Don’t restaurateurs have enough on their plates?
From faltering economies to fickle diners seeking new food trends and tastes, restaurant owners and operators have enough to juggle without adding something called social media to the list. But it might be “because of social media” rather than “despite social media” that restaurateurs could see improvements to their bottom line.
Given the right set of circumstances and proper applications, social networking phenomena like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram drive traffic to your website and generate leads.
Let's review how these top 3 major social media platforms can be used effectively to build your brand awareness, connect with customers, and ultimately increase your bottom line:
With roughly 126 million daily users (as of October 2019), Twitter is the most popular and powerful social networking and microblogging service.
A cost-effective method of lead generation, Twitter is a great way to engage and connect. Follow industry leaders, customers, and small businesses within your community to build some local connections and network within your industry.
Twitter by the numbers:
Tweets with images see 18% more clicks, 89% more likes, and 5X overall engagement
Set up your Twitter profile with a profile photo of your logo, an eye-catching header that shows off your restaurant, your website URL, and an informative bio.
Initiate conversations and use Twitter as a platform to communicate. Yes, it's a great way to be self-promotional, showcasing daily specials and your products and services, but the primary (and most successful) purpose of Twitter is to connect.
Post a balance of promotional and engaging content to build trust and establish a good reputation of your restaurant and brand.
Examples of engaging Tweets:
Older by a few years, Facebook currently has 1.89 billion (!) daily active users as of October 2019. It defines itself as a “social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.”
Just like Twitter, make sure your account has a quality header, shining "About" section, and contact information.
While Tweets have a lifespan of 20 minutes—allowing you to post quite frequently—Facebook posts last around 6 hours. (Instagram and LinkedIn posts last approximately 24 hours.) Though 6 hours does not seem like a very long time, posting more than once a day may clutter the News Feeds of your followers. Limit posts to once per day, or 4 to 5 times per week.
Facebook, like other social media sites, costs exactly $0 to sign up and use the platform. However, spending $20 or $30 per paid advertisement is an extremely cost-effective and targeted way to reach a wider audience. Even without paid ads, Facebook is a great tool to generate leads; share content that links to a reservation form on your website (direct lead) or share a link to a blog post or page on your website with a call-to-action at the bottom (indirect lead).
Lead-generating Facebook content ideas:
Piggy-back other accounts
Another particularly effective Facebook strategy is “piggy-backing” on other websites. As a bar and grill, for instance, you might present live music regularly and feature bands that have their own websites. Link to these bands' Facebook pages or create a post that lets your followers know the band is setting up for a weekend gig. You'll generate increased awareness of and traffic to your restaurant. Apply the same idea if you're a restaurant that caters—be sure to link to various aspects of the wedding industry and venues around the winter holidays.
If you've yet to set yourself up on Instagram, you'll want to match your username to your other branded social profiles for discoverability (if possible). Make sure your bio is filled out completely, and match your (logo) profile picture to your other profiles as well.
Instagram, like Twitter, is a great platform to gain insight into what your customers are saying and posting about your restaurant. The best way to check this out on Instagram is to share a photo of your restaurant and tag your location; once it's posted, you can click the link above your photo that will then bring up all other photos shared at the location.
Instagram by the numbers:
Instagram is an entirely visual platform. Ensure that whatever you post has a consistent look and feel. Not sure what the subject matter of your photos should be?
Instagram photo ideas:
Though you may not experience an immediate increase in restaurant visits by promoting on social media, it's about creating and maintaining a relationship with your customers over time to see long-term benefits.
Use social media as another strong touchpoint for customers to interact with (and be exposed to) your brand outside of your four walls.
Sources: HubSpot Marketing Blog; Hootsuite Media Social Blog, Shopify Blog.