So you’ve opened a new restaurant and are eager to spread the news. You’ve probably posted a few blurbs on social media… maybe even created an event on Facebook — but are still looking for a steady stream of hungry customers. Good news: the solution is simple and we’ve outlined it for you below. we will show you how to utilize social media platforms to drive traffic to your business and help open the doors to a world of likes, followers, and hashtags … and, as a result – customers.
We will discuss the following:
- Platforms – the media in social media
- Mapping your audience and message
- Building an effective campaign
- Using Videos
- Optimizing your profile(s)
- Effective timing
- Promotions that work
Know the Platforms
There are four digital marketing platforms which are most effective for marketing restaurants: Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram.
Yelp manages to incorporate all the major features needed for both customers and marketing team on a simple and user friendly interface. By including a delivery service and OpenTable integration, as well as allowing customers to review their experiences, Yelp has proven to be a restaurant owner’s best friend in terms of marketing potential.
Facebook, with features such as Facebook Ad Manager and geo-tagging, illustrates a more technical advantage in terms of monitoring and analytical tools. Restaurant owners can depict which demographic they plan to target based off attributes such as age and location. Open communication in the form of reviews, comments and ratings allow customers to give feedback on the restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses.
Foursquare, although not as intricate as Facebook or Yelp, allows restaurant owners to share promotions and media on offer to the customer. This often comes in the form of incentives based off of checking into the location for promotional gifts such as discounts and complimentary food or drinks.
In a simple snapshot, Instagram helps capture a food and drink lover’s attention and can be utilized to highlight any fun features of a restaurant. Being another heavy hashtag platform, a restaurant can find every mention made of them (i.e.#restaurantname). Instagram is a great platform to engage a younger target audience as well as the burgeoning “foodie” demographic.
Once you have an understanding of the influential social media platforms available, you now can focus on building an effective social media marketing campaign.
Mapping Your Audience and Message
Most social media sites suggest branding your restaurant to everyone and anyone within a certain mile radius. However, in order to really define “who” your audience is, you need to define “what” your message is first.
There are three common essentials involved in defining one’s message:
- the customer perspective,
- the internal perspective and
- the marketplace perspective.
With the customer’s perspective, you need to reveal what is ultimately important to them when they go out to eat. Are they more satisfied with a high energy atmosphere? Or would they enjoy a more slow paced and intimate dining experience? We recommend talking with your customers to find out what their ideal dining experience would be.
In regards to the internal perspective – consider the following: What is your message for your restaurant? Is it portrayed through the atmosphere of your restaurant currently? Does your staff understand your message and what is their opinion on it? By opening up communication and appreciating your staff, your message will run more smoothly throughout the entire atmosphere. Finally, try looking at how you are perceived by your competition. Is your message distinct? What clearly distinguishes you from the competition? Are you highlighting that in your message?
By having a clear-cut and precise message you will easily be able to market yourself on the digital marketplace and, in turn, attract your target audience.
The Power of Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. Video is a great way to showcase your team, food, atmosphere, and neighborhood to prospective customers. Shooting video seems daunting but it is now easier than ever. Current phones have the capability to take high quality video, and there are many free apps available to edit video to your liking. Additionally, social media sites like Instagram and Facebook make attaching video to your business simple.
Optimizing Your Social Media Profile
Make sure your social media profiles are effective by having pertinent information easily accessible. For example, highlight specific courses or drinks that emphasize the message of your restaurant using images and videos. Add a “Book Now” button for you customers’ convenience, and encourage “checking in” on Facebook/ Instagram/ etc. by offering special promotions. Other descriptive elements also essential for your social media profile(s) include: a menu, services rendered (good for kids, good for groups, takeout), and reviews.
If you have more than one location, this can seem complicated. You may be wondering how to distribute equal amounts of time building a social media foundation for each. Don’t fret. The great thing about social media is that multiple profiles are easily accessible and simple to curate off of a parent social media profile. By marketing the new branch on the parent profile and making a separate profile for the new branch, you can convert followers and have crossover between the two branches. Using video and images to highlight and showcase the key elements of the restaurant will be great tools to help build a social media following and steady flow of patronage.
After building a social media following, the next challenge is transforming “likes” into a profitable stream of patronage. The key here is finding the right balance in terms of promotional posts. Try to use engagement as an alternative to promotion. Ask your customers questions about products, services, and decoration. People like to give their opinions, and doing so creates an inclusive, community-oriented feel. By opening the door and engaging your customer base, you can foster a sense of community which will result in repeat customers and also draw more patronage.
Effective Timing For Social Media Posts
Depending on what the theme of your restaurant is, there are certain times in the day – and year — that are more effective, in terms of posting, than others. For example, if you want to emphasize some or all of your bar or drink selection, you will want to schedule your post around 5 p.m. when your followers are getting off work. When you know your target audience, you can cater to their schedule by posting meaningful content at the best times… for them.
Using Social Media Promotions
What social media strategies is my competition using and how do I take my restaurant social media page to the next level?
Collaborate With another Chef or Bartender for a Meal
Collaborations are effective and beneficial to every party involved. By working with an existing restaurant or chef in the same vicinity of your restaurant, you will promote your product as well as that of your collaborator in a fun, natural way.
Feature A Social Media Influencer
Take advantage of nearby social media influencers (i.e. food critics, social media bloggers, local chefs) and highlight them and their experience to promote your product. You can ask a local Food Blogger with a popular social media following, to feature them on your posts to illustrate the popularity of your restaurant etc.
Live-stream Video Feeds
Stream parties, Q&A sessions with chefs/ bartenders and discuss new promotional items on live-video for your social media following. By including the live video stream, you are personalizing the engagement you have with your social media audience.
Create Specific Social Media Space
If you have certain aspects of your restaurant that are Instagram picture worthy, emphasize them! Come up with unique and fun hashtags for your customers to use. Create a space for your patrons to come and not only enjoy themselves and the food but to share their experience in a unique and creative way.
Now that you have the tools and information needed to really follow an effective social media marketing campaign, add your own creative touch and highlight those elements that make your restaurant stand out. By maintaining a relationship with your target audience, setting campaign goals, and monitoring your results; you will be able to distinguish yourself as a restaurant that not only cares about good food but also about good customer service in person and through social media.