11 best practices on social media for restaurants
You have turned around. You have escaped. Now is the time to flourish.
By Sabrina Falone
All marketing, both traditional and digital, is about sharing your brand message in a way that creates an emotional response that motivates people to spend money with your business. It is certainly no different with social media marketing.
Social media is a great way to connect and interact with a wide variety of people on a regular basis. Social media marketing can seem daunting, especially when you’ve never done it before, or only done it here and there. Think of social media marketing like any other relationship; the more you attend and the more you put into it, the more you will go out of it. And, just like many #IRL relationships, the more authentic you are, the deeper the connection.
Brands often consider themselves to need refined and showy food, but reliability is the real trick to success. Keep it positive but be prepared to think outside the box how you can show your customers what really makes your establishment special.
The two most important principles in effective marketing methods, both traditional and digital, are knowing who you are talking to and always going to them. Do not expect your customers to look for you. Make it easy for them to find you and then make your digital offer so attractive that they will learn more about your business by exploring your various channels.
Facebook remains Canada’s most popular social media site; 83 percent of Canadian online adults reported having a Facebook account, with 51 percent on Instagram and 42 percent on Twitter. Facebook also has the highest percentage of daily users (77 percent), followed by messaging apps (69 percent) and Instagram (69 percent).
For the food service, it is especially important to know that 81 percent of consumers’ choices are influenced by their friends’ posts on social media, and 78 percent of people said that companies’ posts on social media influence their purchasing decisions. Even more importantly, 30 percent of thousands of diners avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence.
RELATED: The Instagram Impact: How Social Media Affects Food Services
Social media marketing does not necessarily turn into new business right away. Research shows that the main goals of social media marketing professionals’ goals are to increase brand awareness (69 percent), website traffic (52 percent) and audience size (46 percent), as well as promote content (44 percent), increase community engagement (43 percent ), increase sales (40 percent) and contact their audience (30 percent).
It is important to set marketing goals before starting a date and to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure success. This can be complicated, but like most things in life, the key to success is to keep it simple, especially when you are just starting out.
Brand awareness is an important goal and the KPI to monitor is the growth rate of impressions, clicks and website traffic. Each social media platform has a business table that provides numerous analyzes that outline the relevant insights needed to guide your content policies.
Quality content is essential in every marketing strategy and the possibilities are truly endless. Creativity is key, but it’s just as important that your message and brand are consistent and that you do not lose sight of your marketing goals.
It can be easy to get involved with in-depth campaigns or feel violent about the possibilities. So let’s break it down: here are 11 best social media marketing strategies for restaurants:
1. Offer value
High-quality content should provide entertainment, information or inspiration. Do not post just because of the post. Every piece of content, whether planned or spontaneous, should offer users some value.
2. Be interesting
This does not mean you have to be overly funny or sharp, just do not be boring. Tell stories that integrate your key message. Do not try to be who you think you should be. Recognize your voice and use it consistently and sparingly. Some of the most compelling material is about the community and the people who work at the establishment. Create posts, stories, bikes, etc. which highlight your best-selling dish and where the recipe originated. Support other companies by promoting the breeders and producers used. Introduce amazing team members who prepare the food, wash the dishes, fit the bar and seat the guests.
3. Compliance is the key
Make sure all social media formats are accurate and consistent with all digital channels, including My Business on Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. Templates should include location (s), opening hours, phone number, website, delivery service, and menu link.
Invite Twitter followers to leave a comment on Google. Link social media posts to your website and include social handles in all marketing assurances. Once you have attracted the customer’s attention, you want to try to keep it as long as possible, so you can share as many messages as possible. Do not forget tip # 3 – consistency across all channels will help increase brand awareness.
5. Timing is everything
Coordinate the content of the material with the time of day, ie. do not post the new burger presentation at eight o’clock The content will shoot the most splash in the first hours of a live broadcast, so think about the time of day based on what you are sharing.
6. Quality exceeds quantity
The photos and videos shared on social media are a direct reflection of the company’s quality standards. Professional photos are ideal but not necessary for all the content, so just make sure the food is tasty, the venue is clean and the photos are well lit and well framed. Do not hang on to the “aesthetics” of the carving. Many marketers believe that the days of extremist oversight are over. They are definitely beautiful and ambitious but not very connected and often do not come as authentic. All of your posts can be someone’s first impression of your business, so make sure it’s good.
7. Contests and giveaways
Contests are a great way to attract new followers and reward loyal customers, as well as build relationships and increase participation. The key is to ensure that the competition also serves your marketing goals. Running a competition requires a lot of capital to plan and execute, so your ROI should be worth the extra expense. Do not make it complicated for people to participate in the competition (because it will not) but ask for something that helps to achieve a specific marketing goal. Increase your organic reach by asking people to share your giveaway and / or tag friends. Build newsletter audiences by asking people to sign up for your website.
8. Budget for paid advertising
Organic growth is not impossible but takes time and patience. You can speed things up by investing in paid advertising and sponsored transactions. It does not have to be a big investment, as even a modest budget can cost you thousands more per day. Landing in your area and targeting users who have previously contacted your account are great places to start when choosing a target audience for your advertising campaigns.
9. Join the community
Answer, ask questions and engage your audience by engaging in conversation. When users try to connect with comments or private messages, try to respond as soon as possible so that they feel grateful. Personal messaging is a great way to build personal relationships with customers and they help build brand loyalty.
10. Share customer content again
If / when customers tag you in a post or story, be sure to thank them personally in a private message and share their content again to thank them publicly. This is a great way to build relationships and loyalty with happy customers.
11. Impact Marketing
Ambassador campaigns have proven to be a successful and cost-effective form of social marketing. Working with a trusted person to promote and support your restaurant is a great way to increase community engagement and target a specific audience. The best partners are those who have similar values and personalities related to your target market. Do not count on their followers; a better indicator of good quality influencers is how much they participate in their posts. An enthusiastic viewer usually signifies that the followers trust the influencer and will accept their advice.
Bonus Tip: Social media marketing is just that: social. This is not a busy business meeting, it should be fun and light-hearted to connect with people. Empires are built brick by brick and there are digital communities too – mail by mail.
Sabrina Falone is the owner and CEO of SF Creative Culinary Services, a full-service digital marketing office located just outside Toronto. The experimental kitchen and production studio enliven marketing methods with saliva recipes, captivating images and exciting videos. With a creative yet complex approach, Sabrina has served food and beverage brands worldwide for nearly 20 years. SF Creative Culinary Services offers a fashion shopping experience with a great agency to help brands grow and make an impact.
LinkedIn: @ SabrinaFalone