Every day, more than 3.5 billion people sign onto social media to check what’s going on in the world. That’s about 45 percent of the global population, all tapping into the social sphere to see who’s going where and what businesses like yours have to offer. Is your restaurant putting itself front and center or have you unintentionally silenced your brand’s voice?
Learn how to harness the power of social media, and you’ll gain the ability to boost brand awareness, increase loyalty, and send sales soaring. All it takes is an Internet connection, a bit of marketing savvy, and these expert tips.
Know Your Audience Members — And Their Preferred Platform
Before you can start crafting social media messaging, you need to decide where to post. Sure, you can paper the Internet with ads and behind-the-scenes videos of dinner prep, but targeted posts save time and tend to perform better. Consider the following:
- Facebook: Popular with baby boomers and Gen Xers looking for engaging content such as photos, videos, and articles with links
- LinkedIn: Mostly business-focused and ideal for sharing news, product information, and reviews/testimonials
- Twitter: The platform of choice for young adults who prefer a mix of original and curated content
- Pinterest: If you want to share products, tutorials, or link to downloadable assets (an event-planning guide or recipe book, for instance), you can find plenty of female consumers and foodies on Pinterest
- Instagram: Pictures, pictures, pictures — plus all the behind-the-scenes posts, videos, and product photos Generation Z and millennial audiences could want
- YouTube: Where people from all demographics go for videos that range from instructional to entertaining
Keep in mind the life span of a post on each platform, too. While Twitter posts are generally considered noteworthy for all of 15 to 20 minutes, Pinterest posts have an impressive duration of three months.
Painting a Picture: Using Visual Content to Connect and Entice
In a 2018 survey, 54 percent of consumers said they wanted more video content from the brands they love, versus a mere 18 percent who were looking for more blogs. Content is still king, but the type of content consumers prefer is evolving.
Answer the demand by sharing pictures and videos that emphasize your restaurant’s appeal not just as a place to eat but as a place worthy of an experience. This could be demonstrations from your chef, a tour of your new private dining room, candid shots of guests enjoying the patio and fire pit, or vibrant photos of that night’s seafood special.
It’s not enough to post. You also need to engage. That means responding to posts, answering questions posed in the comments, and tossing in a few emojis here and there to prove you’re human (assuming emojis align with your brand voice, of course). Bring your audience further into the fold by requesting user-generated content — something as simple as asking followers to caption a photo can lead to a surprising jump in activity on and offline.
Host Contests and Offer Promotions
Now that you have everyone’s attention, how will you use your time in the spotlight? With annual digital coupon redemptions set to hit a staggering $91 billion by 2022, sending discounts to your social media followers could be a huge hit. Some platforms such as Facebook have apps that run coupons and contests for you, making it even easier to lure diners with a two-for-one entree detail or half-price happy hour snacks.
Social media marketing isn’t exactly a no-brainer, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Avoid irrelevant content, being overly promotional, and inundating the public with pushy ads. Instead, concentrate on delivering hospitality, even if it is via a smartphone instead of a plate of spaghetti Bolognese. People crave a connection almost as much as they crave a great night out and a delicious meal. By keeping customers interested even when they’re not seated at your table, you help forge a relationship that could last for years — and many, many dollars — to come.