Certain marketing best practices apply across all types of industries, but restaurants will find that they need to use a different playbook if they want more impactful results. Their marketing campaigns are story-driven and visually impactful - more so than other business sectors.
More importantly, your marketing campaign needs to be tailored according to the target audience and pricing strategy.
Some restaurants offer a more upscale food eating experience and won't get as many impulse purchases. Their guests often plan a semi-expensive trip solely to eat at the place. As a result, they'll do more research on average than they would if they ate at a 'regular' restaurant. This means you'll need an appropriate social media marketing strategy to capture each type of guest.
In this blog, we'll take a look at five tried and tested social media marketing strategies for restaurants. The following will not only boost online orders but also help you connect with your guests in meaningful ways.
Before Starting: Identify Your Audience
First things first: learn everything there is to know about your target audience. Once you are fully acquainted with your audience base, you'll know how to approach them. Don't use a cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing and hope it would cut across generations and demographics.
Most millennial travelers, for instance, won't select a restaurant without enough social proof. Aim to build enough credibility on social media to influence your diner's decision.
To understand them better, look at your past data and find out which type of guests frequent your restaurant (or your competitor's restaurant). Are they travelers, corporates, families, or groups of friends?
Each group needs to be addressed differently and according to their pain points. Couples, for instance, wouldn't care so much about restaurant space as would a delegation of office workers.
This is why we recommend creating buyer personas to represent a segment of your target market. Here is a detailed guide by Hubspot on this topic.
1. Facebook Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
At this point, Facebook doesn't need any introduction. It's the de-facto platform for businesses and individuals alike. At the time of writing, PPC campaigns on Facebook for restaurants are relatively inexpensive, at least compared to Google and Bing.
Other than PPC marketing, we also recommend hiring an expert to create an organic social media experience for your fans.
The good thing about Facebook is that it doesn't limit your word count or video size. This gives you a lot of wiggle room to create an authentic story for your audience. Some of the types of posts you can work on include:
- Short videos
- Stories and live videos
- Special offers, deals, and promotions
On the one hand, you can share content such as promotions for food and beverages. And on the other hand, you can share memorable pictures taken by guests.
Careful when reusing a guest's work. Always ask them for permission and thank them for their work. By sharing a guest's pictures, the restaurant involves the diner and makes them feel important and valued.
Pro tip: Set up multiple locations on Facebook for location-based ads if you have multiple outlets.
The main advantage is that the closest locations will pop up for your diners. Think of the main page as the umbrella page. Each location can have its subpage linked to the main one. This makes it easier to promote location-specific menu specials.
Plus, Facebook is a great place to add all your contact details. It helps to think of Facebook as a social media hub for your profiles and website - a place where everything comes together.
Bonus points if you can cycle all your content through Facebook, especially if you have a blog.
2. Twitter Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags - the most effective way to measure the impact of a viral marketing campaign.
Most restaurants will want to use Twitter for customer service and send time-sensitive updates to diners about events happening at the restaurant or in the area. It is best used to update diners about things that are happening right now. You can also use it to engage guests while they are enjoying their food.
You will have to build a following on Twitter for your users to rely on your profile. Responding to queries from users on Twitter can improve spending, referrals, and repeat clients.
Just make sure to watch your answer speed. Many users expect restaurants to respond in the next few minutes of Tweeting.
Most brands don't have a problem with this because they have a dedicated customer service account on Twitter.
3. Instagram Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Instagram is visually driven and allows restaurants. You will need to rely on high-resolution photos and videos to make the most impact. It's also why Instagram is one of the most impactful social networks for restaurants.
You want diners to get excited when eating and spending time with their friends at your restaurant. Instagram is the ideal platform to post beautiful images of your restaurant.
This doesn't mean that you should ignore written content because it is an important supplementary addition to the pictures and videos you add.
You will also want to include some user-generated content as part of your restaurant's social media strategy. Again, make sure to ask permission from your guests, give them credit where credit is due, and thank them for their efforts. This will give you plenty of social proof and give off customer-friendly vibes.
Pro tip: Create a space within your restaurant that is designed specifically for Instagram selfies. For obvious reasons, this space should be more upscale, well polished, and capture the kind of vibes you want to send off to viewers.
And as always, don't forget to use corresponding hashtags to reach as many people as possible. Hashtags are practically free advertisement at this point, so leverage them to the best of your ability.
4. TripAdvisor Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Social proof is more effective than a million-dollar marketing campaign. This is because most diners rely on online reviewing sites like TripAdvisor to research potential restaurants to visit.
If you haven't already claimed your listing on TripAdvisor, do so now. Once you do that, you can update details about your restaurant, respond to reviews, and receive analytics for your restaurant on TripAdvisor.
It is extremely important to update every small detail about your restaurant. Make sure that what diners see online is what they'll get in reality. People are already creating expectations about your restaurant in their minds. When reality doesn't align, that can result in a flurry of negative reviews.
This means that whenever you introduce changes to your menu, make renovations, or a new coat of paint. You need to make sure that your TripAdvisor account shows the change. In fact, it's better to update all your social media accounts to reflect any changes your restaurant has undergone.
Pro tip: Add a TripAdvisor widget on your website (but only do this if you have plenty of good reviews).
Finally, it's extremely important to respond to reviewers, especially those writing a bad review. Instead of taking a bad review as an offense, treat it as constructive 'feedback.' Diners want to see that you are listening and caring about their overall experience.
Also, don't forget to respond to positive reviewers. A simple, "Thank you" will suffice. It's a simple way to show guests that you are actively paying attention.
5. Claim Your Google My Business Profile
One last thing that doesn't get as much attention: the Google My Business page.
A GMB page is probably the biggest indicator of social proof. It also automatically boosts your local SEO efforts - so make sure to claim your GMB page.
Remember, if you are running a franchise, you'll need to claim a profile for each location. Try to provide a consistent experience across all business profiles, websites, and social profiles.
Claiming your profile lets you have your own Knowledge Panel in Google search results - and that gives you even more social proof. The knowledge panel contains information about your restaurant, including links to your social media profiles.
Once your GMB page is up, you can start writing Google Posts. It is a feature that enables your restaurant to share relevant posts, updates, and offers on your GMB profile in the search results page itself.
The content can take the form of videos, links, images, or just regular updates that are designed to quickly provide information to users.
Smaller restaurants can use this as a way to post special discounts and information to diners searching with branded queries.
Pro tip: Name Address, Phone Number (NAP) is a strong ranking signal that search engines use to decide if your restaurant is a possible solution to a localized query.
It's extremely important to be consistent with your NAP across all your social media profiles and websites.
You can create your NAP with the local business schema.
Wrap Up - Other Popular Sites for Social Media Marketing
Now that you have a working social media marketing strategy for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, your journey doesn't just stop there.
Here are some other sites you should try to build profiles on:
- Yahoo Local
As a general rule, the more expansive your social media presence, the greater your social proof, and the higher your chances of getting online orders for the restaurant. It's as simple as that.
Need a powerful social media marketing strategy? Get in touch with the pros at MenuCRM here.