Consumers are 57% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media and 71% more likely to buy after a positive social media experience. You might be wondering how this is possible. Well, I can tell you it’s because of the effect social media has on consumer behavior. This effect is the reason why you should be using social media to advertise your restaurant. The good news is you don’t need to have a degree in marketing to understand social media and use it to your advantage.
Starting Social Media Accounts
The first step is to create social media accounts that will be able to represent your restaurant well. Surprisingly, food chains are known for being well liked on social media for their clever marketing tactics. You should identify what you are wanting to do with your social media accounts before setting anything up. This is because each social media platform serves its own unique use, which is what makes them so popular on their own.
For example, if you are wanting to provide discounts and important information about your business, Instagram and Facebook are very useful. They have a very high reach with a wide variety of audiences that use the platform all hours of the day. In addition, they have the option to make a business profile instead of a “personal” profile. This unlocks features that allow you to analyze your audience statistics that will be helpful to the success of your social media.
To start, Twitter is going to be where you utilize comedy or clever tweets and biographies to attract attention to your restaurant. If you look at the biographies on Twitter for both Chipotle and Wendy’s, you can see they kept it simple but put a comedic twist on it.
Having a clear logo and a short but sweet biography on Twitter will go a long way. When choosing the link to place in your biography, make it something click-worthy. It might be tempting to put a link to another social media page or your favorite article, but try linking your website or menu.
When posting on Twitter, it’s important to keep it short and to the point. Some businesses want to share as much information as possible, but that would be better suited for platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Some great examples of short, yet effective marketing tweets are Chipotle advertising that you can get free guacamole by purchasing the “veggie” option on their menu.
Wendy’s used this clever tweet to promote their buy one get one free deal on their chicken sandwich on daylight savings. It was short, to the point and directed their users to a new deal on their Wendy’s app.
Moving on to Instagram, this is the platform where you can show the aesthetically pleasing aspects of your restaurant. Instagram is great for this because over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily. This transitions into 1/3 of the most viewed Instagram stories being from businesses!
Take advantage of these statistics and capture the best pictures of your food. Restaurants with quality of their food attract food bloggers who will then promote your menu to their Instagram page. And the catch with all of this is… It’s free!
These are great examples of restaurants that utilize aesthetically pleasing pictures of their food to attract potential customers. Each picture is tagged with their restaurant location and they encourage their customers to share photos as well.
You get bonus points if parts of your restaurant are deemed worthy enough to take pictures at. Here is a great example of a café in Malibu, CA that has made their restaurant a place for people to take pictures at.
When setting up your business Instagram profile, make sure to fill out as much important information as possible without being overwhelming. An example of a good business profile would be the Instagram page for a popular burger joint in Los Angeles.
They have their hours of operation, address, link to their website and a basic description of who they are. You can also see that they have the option to message and email them, which makes for an easy method of communication. Chat is the preferred support channel of Millennials, which means having these options available are great for your restaurant.
The first thing you should do with Facebook is make a page for your restaurant. Their setup is easy and they outline all the information you need to fill out for your page to be successful. Here is an example of a small-town pizzeria that has all the necessary information listed. They have the address, phone number, website and hours of operation.
Another great feature is the ability for your customers to message you via Facebook. Again, most people are looking for quick responses and the easiest methods to contact you.
Another reason why Facebook is resourceful is because people that like your page can leave reviews. An even better feature is when people ask for recommendations on Facebook, people can reply with a direct link to your business. This has been proven to increase exposure to your page, thus increasing the number of loyal customers you have.
In a survey distributed by BrightLocal in 2016, they found that Facebook is the most popular way consumers recommend or review local businesses. Again, this gives you free exposure to customers in your surrounding areas.
How Often to Post on Social Media
Now that you know what platforms to use and how to get started, the next step is knowing how often you should be posting. This can be tough because there is a very fine line between overwhelming your followers and them forgetting you exist. Essentially, it’s all about finding the happy medium.
On Facebook, 4-5 posts a week is a safe amount. If you have deals on specific days of the week or you’re releasing new menu items, this is a great way to advertise that. They can serve as friendly reminders to your customers to come visit your restaurant.
Twitter is different than all the other social media channels because the average tweet’s lifetime only lasts 18 minutes. However, after the 3rd tweet, people tend to lose interest. A safe amount for Twitter is 1-3 tweets per day. Try keeping these tweets short and to the point and don’t be afraid to see what other restaurants are posting on twitter.
For Instagram, you might need to pay attention to your business page analytics to determine when you should be posting. Smaller accounts should refrain from posting more than twice per day because it will result in a drop in your engagement, thus causing less people to see your posts. Neil Patel says that frequency is not as important for Instagram because Instagram users expect consistency and quality over the number of pictures they see from you. Try focusing on taking quality pictures that represent your restaurant and food well and only share them once a day.
Promotions and Giveaways
Promotions and giveaways are a great way to get engagement on your accounts. A great example would be to offer a discount or free item to a random customer after reaching a certain amount of likes on your Facebook page. This excites your customers (because let’s be honest… everybody loves free or a good discount) and will attract new ones as well.
You can try the same technique with Instagram and offer a discount or free item after getting your page to a certain number of followers. A lot of businesses will make it a rule when entering the giveaway that you need to tag a certain number of friends and like a few of your posts to be entered. What will likely happen is your customers will want the free item and tag 3 of their friends who live in the area. The effect is your engagement goes up and you gain the attention of customers in your area. Again, this is entirely free to you and benefits your customers as well.
Instagram and Facebook offer the option for you to run ads on your pages. These are great because they promote the post of your choosing and you get to select the budget for the campaign. However, don’t feel like the only way you will gain exposure is by running an advertisement. As stated before, they are many free options to attract new customers and build a following on your social media pages.
Collaborations are very popular among restaurants and food establishments. There are food bloggers whose job is to visit restaurants, try their food and post about it on social media. In turn, people that follow that blogger will trust their judgment and try your food. For example, there is a very popular food blogger in the Los Angeles area that is highly trusted in the vegan community. One Instagram post of your food on his account will earn you a spot on the list of places that people feel compelled to visit.
Now that you know how to be successful on social media, it’s time to make the first step. Don’t feel pressured to have thousands of followers and customers traveling across the country to visit your restaurant just yet. It’s important to remember that every successful restaurant started exactly where you are now. If there’s anything to take away from this guide, it’s to use the best parts of your restaurant to your advantage. You don’t need to spend money on advertising if you are genuine to your customers and provide great service. Here are a few other articles that can help you with establishing a loyal customer base and ways to improve your business.