Social media is a great digital ally for any business. Without the need for significant outlays, a business can increase brand awareness and audience interaction with just a good plan and a dash of creativity.
Restaurants on social media can use this digital marketing tool to great effect as it is so easy to translate your offerings into appealing visual content. If you are one of the many restaurants on social media ready to boost your presence online, the following 7 tips will help set you on the right path.
1. Social Media = Social Proof
For restaurants on social media, often the posts that appear in relation to your business act as social proof for potential customers. In this fast-moving digital world, the way we research and decide upon a product or service is constantly changing. It is now imperative that restaurants are active on social media because people are increasingly relying on the testimony of their network to help decide on where to eat.
The first place you hear about a new restaurant opening in your locality is usually on social media. As your friends try it out they may post images and videos of their experience there. The next time you are looking for a place to eat, that restaurant is fresh in your mind. In this way, restaurants on social media can easily grow brand awareness without having to invest hugely in the process.
When you see social proof posted about your restaurant on social media, take the time to respond to it – and not just the rave reviews either. When someone takes the time to let you know that the service didn’t hit the mark or that their food arrived cold, this gives you an opportunity to improve, so engage with them in such a way that they feel validated and understood.
2. Use the Space Provided
Each social media platform allows different options in relation to the information you can input about your restaurant. When you’re getting started, it can be tempting to save the information part for later and get straight to posting. This can be a fatal mistake, as we all know things that get left til later can tend to get neglected over time.
Use the space that your social media profiles allow you to give as much information to your potential customers as possible. Be sure to include the basics like opening hours, location and contact numbers. Most people utilise this space, but if you want to stand out, you will go that little bit further and include extra details which will speak to your audience. For example, are you a child friendly restaurant, do you specialise in dietary requirements, are you easily wheelchair accessible, do you put practices in place to welcome nursing mothers? These little details make a big difference to someone who needs to consider these factors before dining out. Whatever marks you out as unique should be highlighted here.
3. Maximise on Your Location
Restaurants play a unique part in communities, people have genuine connections with the places they love to go to eat. Restaurants are different than most other businesses in this way. Think about how your restaurant fits into your location and community. Are you proactive in engaging with local groups and events? If not, now’s the time to consider doing so, and social media can help.
If you know that there are specific events on in your locality, restaurants on social media can slot themselves into the activity seamlessly. How? Consider running a promotion for those people taking part in the event, if it is a charity event you may want to reward the participants with a money off coupon or other offer. This creates a sense of goodwill, particularly when you know that there will be a lot of people in the area at the time. Nice gestures matter to people.
You can also advertise based on your location. There are plenty of advertising options that will work very well with restaurants on social media. Choosing to advertise based on your specific location will serve your ads to people who are nearby and so can deliver a greater return on investment than a more general approach.
4. Create Content that Resonates
Restaurants on social media should focus their efforts on creating great, shareable content. What does that mean? Those promotional posts that shout about how great you are shouldn’t make up the bulk of your posting activity. People don’t like to feel like their being sold to. Millennials, in particular, have an aversion to this type of marketing. If they make up any significant segment of your audience being too promotional could drive your audience away.
Ask your yourself what your audience care about. What other types of pages are they interacting with online? What do they get from that page that they feel moved to interact with? Does your brand align with these other pages in some way? Humour can motivate people to interact with content, as does innovative thinking, endorsement of a cause or adhering to a particular style. You know your audience best, give them what they want in a fun, visual way on the social media platforms that they love.
5. Get People Talking (Positively!)
It is so easy to spread ideas on social media. A friend, or someone in your network takes a photo of their amazing food at a restaurant, checks in and says they are having an incredible evening there. Before you know it easily 10 or 20 people could have seen that post and that restaurant is now on their radar.
Encouraging user generated content is a great way to foster this type of behaviour. People now tend to do this anyway, giving them a nudge to do so, by offering an incentive of some sort moves your existing audience to market your business throughout their network for free!
6. Digital Influencer Friendly Zone
The term digital influencer has perhaps become overused of late and some people are railing against the idea completely. However, restaurants on social media are ideal businesses to collaborate with digital influencers to great effect.
If this approach is one you would like to pursue, begin by identifying a digital influencer who aligns with your brand. This is key. There is no point in investing time and energy in a collaboration with someone who does not get what you do or your audience.
There are a number of ways you can collaborate with digital influencers. Invite them in for a meal and have them post a blogpost about their experience at your restaurant; if you specialise in a particular type of food or dietary requirements, a digital influencer in the holistic space might be a good match and you could arrange a showcase of your menu options which feature specific ingredients. The possibilities for collaborations with digital influencers really are endless. Put your thinking cap on and get creative!
If you’re not quite ready to engage with a digital influencer one on one, you can attract digital influencers to your restaurant by promoting a welcoming atmosphere. Do you offer free wifi? Perhaps you have some great interior décor which makes a great backdrop for a selfie? It could even be your display of deserts or pastries that lure them in, use what you can to attract those with a wide readership online.
7. Strategise & Analyse
As with any aspect of digital marketing, you need to be strategic about growing your restaurant’s presence on social media. Jumping in whenever you get a burst of enthusiasm, followed by a drought can work against you.
Set up a schedule for posting that you can maintain. Ideally, identify one member of staff who will manage your social media presence. By all means, get everyone involved with photos and post ideas, but have one point of contact to ensure consistency.
Analysing how you are performing is equally as important. Monitor which posts get the most engagement on social media and which don’t quite work. You can also see which times are most effective for posting so that you reach more people.
Creating a strong social media presence can seem like a daunting task for many restaurant owners. It can take time to get right, but with a planned approach and the above steps, you may just find your engagement sky rockets! Try them out and let us know how you get on.