Whether you like it or not, your restaurant has a social media presence. Your customers are online, talking about you. Maybe they’re reviewing on Yelp; maybe they’re checking in on Facebook; maybe they’re posting a picture of their entrée on Pinterest.
It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, they’re sharing information about your restaurant. And they’re posting on social media for all of their friends and followers to see.
The only question is, are you part of the conversation?
You should be.
Benefits of a Restaurant Using Social Media
- Drive Traffic
- Gain Loyal Following
- Free Advertising
- You’re in Control (Can Respond to Problems Quickly)
- Social Media Engagement
Social Media Strategies for Restaurants
Your food is what keeps your doors open. Be proud of it and share as many photos of your food as possible. Six out of 10 chefs now encourage customers to take photos of their food and post it on social media.
But your social media strategy shouldn’t just revolve around your food. Customers buy from people as much as they buy a product. Just as the service in your restaurant is important, act the same way on social media. Don’t be afraid of posting photos of your crew, your chef, food preparation, or fresh produce arriving.
Another great strategy is to post photos of regular customers (with their permission of course) and tag them. Or sharing photos of a full dining room with the caption, “Hope to see you here next week!”
Use social media to promote your restaurant. And, because this is an on-going, constantly changing platform, staying up to date is extremely important. That’s why using social media management tools, like a Unified Social Inbox, which puts all of your social media channels and notifications on one screen, are so useful.
- Exclusive Offers to Followers
People love feeling like they are in the “know”. Use that to your advantage by posting monthly contests or giveaways to your followers. Maybe it’s a coupon for a free appetizer only to social media followers. Or maybe you offer a free dinner to the “mayor”, the person who checks in the most during a certain time span.
Best of all, the giveaways aren’t your only option. Something as simple as posting Friday’s specials every Thursday night on Facebook can create buzz and anticipation.
An easy trap to fall into with social media is to only post about you. While it seems like the best way to gain a following, it’s actually counterproductive. People are sick and tired of brands constantly promoting themselves.
The key to success with your social media strategy is engagement. This means being involved and staying up to date on what’s happening with your different social media accounts, your followers, and mentions. Use a social media management tool to your advantage. The good ones will make social media engagement easier by having all of your social media channels, specific mentions, notifications, and messages easily accessible.
- User Generated Content
What’s the best way to create a loyal following? Encourage and share User Generated Content. This is a perfect example of social media engagement and leverages that engagement into free advertising. Plus, your audience feels more involved.
A great strategy is to ask followers to share photos of their favorite meals and tag your restaurant. Then, you can share it with your followers, enticing more engagment. With social media management tools like Auto Post, you can set up your queue, schedule times to post, and the posts will go out automatically. This can save you time and energy while engaging and sharing with your followers. Finally, you can make sure your accounts remain active.
- Be Active on Yelp
Customers are going to review your restaurant. Some will be good and others will be bad. If you respond only to the good reviews, and ignore the bad ones, you’ll give a bad impression to those reading the reviews.
Treat the bad reviewers as though they’re still in the restaurant. You wouldn’t ignore a customer’s complaints if they were still having dinner. You’d approach them and ask if there’s anything you could do to make their experience better. If you do the same on Yelp, it will not only help the customer that had the bad experience, but it will develop trust with those reading the reviews.
With 80% of consumers researching a restaurant online prior to going for the first time, it is imperative that you are active on Yelp. Combining good reviews with proper handling of bad ones are great ways to promote your business on Yelp.
Grow Your Restaurant With Social Media Strategies
Word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising. People trust a recommendation much more than they trust advertising. Now, those types of recommendations have moved online to social media. The continued growth of your restaurant hinges on your social media strategy and your engagement level.
Take the time to properly engage your customers on social media. Find the right social media management tool for you, preferably one that allows you to monitor discussions, mentions, and hashtags so you can easily keep track of all the notifications and messages important to you.
The best strategy to grow your restaurant through social media, is to be active and engaging. Share photos of your food, your crew, and your customers. By involving your followers, as well as your customers, you are creating a loyal following that will advertise and recommend your restaurant for you.
If stuck, find out the 4 Tips for Better Engagement on Social Media.