Social media marketing is a great way for nearly any business to communicate and market directly to customers. The popularity of social media networks has meant that businesses are taking notice, and using posts to connect with their customers. As a restaurant owner or manager, if you’re not using social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity for growth. Social media marketing lets you not only connect to your existing customers but also reach out to potential new ones.
In the old days, before the Internet, advertising was static, done via mailers and other printing methods; now, advertising is digital, done with messages that get the user even when they’re on-the-go, and not only that, the influx of data in social media networks lets you target specific messages to specific people. The world of social media marketing for restaurants is a wild and wonderful place and with the right approach, you can see big results.
This guide is designed to educate and inform you on how, why, and what to use social media for your restaurant.
Here’s what you’ll find in the guide:
Introducing: The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
- Chapter 1: The Value of Social Media
- Chapter 2: Develop a Strategy
- Chapter 3: Finding the Right Networks
- Chapter 4: Facebook Deep Dive
- Chapter 5: Tackling Twitter
- Chapter 6: Instagram – More Than Just Foodie Photos
- Chapter 7: Pin Like Crazy on Pinterest
- Chapter 8: Yelp, Trip Advisor and Other Directories
- Chapter 9: Google+ and Local Search
- Chapter 10: Youtube Highlights
- Chapter 11: Blogging Basics
- Chapter 12: Reputation Management and Monitoring Your Channels
- Chapter 13: How to Effectively Measure Results
- Chapter 14: Tools To Make the Job Easier
Chapter 1: The Value of Social Media
First, let’s look at why you need social media for your restaurant. Social media lets you get the message out about your restaurant, attract new customers, and engage with new and existing customers. The part to remember about social media is the “social” aspect. You want your customers to think of you, to “like” your posts, and respond to your questions. Your restaurant’s social media posts are dedicated to showing why your followers should visit your restaurant, and you can entice them with pictures, promotions, contests and more.
Want more value? The numbers don’t lie: people who use social media frequently also dine out more than those who don’t use social media. A survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 92% of social media users say they eat at a sit-down restaurant at least once a month.
These posts will help you see how social media can help your restaurant:
- The Challenge of Social Media ROI
- Value of Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
- What is the Value of Social Media Engagement?
- The Value of Social Media
Chapter 2: Develop a Strategy
Once you’ve determined you want to use social media marketing for your restaurant, you need to develop a strategy. Social media requires careful, targeted posts for the best ROI (Return on Investment). It doesn’t make sense for you to start posting randomly, especially if you don’t have a strategy and a corresponding goal in mind. You should first develop a solid strategy. You’ll need to plan on how you want to post, how often, what social media channels you want to use, and what type of content will go in each post.
One of the most important elements of your restaurant’s social media marketing strategy is to identify who you’re posting for, otherwise known as your ideal customer. By figuring out this element, the other parts of your strategy will come naturally.
You’ll find inspiration and tips on how to develop a rock-solid social media marketing strategy here:
- 8 Essential Elements of a Social Media Marketing Strategy
- 7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy
- How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan in 6 Steps
- How to Build a Restaurant Social Marketing Plan
- Powerful Internet Marketing Strategies
Chapter 3: Finding the Right Networks
The term “social media” encompasses multiple channels now. Social media includes Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and even Snapchat. Businesses across various retail categories may use all of these channels interchangeably, but it’s up to you to determine which social media networks are the best channels for your restaurant. Most restaurants start with the two main social media networks: Facebook and Twitter; both websites have substantial benefits for your restaurant, and you might already even have an account. Now that you have a social media strategy in place, it’s time to take charge of your social accounts, and maybe even add a new one.
Want to find the best social media marketing sites? Read these posts and get the facts:
- Social Media for Restaurants: Which Platform to Use & When
- 5 Effective Social Media Marketing Sites For Restaurants
- Owned vs Rented Real Estate – Understanding Content Marketing Part 2
Chapter 4: Facebook Deep Dive
Facebook has over a billion regular users, which means it should be a significant part of your restaurant’s social media plan. You may think of Facebook as just a place for friends and family to connect, but the users you need to connect will be your customers. Facebook has emerged to be one of the best ways to market your business online, and restaurants are at a particular advantage, as they can share weekly specials, live events, and more. Whereas before you could only post images and text, now you put your entire menu, coupons/offers, and other information that your customers can retrieve at the push of a button. Having all of this information in one central place means that when a potential customer notices your Facebook post, they can visit your page and discover exactly who you are, what you offer, and most importantly, why they should visit your restaurant.
See how to optimize your Facebook page for great results with these tips below:
- How Facebook’s New Place Pages Cater to Diners, Restaurants
- 5 Content Ideas To Get More Likes For Your Restaurant’s Facebook Page
- 50 Facebook Pages of Restaurants (ONE per State) to Learn Tips From
- How can Restaurants Increase Engagement on Facebook
- 13 Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook
Chapter 5: Tackling Twitter
While at first glance Twitter may seem like an endless stream of inane ramblings, pop culture references, and silly jokes, it’s also a hub of the world’s conversation. Twitter has made it easy for you to find, follow and market to people in your area — people you want to visit your restaurant.
Restaurants big and small are on the social media network, and you don’t want to miss out! Twitter is a great way to market with a personal touch to your customers, just you can do with Facebook, and also get into a conversation with Twitter users. The best part of using Twitter to market your restaurant is that you can respond instantly or quickly to your customers’ concerns, messages and comments, which shows that you’re not just a faceless company, you actually care. By going the extra mile, you show your customers why they should eat at your restaurant.
Here are some ways restaurants are using Twitter, and how you can capitalize on the network as well:
- Guide to Using Twitter for Restaurants
- 5 Easy Ways Restaurants Can Use Twitter to Attract Customers
- 4 Creative Restaurant Twitter Accounts and What They Teach Us
- 5 Ways Restaurants Can Use Twitter Effectively
Chapter 6: Instagram – More Than Just Foodie Photos
Instagram started as a small feature on an online game, and has evolved into a hugely popular social media network. Restaurants can capitalize on Instagram traffic by showcasing their great food and atmosphere with great attractive photos. They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, and that’s certainly true of Instagram. With just one photo, you have the ability to capture hundreds or thousands of eyes, depending on your reach. Fortune 500 companies, including restaurant brands, are embracing Instagram as a great new way to market their businesses. Your customers are using Instagram to post photos of your food, so why don’t you do it too? It works like this: Instagram is a way for its users to document their experiences, including places they travel or eat. Have you ever seen a photo of a dessert posted by a friend and thought about how you’d like to try that dessert for yourself? That’s Instagram’s appeal in action: creating the idea of a moment, an experience that anyone can have.
Tap into the wealth of Instagram with the following ideas below:
- Seven Ways To Use Instagram For Marketing Restaurants
- 3 Big Ways Instagram is Changing Restaurants
- 10 Great Ways to Use Instagram for Restaurant Marketing
- How Restaurants Are Using Instagram and OpenTable to Gather Data on Diners
Chapter 7: Pin Like Crazy on Pinterest
If you think of Pinterest, you probably think of wedding decor, DIY tips and recipes. What about Pinterest for restaurants? Yes, it’s a great social media marketing tool and it’s probably one you’re overlooking! Pinterest’s big appeal is it’s like a visual corkboard of images and links, and with the right images, you can reap the benefits of pinning. It goes without saying that you can use images of your food to attract people to your restaurant, but Pinterest lets you do more than that. Many brands, such as travel companies or popular websites, will use Pinterest to curate relevant content. You can use the same approach with your restaurant’s Pinterest account, and you can even connect with your audience along the way as well.
For instance, pretend you have a Chinese restaurant. First you can start by pinning content directly related to your restaurant, with images of your food and decor, but then you can expand outwards. You can pin content related to the culture of your food, or share Chinese folktales, or images of famous landmarks from China. As long as the content is relevant to what your restaurant is about, or the area where it resides, you can pin it. Each pin is a potential way for you to get spotted by a new customer, especially if you use good SEO practices and hashtags.
Get started pinning your way to a strong marketing campaign below:
- 10 Cool Pinterest Restaurant Ideas
- Social Media 101 for Restaurants
- 5 Creative Ways Restaurants Can Use Pinterest to Attract Customers
- How to Use Pinterest for Restaurant Marketing: Your Starter Guide
Chapter 8: Yelp, Trip Advisor and Other Directories
Yelp is a social media website that is also a business directory, review archive, and community. Yelp has emerged as a popular tool for foodies to grade and review restaurants they visit, but it’s also a great tool for you. You can claim a Yelp page for your restaurant, and use it effectively to manage your online presence. Yelp now offers options like Yelp deals, check-in offers, reviews, menus and more.
One of the best ways to use Yelp is to see how people are responding to your restaurant and then respond to those reviews, so you raise your profile and customers can see how you care about customer service. Yelp isn’t the only social information website either, as Tripadvisor and other directories allow you to get found by visitors to your area, as well as nearby locals who are trying to find somewhere new to eat.
Learn how you can take advantage of these websites for success below:
- The Ultimate Guide: Restaurant Reviews and Ratings Sites Your Business Should Know About
- Eight key strategies for climbing TripAdvisor rankings
- Why Does Yelp Rank Higher Than My Website?
- 5 Steps to Getting Your Business Ranked on Yelp
- How to Rank Higher on Yelp
Chapter 9: Google+ and Local Search
Google is a powerful search engine, but have you tapped into the power of Google+ yet? Google+ is a social media marketing tool that you may be missing, but it’s time to get on it. Google+ is a way to display all of the pertinent information your customer needs when they search. They’ll be able to see photos of your business, hours, addresses, reviews and much more. If you want to find local customers, then a Google+ page and local search optimization is the key because your customers are searching for dining options in their area – whether they live in the area or are visitors – and you want to be found.
Learn how to use Google+ Page and local search for your advantage – plus what not to do – below:
- How To Get Your Restaurant Listed On Google Maps
- How to Optimize Your Restaurant’s Google Maps Listing
- Wait! Don’t create that Google My Business listing until you know what you’re doing!
- 4 Tips to Optimize Google My Business for Your Restaurant
Chapter 10: Youtube Highlights
If pictures are available marketing tools, videos could be considered priceless. Nowadays, when it comes to video, YouTube reigns supreme. If you haven’t jumped on YouTube yet, there’s still time, because the video streaming network is more popular than ever. A video lets your customers get an inside look at your restaurant. Imagine giving a thorough tour of your restaurant, or a visual look at the great new seasonal specials you’re going to offer. A video can do this, and more. With YouTube, the ability to share videos with friends is built right-in, so you can capitalize on social traffic.
Open your eyes up to the possibilities of YouTube highlights for your restaurant below:
- YouTube for Restaurants: Quick & Easy Tips for Making Videos
- 5 Ways to Use YouTube Video Cards for Restaurants
- 6 Lessons From a YouTube-Savvy Restaurant
- Restaurants Can Do YouTube Marketing Too: 8 Video Ideas
Chapter 11: Blogging Basics
Before social media, there was the blog. A blog is a good tool for your restaurant, and though it isn’t as social as Twitter or Facebook, it has plenty of benefits for any type of business. With a blog, you can keep your customers updated on the new menu or suggest classic pairings of wine and food. Well-written blogs capture the reader’s attention and entice them to want to know “more.” There are plenty of ways you can use your restaurant’s blog for marketing, and you should keep in mind that’s the one purpose of the blog: marketing. A blog is perfect for sharing pictures, specials, news, events, promotions, and press mentions about your restaurant – but that’s just the beginning.
To get idea of how you can start using a blog for your restaurant, get started below:
- 12 Restaurant Blogging Ideas for a Michelin Star-Worthy Restaurant Blog
- 10 Examples of Restaurant Blogging Done Right
- 10 Blog Post Ideas For Your Restaurant Blog (Guaranteed To Bring In Traffic)
- The 5 Types of Blog Posts Your Restaurant Should Be Writing
- Restaurant Blogging: How to Write a Great Restaurant Blog
Chapter 12: Reputation Management and Monitoring Your Channels
In this grand age of the Internet, many of us are fond of sharing our opinions online. Sometimes our opinions are about pop culture or politics, but we’re also big on sharing our experiences with businesses. The good, the bad and the ugly is possible when you’re a business, and by staying on top of your online profile with reputation management, you can minimize any damage. Reputation management matters whether you have a small tiny family diner or a 1,000 seat renowned steakhouse.
To keep on top with how you’re perceived online, you need to develop a solid reputation management strategy and follow it thoroughly, taking care to soothe any issues that may arise. Customer feedback is more important than ever now that it can be posted instantly and viewed just as quickly, so you should ignore it at your own risk.
Take charge of your restaurant’s reputation online with these reputation management guides:
- How to monitor your restaurant’s online reviews
- Review Push
- Improve Customer Experience by Managing Your Restaurant’s Reviews
- 10 Pro Online Reputation Management Tips For Local Businesses
- Reputation management – 5 ways to build your brand and 5 ways to avoid destroying it
- Restaurant Reputation Management: A Strategic Guide
Chapter 13: How to Effectively Measure Results
If you’re in the middle of a social media marketing campaign, you probably (and should have) a goal for the campaign. How can you measure it? You’ll need to study the numbers, metrics and data that will show you the results of your campaign. You will ask yourself questions like “What is the goal of our campaign? Did we reach it? How can we reach it or exceed our goal? What factors determined this outcome? Should we change direction?” To measure the impact of your social media, you’ll need the right plans and approach or you’ll be flying blind. It’s important to study how your approach is working so you can make adjustments as needed.
Find out how to identify what’s working and how to measure your success below:
- 3 Simple Ways to Measure Your Social Media Results
- Is My Restaurant Social Media Strategy Working?
- 4 Simple Metrics to Prove the Value of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
- 3 Ways to Measure the Value of Your Social Media Marketing Program
Chapter 14: Tools To Make the Job Easier
The good news? You don’t have to go it alone with your restaurant’s social media marketing strategy! A number of free or affordable social media tools are available to help you speed up the process, target posts and measure your results. Tools for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will help you streamline your posts and make sure your message is clear, focused and effective. As social media consists not only of text posts, but also image and video posts, there are multiple ways you can get your message across. If you want your posts to be beautiful, actionable and noticeable, you can’t afford to skip these great tools.
Explore this great collection of tools and see how you can improve the reach of your social media posts: