One key strategy for restaurants looking to ramp up social media marketing is to keep it simple. – Take on only as much as you can chew. (Pun intended.)
Start off by building new platforms or better managing existing ones. Here, the focus will be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Family-style: Share stories from the kitchen, the garden, the chefs. Perhaps share where your food is sourced; post a photo or a link to the farm with a brief description of your relationship. With food ethics trends sprouting up everywhere and a new emphasis on local and foraging, take advantage of the opportunity!
- Recipe for success: If you have a secret recipe, give it up. Don’t be afraid to share what makes you special. Chances are, your patrons won’t make the effort to recreate your genius and this will reinforce you as the expert. They’ll take one look at the photo posted of your specialty cocktail or signature dish and opt to taste it the way you prepare it.
- Appetizing: Make your Facebook page look appetizing! Here’s a simple rule you should follow: Your cover photo should always be a photo and your profile picture should always be your company logo. Your cover photo should be a “hero” image that encapsulates the essence of the restaurant – perhaps a beautiful architectural shot from the exterior, an intimate interior shot with patrons dining, or a mouthwatering plated dish. Show them what they are missing!
- Engaging dinner conversation: Increase Facebook engagement with questions, contests, social sweepstakes and other giveaways. Ask your followers what their favorite summer or holiday drink is or have them to “like,” “share,” or caption a posted photo for a chance to be entered into a giveaway.
- Dessert’s on us: Offer a promotion with your menu, asking patrons to “like” the restaurant on the spot to receive a complimentary dessert or drink on their next visit.
- Stir constantly: Update your page regularly, sharing new content ranging from plated dishes to happy patrons. Try to keep the content current by posting two to four times a week.
- House favorites: Keep an eye on your most popular posts and start producing similar ones to keep up engagement.
- Foodie Nation: Show that you’re the culinary/cocktail expert and post what’s hot and how you’ve adapted. Google “2014/15 Food Trends” to get you started.
- What do you bring to the table: To encourage people to “like” your Facebook page, offer Facebook-only exclusives.
- Food holidays: Do some research and find out what “food holidays” are coming up. Ex: You can post “Happy National Margarita Day” or “Happy National Ice Cream Month” with a photo of what you’re serving up to celebrate.
- Great service: Be responsive – Manage your Facebook page daily by responding to messages and posts
- Regional Fare: Geo target your ads. Facebook ads allow you to target key audiences by geographic location, user preferences, by what pages they are “liking,” and more.
Another key to successful social media marketing is to cross pollinate. Save yourself some work and maximize your content by posting the same content on multiple social media platforms: If you post something to Instagram, post it to Facebook, too, and then tweet about it!
- Florid descriptions of menu items can say a lot, but a single photo says it all. So, it’s important to capture appetizing images. Check out our blog on optimizing Instagram for tips on what sells.
- Twitter is a great way to supplement other social media platforms. For instance, if you’re having a contest on Facebook, you can create a tweet, directing followers to your Facebook page with a link.
- Follow similar establishments to see what the competition is up to.
- Be polite. Follow those who follow you and make sure to thank celebs or followers for dining.
Remember, the key to social media marketing (in addition to keeping it simple and sharing) is sharing: Share stories, recipes, photos, and reasons to celebrate – anything that adds a little zest to your business and increases engagement.
Now get that creative content cooking.