Social Media Marketing For Restaurants
Social media marketing is a great way for restaurants to connect on a more personal level with their customers whilst helping to hone and develop a loyal following. As a restaurant owner, you know how difficult it can be to get new customers in the door and that success or failure is all to do with the choices you make when it comes to marketing in general. Leveraging social media channels as marketing tools can really help to get your restaurant in front of a much bigger audience than traditional methods of advertising and it’s free!
A savvy restaurant owner will use platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to inform customers about any upcoming food & drink offers as well as special events. Having a social media strategy that aligns with your business goals will not only put you one step ahead of your competition but it can be the difference between having a full restaurant and one that is half empty.
Can Restaurants Afford to Not Be on Social Media?
Is being active on social media just an option or is it a requirement? Do you really need to be on social media? The short answer is yes. If your restaurant does not have a social media presence and is not actively participating on social media, you are literally leaving money on the table and missing out on lots of potential customers. Facebook has over 50 million users in the UK alone, your customer IS on Facebook.
If you aren’t on social media, you are missing the chance to increase brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty and getting more customers inside your restaurant to increase revenue. As with any other service, the majority of people will search for potential restaurants on Facebook or Instagram before they make the decision to visit so this is a massive opportunity for you to showcase what your restaurant has to offer and why it would be better to visit you rather than your competition.
How to develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy for your Restaurant
A lot of restaurant owners tend to focus more on the design and aesthetics of a restaurant and figure that if that is done correctly, customers will flock through the door, a kind of “build it and they will come” mentality. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Simply having great food and drink is not enough, how will customers taste it, if they don’t even know you’re there?
Restaurant marketing is something that should be taken very seriously and developing a strategy and restaurant social media marketing plan is essential to help you summarise what you hope to achieve on social media and how you’re going to do it. This is how you stay ahead of your competition as so many restaurants fail to implement a strategy and plan.
Here are 3 simple steps to develop a social media marketing strategy:
1. Set SMART Social Media Marketing Goals/Objectives.
Just as you set business goals you need to set marketing goals too. What do you want your social media platforms to do? How will they help you reach your business goals? These objectives need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based)
E.g. If your business goals were to increase revenue by 8% in 2021, you can set an objective in your social media marketing plan to help you achieve that.
“We will use Facebook to inform customers of our weekly offers to increase footfall by 20%“
2. Get Personal With Your Audience
You really need to know who your audience is to market to them effectively. It’s not a one size fits all. This is one of the most overlooked steps in a marketing plan and one that many restaurant owners fail to do.
It’s no good simply saying “Our restaurant welcomes both men and women aged 18 – 80”, you need to segment your market, find similar characteristics and patterns to really hone down so you can talk to them on their level. Does your restaurant target customers who prefer healthy eating or does your restaurant have a more beer-and-steak kind of vibe?
You need to really understand who your target customers are and what they are interested in then reflect these interests on your social media platforms and in your promotional material. Creating a customer avatar is a great way to do this.
3. Be Aware of Your Competition
In order to know what your competition is doing, you need to conduct a competitor analysis. Doing this will not only let you see what is working on their social media platforms but also what isn’t so you don’t have to waste your time doing anything they have already tried. It’s also helpful to spot opportunities that your competitor may be missing.
Now that you have a social media strategy, how are you going to reach your goals? That’s where the social media marketing plan comes in.
How to create a Social Media Marketing Plan For Your Restaurant
Here are 4 easy tips to help you create a social media marketing plan for your restaurant that will help you to achieve your objectives.
1. Complete a Social Media Audit
If you are already present on social media, you will already have some insights into what’s working and what’s not. Looking at the insights from your chosen social media platforms will tell you whether you are wasting your time on a platform and which ones you are better to focus on. It will also tell you what type of content that you are posting is resonating with your audience.
2. Make sure Social Media profiles are optimised.
There are so many social media profiles out there that are incomplete or not optimised for search engines (SEO). Applying basic SEO techniques to your business’s Facebook Page by adding important keywords like “indian restaurant(location)” will increase its organic visibility – both on Facebook and in search engines! Filling out your social media bio’s properly and comprehensively will also help your customers to find you.
3. Create A Content Calendar
Make sure that every post in your content calendar is working to support the objectives that you created in the strategy.
With that in mind, you may decide that:
- 30% of your social media posts will help to drive traffic to your website
- 15% of your social media content will be curated content about industry news
- 20% of your content will help to build your email list (newsletter sign ups, lead magnets and other gated content.)
- 35% of content will be about generating brand awareness.
Placing these different types of content in your calendar will ensure you maintain the a diverse mix and help you to see what kind of content your audience likes.
4. Make Sure You Track Metrics That Are Valuable and revisit often.
Most people track vanity metrics like Facebook likes and followers as they are easier to track but with lots of followers being friends and family, it’s hard to prove their real value. It’s more important to track things like engagement and reach.
If one of your social media goals was to increase brand awareness (business goal = increase market share) then the more eyeballs you get on your content the more people that will be aware of your restaurant and will hopefully visit.
Using this data you can evaluate and see what your audience is responding to and engaging with. It will also show you what is and what isn’t working. This will help you to refine your marketing plans in the future.
Now that you’ve decided what you want your content to do, how do you decide what to post?
What type of content should a restaurant post on social media?
Writing posts can be a daunting task, what do I write about? Where do I start?
You may think that it’s just a matter of thinking of a theme or topic and then writing whatever springs to mind, but to engage customers and get them to join in the conversation, takes a lot of thought and careful planning. It’s not enough just to tell people to come to your restaurant and inform them of how great your food is—people want to know why they should come to your restaurant, what makes your food so special?
There are two types of content you can post about on social media: promotional posts and engagement posts.
Promotional posts are designed to drive traffic to your website or directly to your restaurant and engagement posts are designed to provide information and inspire conversation.
People do not want to be sold to on social media, they are there to socialise, so limit promotional content to 10% of your overall content. Posting too many selling posts will appear too spammy.
Social Media is a powerful marketing tool, but it can also drive customers away from your restaurant if you’re not careful. The best way to avoid this is by making your restaurant social media accounts as personal as possible. Don’t just post links to your website and hope that customers will follow through, provide your customers with reasons to connect with you.
Post Foodie Photos/Videos
Some of the fastest growing and largest social media accounts include food in some aspect, whether that’s a recipe page, diet page or a restaurant. Who doesn’t love food?
One of the best ways to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality, irresistible, mouth watering food photos or videos.
A picture speaks a thousand words so having delicious looking visual content on social media is sure to draw lots of attention.
On the flipside, badly taken photographs or videos can have the opposite effect and make food look unappetising so before you post it, think to yourself, does that look good enough to eat?
Get Staff Involved
The human, personal element on social media business pages in general is severely lacking. Most restaurants post constantly about what they are selling but don’t tell the story of their restaurant. What is a day like in your restaurant?
Show your happy, smiley staff at work and your chefs cooking in the kitchen! Seeing happy, smiling employees says a lot about a business and can do wonders for your reputation.
Good Publicity & Reviews
Whenever you’re mentioned online, in a customer review, a news outlet or magazine, make sure you show off your good news on social media.
Fans of your business will help you to spread the word further which extends your audience reach and new customers will be encouraged to visit in person when they see that their friends and acquaintances are associated with your restaurant.
Build Your Restaurant Email List
With over 4 billion people around the world using email, it is no wonder it is one of the most effective ways to promote your restaurant so it’s really important that you build an email list. Leveraging email campaigns can help you increase brand loyalty, connect with customers and ultimately, increase your revenue. Here are ways you can begin to build your email list:
Website Opt In
This could be in the form of a newsletter opt-in to let people know of upcoming events and offers. The restaurant newsletter doesn’t have to be weekly, in fact, our inboxes are often flooded with emails from companies trying to sell us their products and services everyday, so users would probably be more appreciative and less likely to unsubscribe if you sent them a newsletter every month or so.
Leverage online ordering or table reservations
Those who don’t have the ability to collect online orders and table bookings are really missing a chance to build their email lists as well as missing out on substantial profits.
There is a FREE app called GloriaFood that can be integrated into your website to allow online orders and customer emails can be captured during checkout.
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