Easy ways to use social media for restaurant marketing

Staying on top of multiple social media platforms and changing algorithms poses a problem for time-crunched restaurant entrepreneurs.

On the one hand, social media offers free marketing and a direct line of communication with your guests. On the other hand, it can be a huge time suck between balancing content needs, interaction, and management.

However, with millions of images tagged with #food and #drink on Instagram alone, there’s no denying social media’s reach across all age groups.

Even with a marketing budget, it’s tough to know where to focus your time. In fact, according to Trip Advisor’s latest research:

85% of restaurant owners want to do more business promotion

Here are some tips to beef up your online presence without adding to your marketing budget.

Hashtag everything

Including hashtags in your marketing strategy generates interest and broadens your audience.

  • Use a brand hashtag in most posts and promotions.
  • Target a local audience with location-specific hashtags, such as #veganboston or #nycfoodie.
  • Create a list of hashtags relevant to your restaurant.

If you already utilize hashtags, then study how to apply them effectively. Try trending topics, national food days, and platform-specific hashtags to extend your marketing reach.

Add more visuals

Photos and videos outperform text-only posts across all social media channels. Review your recent posts. If you’re light on images, then it’s time to crank it up. Start sharing:

  • Happy hour and menu promotions
  • Amazing photos of food and beverage items
  • Snapshots of employees or dining decor
  • Customer-generated content
If you can swing a live video, then you’re nearly guaranteed to increase engagement.

Lead the conversation

It’s old news, but worth repeating—the conversation about your restaurant happens whether or not you’re there. In our blog post about using social media for customer service, we shared a quote from Social Media Today claiming that:

 67% of people use social media for customer service issues

Follow our steps to track your social media mentions, because guests expect real-time responses. Stay involved by tagging your restaurant in comments, adding brand hashtags, and responding to reviews.

Encourage engagement

An audience who engages is more likely to remember your brand when they’re craving the food you’re serving. Dining guests want an experience. Often, this experience starts on social media.

  • Use the poll feature to see which menu items your guests prefer.
  • Ask your audience to finish a sentence about the last drink or meal they had.
  • Get help naming a new beverage by hosting an online contest.

By nurturing your online presence with a consistent brand voice, your casual dining or upscale restaurant will stand out.

Use a CTA every time

People have decision fatigue. Make their life simpler by adding a call-to-action that encourages them to view your online menu or share your post. Avoid clickbait with authentic messages that provide value to your audience.

Give every social media message a purpose and keep the conversation going.

Practice best social media strategies

Trip Advisor, with more than 4 million restaurant listings, reports that businesses spend less than 10% of their time on marketing. We know restaurant owners understand the importance of social media, because:

82% of restaurants have a social media marketing budget

The right social media strategies create positive online experiences that turn followers into guests and guests into brand ambassadors. Master your current social media platforms by:

  • Developing processes for automation
  • Staying consistent across platforms
  • Following channel-specific guidelines
  • Using an editorial calendar

Invest in research and make your online presence part of the guest experience. If you’re ready to delegate tasks, then consider using social media strategy services that’ll get your restaurant noticed.

We know that even with the latest problems regarding privacy, people are not shying away from social media. The desire to connect and share is as strong as ever. Increase business promotion by focusing on your current social media channels.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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