Updated: July 2022
As a restaurant owner, adding a social media marketing strategy can be huge for your business…and help you increase your profits exponentially.
It might seem like a pain to add social media to your lengthy to-do list but social media isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, it’s a marketing tool businesses are using to bring in more business – and you can too.
This year marks a major milestone in the marketing world because digital advertising spending is (finally) projected to surpass traditional marketing spending. And one of the biggest digital channels? You guessed it, social media. Pro-tip: Make sure you’re on top of these biggest trends for 2019
An active social media presence not only helps you stay top of mind with current followers/fans/customers but it also helps you get in front of new ones. Think about it: If you’re scrolling social media, then get hungry and are looking for somewhere to eat, there’s a good chance if you see a recent food photo from a local restaurant that you’re probably going to end up there. Plus, staying active on social is one of the best ways to get recognized by the media for cool things you have going on (trust us, we would know 😉 ).
Here are 5 simple ways you can improve your restaurant’s social media presence:
#1: Take Your Own Photos
The restaurant industry is a visually-driven industry. Before you sell people on how incredible your food tastes, you need to sell them on how incredible it looks. So embrace your inner food stylist and take photos of your food and drinks in your restaurant. Don’t worry, you don’t need a professional camera to take really, really, ridiculously good looking photos. By using social media to create visual advertisements, you can draw people in and help them imagine what the food tastes like and what your restaurant’s vibe is like.
@breezyburritobar is a champ at this. You can almost taste the fresh ingredients just from scrolling through their feed, and from a markteing POV the subtle branding in the background is clutch.
In our highly visual world photos and videos matter a LOT when it comes to consumer perceptions and spending triggers, and the way you showcase what you have to offer can make all the difference. Especially in the food and beverage world! Pro-tip: Make sure your business is doing these small changes that will take your social media to the next level.
Taking your own photos might require more work, but it’s worth it. Social media was made for food photos, and the foodies following you want to see photos of your restaurant’s food. And again, any media looking to cover you can easily access your image gallery if you have nice, delicious looking food photos available. PLUS any potential customers can quickly see what you’re about and get their stomachs growling. Your social media should provide a glimpse inside your place and make your followers hungry and thirsty. PSA: Try to avoid stock photos at all costs. 1) it’s an inaccurate representation of what your restaurant offers, 2) you have so much good food, why post generic food pics?, and 3) you might get requests for food as pictured and end up with disappointed customers. Also bonus 4) it’s tacky and makes you look bad. Just don’t.
#2: Update Your Hours
If your restaurant’s hours change seasonally/weekly/daily, make sure your social media accounts are up to date. You can easily edit hours under Page Info settings on Facebook, share an update to your Instagram Story, or send a tweet announcing the switch. And don’t forget about Google My Business! Here’s a quick how-to help you out! Remember, many people rely on Google to find out whether or not a place is open – so keep everything as current as possible!
#3: Share Your Specials
“What’s new this week?” – everyone following you on social media. Keep your feed fresh by highlighting your specials and new menu items when they debut. If people follow your restaurant, chances are they’ll be interested to know about the newest pizza you made or cocktails on your seasonal menu!
And don’t forget about happy hour. People love happy hour specials, so let them know when and where to find them. And if your restaurant is running a promotion make sure you’re promoting it on social! It’s literally the quickest way to reach hundreds – thousands of people who already like you. The marketing masterminds at @communitybeer slay at this with their easy-to-find specials. Plus, they share extra details like ingredients, prices, and availability. Remember, providing value on social is always important.
#4: Respond to Online Reviews & Comments
The number one rule about people: they like to be heard. People write reviews for different reasons, some people simply want to connect with the brands they love, others have an opinion they want to be acknowledged.
Try to make sure to personally respond to positive reviews and comments. When someone takes the time to share their positive experience with the world it’s a big deal (for you, them, and any potential customers reading the review), so show them how much you appreciate them with a few kind words.
Addressing negative reviews and showing appreciation for positive ones earns you major customer approval points. If someone does have something negative to say, make sure your response is personal and specifically addresses the reviewer’s concerns. Mistakes happen, how you respond to them matters much more.
According to a study by Reviewtrackers:
- 94 percent of consumers say that a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business
- 45 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews
This same logic applies to social media. When people comment on your posts, whether it’s positive or negative, take the time to respond. Responding builds your credibility as a business. Think about it. You’d never completely ignore a customer’s questions when he or she is dining in your restaurant. In a digital age, consumers expect this same courtesy online. Responding makes you seem more trustworthy and real, and thus people feel more comfortable doing business with you.
#5: Share Customer-Generated Content
You don’t have to take every single photo on your feed yourself! And no, that’s not permission to post the stock photo. Instead share customer photos. When your followers tag your restaurant in their photos, they want you to see them and they want *other people* to see that they were there.
At the very least you should acknowledge these photos with a comment or message. After all, these photos and videos are free advertising for your business. As for the really good photos, re-share them on your Facebook page, Instagram feed, or in your Instagram Stories. Re-sharing user-generated content saves you time and makes your followers feel special. It’s *literally* free marketing! You’re welcome.
TBH a lot of local places are already on top of this. Above is an example by the crew at @perksbuffalo. And yes, your re-shares can be as simple as sharing the post to your Instastory when your restaurant is tagged! You can also re-post directly to your feed like @tappopizza below, just don’t forget those ever-so-important photo creds.
Want to take your user-generated content one step further? Creating a hashtag, like #hashtagstepoutbuffalo. This encourages people to share photos with you and generates a backlog of social media content for you to use. Trust us: the more options you have, the easier it is to create A+ content on a regular basis.
TL;DR: Social media is super important for businesses, especially small businesses, and especially restaurants. Keep these tips in mind as you create content and you’ll start reaping the rewards in no time.
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At Step Out Buffalo, we help businesses promote themselves and their events on our website, email, and social media channels. Our team is comprised of experts who know exactly how to make your business or event stand out, and we’ll put you in all the right places so you get noticed by all the right people. Hit us up if you’d like to learn more about our business and/or events-based promotions – there’s a reason 94% of our readers go places they’ve seen on StepOutBuffalo.com