Any business cannot ignore social media in the present day. Restaurants and fine-dining are no exceptions. With the glam, glutton, and hep often associated with restaurants and dine-out spots, one can easily classify them as a social-media friendly business, and why not? There are more food bloggers than journos out there. You just need to look!
Therefore, leveraging social media marketing for your restaurant is critical. It helps you to be found, be heard, and taken seriously. However, restaurant marketing over social media cannot be taken for granted in the form of a simple Facebook page with cute food pics going live daily. It doesn’t work that way anymore.
It has to be integrated into your daily marketing activities with thorough planning and execution schematics. Your goals are engagement, interaction, word of mouth, and finally, reservations!
In this post, we will discuss some specific social media marketing strategies for restaurants. We will see how we can use different platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, to drive engagement and look at some finely carved out plans to deliver maximum results.
PS: Make sure you carry a unique brand identity across all social media platforms. It helps people identify your business instantly and increaser user retention exponentially.
Here are our 8 marketing strategies to fire up your restaurant online:
#1 Amplify your Instagram activity
#2 Get on top of local listings (Google, Zomato, Swiggy, Yelp)
#3 Create a YouTube channel and create videos about the restaurant
#4 Create and actively manage your Facebook page
#5 Link all social media marketing to a blog with rich content
#6 Share content/photos/reviews that customers post online
#7 Engage followers with events and contests
#8 Leverage local social media influencers
#1 Amplify your Instagram Activity
To understand how Instagram can benefit your restaurant marketing, search #food or #foodie, and you will get an ocean of posts.
You can start with the basics. For instance, uploading high-quality pics of menus and interiors is right, to begin with. Next, come the daily updates. They can be anything from your daily specials to live customer testimonials.
Instagram, as most of you know, is linked to Facebook. It means that your content automatically shows on both platforms. Therefore, your marketing efficiency is on the mark right from the start.
More strategies include:
- Posting live events and contests at your restaurant
- Asking foodies to upload their meals and tag your handle
The aim here is to gather maximum engagement on your handle. Therefore, you should keep some technical tips in mind like:
- Use relevant hashtags. For example, you can use #thanksgiving to showcase your special menu around the festival
- Local hashtags like #DubaiEats to tap into local engagement
- Photos should be of high quality.
#2 Get on top of Local Listings (Google, Zomato, Swiggy, Yelp)
The restaurant is a local business. Therefore, tapping into google algorithms that promote local businesses is an ideal strategy.
First, list your business on Google. The process is similar to setting up any social media handle. Once in, you start popping up in local search results. People can easily review and find you. Healthy activity will quickly boost your ranks. Next, you can set up Google Alerts.
This feature will help you track your restaurant's reputation on the web. You can see where you have been mentioned. You can analyze and reply to customer reviews from one central dashboard and reply to them timely. It is an excellent way to inculcate individual customer relationships and brand loyalty.
Once you're done with automating your Google updates, you need to look at other local aggregators that list your business. Some popular platforms include Zomato, Swiggy, and Yelp. You can claim your business listings on these sites. Zomato and Swiggy will allow you business accounts that enable customers to place delivery orders. However, those are advanced features.
These local aggregators will help diners to find your place, leave credible reviews, and drive superior engagement that leads to more reservations!
Always remember that the content you upload to these accounts should be of premium quality. It essentially means premium images and rich text!
#3 Create a YouTube channel
YouTube or video media has immense potential for successfully marketing your restaurant. Food videos and channels like Mark Wiens and The Best Ever Food Review Show, receive more than a million views daily.
YouTube videos generate maximum retention amongst all forms of content. Therefore, they can help you get your brand permanently into the minds of potential and existing diners. The ideas for different videos can be diverse and are only limited by imagination.
For instance, 4 out of 5 diners wonder what goes on behind the closed doors of their favorite dine-out spots. Hence, an exciting and planned kitchen tour video would go a long way in establishing trust for your brand!
You could share cooking tips, take interviews of food critics, famous food bloggers, and happy customers. If your chef is in an excellent mood and cooking his specials tonight, they could go on video to amplify your restaurant credentials.
Your videos will automatically come up on Google and get enrolled in search results. However, you need to manually publish and embed YouTube videos on all other non-google related platforms.
#4 Create and actively manage your Facebook Page
Your restaurant marketing strategies are incomplete without plans to leverage Facebook traffic. It is the largest social media platform on the Internet. Thus, ignoring it will put a dent in your overall results.
First and foremost, your page should look impeccable. High-quality pictures, good quality text, relevant details, and reservation buttons are some mandatory guidelines. Once you are done creating your page, start planning out content.
An ideal Facebook post contains images and text. However, recent trends show that videos rake in huge views on the platform; therefore, tailor down your YouTube and Instagram content to create legit Facebook variations! You can interlink all and create a fruitful link cycle!
Content planning for Facebook can be challenging due to the sheer volume of competing content on the platform. You should plan content in advance and automate the posting schedule based on time metrics.
It would help if you also took advantage of Facebook Ads. However, it would be best if you had digital marketing expertise for the same and must know the ins-and-outs of Facebook targeted marketing. It is relatively cheaper than other ad formats and yields excellent results for local businesses.
#5 Link all Social Media Marketing to a Blog with rich content
A blog is essentially where your link cycle completes itself. However, you must carefully plan your restaurant’s blog before posting any content.
Choosing a niche-specific theme will go a long way in relaying the right image to visitors. Index your blog beforehand with your Google listing and interconnect all you social media handles. This way, content syndication will be centralized and efficient.
Technically, maintaining a blog is ideal for your search engine performance. The more fresh and engaging content your churn out, the more search crawlers will pick you up. The challenging part is planning content. However, with a few tweaks, numerous ideas can be explored.
You can create recipe posts, cooking tips, video blogs or vlogs, and whatnot! Restaurant staff like the sommelier or busboys can share interesting experiences. In the end, your blog should become your restaurant's voice, talking directly to customers and visitors and relaying your entire concept as one unique entity.
#6 Share content/photos/reviews that customers post online
Don't ignore tags and mentions by your customers online. You must engage with them. This way, you offer post-sales support, in some manner, and it helps your brand image. It imparts personal touch with customers and inculcates trust and credibility towards your brand.
Customers these days increasingly share pics and videos of their dining experiences. You need to track what they are sharing and engage with the same. This way, you turn your customers into your brand ambassadors.
It's an excellent way to propagate the online word of mouth about your brand! When you interact with these posts, the people who shared realize the effort made by you to establish this personal link and thereby, become proponents of your business.
#7 Engage Followers with events and contests
Events and contests have been an evergreen way to attract new and existing customers. The idea of an award at the end is enticing and drives engagement.
You can have both offline and online contests and promote them both on your social media handles.
For instance, you can design a platter so large that only might big foodies can finish it. It can become a weekly, monthly, or even daily contest. It will drive quality content. You post this content online, from launch to live event and drive engagement!
Another example is launching photo contests on Instagram. These can be judged impartially based on the engagement they generate like likes, shares, and comments, and the winners can be declared. Such events create substantial social media activity, often frenzy at times and bring your brand out in the open!
#8 Leverage local Social Media Influencers
Influencer marketing is an excellent way to promote various businesses on social media platforms. Influencers like food bloggers and restaurant critics drive healthy and loyal followings on a local level.
First, you need to search for some food related influencers in your area. However, fashion and lifestyle influencers are also an ideal choice as people follow them for various interests including food.
Once you have figured out the influencers, you need to contact them and fix up a plan for posting strategy. Be advised, influencers may most likely charge you for such an endeavour. Therefore, make sure you have done your research and will get good prospective results.
Key things to look for in influencers:
- Healthy Local Following
- Frequent Updates on their Profiles
- High Levels of audience engagement on their profiles
If these benchmarks are met, it is highly probable that your will get good results.
Social media marketing for your restaurant will take time, money, and effort. However, if you get it right, the ROI will bring a broad smile to your face. Keep your targets simple: brand visibility, regular engagement, and personal touch, and you're good to go