants is not a walk in the park. You have to make sure you’re creating lots of attractive content, and that you’re answering your customers’ needs, as well as handling their complaints. You may even face a crisis or two, once in a while.
All this shouldn’t scare you. You need to do your best still to provide your customers and potential customers with the updates they need.
Why Should Restaurants Be On Social Media?
We could possibly write a hundred reasons why, but we’ll keep it as simple as possible here.
Your audience is there. Have you ever reacted in any way to a restaurant’s ad, to a friend’s photo of a fancy dinner, or to your partner’s WhatsApp messages featuring a crispy pizza? Here we come.
People use social media on a daily basis. This allows you to build your brand awareness all the time, reaching people who could visit your establishment now, in an hour, tomorrow, or next month. You can create and fulfil their needs.
Take it from us: Your restaurant simply HAS to be active on social. Follow the tips below – it will be an easier and more pleasant experience!
BTW, Social Media Is MORE than Facebook
Facebook seems to be the first choice for many restaurants, but there’s much more than Facebook out there. If you want to be successful, you have to be strong on TripAdvisor as well, as that’s is where your audience heads for generous and genuine recommendations. It is hard to stand out on TripAdvisor, but what can help you is to keep your communication clear, answer reviews, and provide updates. Nobody wants to see your menu from 2012.
Another idea is to use Instagram. Restaurants seem to be a bit afraid of this medium, or they only rely on sharing photos without actually interacting with people. To be successful on Instagram, you not only have to upload some photos (with a couple of hashtags), but should also try things like Instagram Stories and other features, ask questions, and interact with your audience. You should also be reaching out to new customers – by tracking hashtags, for example). There are so many ways to use Instagram for the restaurant business that I’ve actually just come up with an idea of another post…
You should also not forget about Twitter. Many brands win their customers’ hearts by using Twitter (especially restaurant chains) restaurants). Twitter requires you not only to follow audiences but also hot topics, trends and provides some real-time marketing opportunities. According to Adweek, restaurants are the most engaging industry on Twitter! The platform is quick and consistent, and you can reach out and address your customers as soon as they tag you in their Tweets (and especially in their complaints).
If you consider Yelp or Pinterest forgotten, you better change your mind. They can drive a lot of online (and offline) traffic. There are currently more than 6 billion food-related Pins on Pinterest.
Appetizing Content And Consistent Communication
You’ll need to create content you would like to eat, not scroll away from. Invest in proper photo equipment, or hire someone who could make your food look delicious. Not many restaurants take this task seriously. Once you have photos you can use, you shouldn’t be worried about distributing them.
Make sure you’re consistent by introducing new meals, being responsive, and answering questions. Be regular and don’t forget to update your menu, business hours, and announce some special events.
Show Appreciation To Your Audience
Make your audience feel special, and thank them for being there with you, and giving you trust. Prepare some coupons just for them, organise giveaways through your accounts, and distribute vouchers exclusively through social channels. Go the extra mile for your clients, not only in your restaurant but also online.
Care About Your Online Reputation
Recommendations have always been the key to success. In this digital era, recommending (or hating on) something is easier than ever before. According to Empathica, 72% of customers have used Facebook to choose a restaurant based on other users’ influence – their shared photos or comments.
Reviews can take you places, or make you struggle, so you should take them seriously. Of course, everyone would always like to get five stars for their work, but it doesn’t always w0rk like that. The biggest mistake you can make is to “hear,” but not to “listen:” you should always react to people’s voice, even if it is criticising you.
You also should answer positive reviews with a big shout out and an invitation for a next visit (you can even test giving some special gimmicks here: for example, a free cookie with their next coffee. This little thing can encourage your clients to build their positive user experience and come back to your restaurant. They can even become brand ambassadors for your place and spread the word (or two) among their relatives and friends. Isn’t it something you actually really, really want?
Concentrate On User-Generated Content And Social Proof
This could be a part of your online reputation management process, but we decided to put it into a separate point. UGC for restaurants can be really helpful to make you sparkle and gain even more customers. Social proof can “prove” your messages. Here are some tricks you can use right now:
Follow your audience on social media – give them likes, follow them, but remember you are not a bot, and you don’t want to be one. So, perhaps you shouldn’t even use one (you know, the automated liking kind). Like content that is relevant to your restaurant.
Use peoples’ photos after asking for permission – Alternatively, use sites like Pixey.io, where you can find Instagram photos to purchase, and which are legal for commercial purposes.
Monitor social media with tools like Brand24, so you won’t miss a single mention of your restaurant. If it’s good, you could react; if it’s bad, you HAVE TO act – unless you like crises on social media.
Retweet Tweets about your restaurant – People will feel appreciated, and it could actually just be “kind of you.” It costs you nothing – only one click.
Encourage mentions of your restaurant, or check-ins in return for freebies at next visits.
Experiment With Formats
Photos of food can indeed be #foodporn, but that’s not all you can do! There are so many formats on social media that you can use. It would be a sin not to benefit from them.
Use events to launch new meals, celebrate your restaurant’s birthday, promote a special offer that is limited in time. Promoting events is not easy, but the audience stays highly engaged.
Video is a format beloved by social media audiences. If you don’t have the tools to make an appealing video, try some native features on Facebook – you can create an animated post or slideshow, and even add some music. It is basic, but it could work!
Stories and Live videos can engage your following fast, but for long, so first ensure that your regular communication is spot-on. If so, use those formats to interact with your followers. It makes very little sense to try everything, without the base of consistent communication on a daily basis.
If your restaurant is local – i.e. gets local customers mainly, it’s a good idea to reach people living nearby. Facebook targeting options allow you to do so easily. For example, you can use postcodes to target people living in a specific area, and you can even offer them a few local messages. People like engaging in this form of personalisation.
Also, check out your competitors – in the “Info & Ads” tab on Facebook. It can help you see if they promote any services. Maybe you can get inspired by what they post, or, preferably, come up with a better idea? For you, check-ins will be essential.
Managing a restaurant on social media can be fun if you are conscious and well-prepared! Remember keeping a human face (or voice) while providing the highest level of communication. And the best food.
You might also like
More from Experts Talk
Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing at Hootsuite, talks about how brands can create meaning in an uncertain world.