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There are hundreds of national food holidays your business can celebrate all year long. These food-centered festivities are a perfect excuse to run a promotion that no diner can resist. But how can you spread the word about your delicious deals? Your business’ social media account.

The key to being successful on social media is making sure you have a presence. In fact, 45% of diners have tried a restaurant because of social media. Creating an eye-catching social media presence can turn curious social media scrollers into satisfied customers.

Dig into our ideas on how you can start sharing your national food holiday deals and strategy on how to boost engagement to get your restaurant noticed.

Download the 2024 National Food Holiday Calendar.

1. Run a social media contest

People love to win stuff. Even if they don’t come out on top, studies show that consumers are more likely to engage with a post if that post is promoting some kind of contest. Instagram posts about contests get more than triple the likes and 64 times more comments than other types of posts. That’s some major engagement.

No great contest is complete without a prize; Give away a free meal, discount, or special experience to your diners to encourage them to participate. Take your national food holiday celebration to the next level by making the dish the grand prize. You can make National Ice Cream Day (July 21) a whole lot sweeter by giving away a free cone to the first five diners who post your ice cream on their story.

There are endless ways to encourage contest engagement online. Here are some tips on what contests resonate with diners:

  • Comment contest: Diners enter the contest by tagging their friend in the comments of your national food holiday post.
  • Sharing contest: Diners enter the contest by posting a photo of your food on their social media page.
  • Trivia contest: Diners enter the contest by answering a trivia question about the food holiday you’re celebrating.
  • Voting contest: Diners enter the contest by voting on a poll you post on your social media account.
  • Following contest: Select one of your followers at random to win the contest.
  • Hashtag contest: Diners enter the contest by posting a photo using a designated contest hashtag.

2. Use trending hashtags

Because national food holidays are a coast-to-coast affair, there are often trending hashtags you can use to ride the wave of popularity and get your restaurant into the national spotlight. Hashtags allow your posts to enter different categories online, bringing your restaurant into people’s social media feeds.

What types of hashtags should you include in your caption?

  • Local: These hashtags reach a local audience. Ex: #NYCEats #ChitownFoodie #BostonFoodies
  • Community: These hashtags reach foodie communities. Ex: #Foodie #InstaFood #Restaurants
  • Cuisine: These hashtags highlight what food you are serving. Ex: #Vegan #Breakfast #TexMex
  • Holiday: These hashtags connect you with those celebrating their favorite national food holidays. Ex: #PizzaDay #IceCreamDay #BurgerDay
  • Business: These hashtags connect you with similar businesses and target customer markets. Ex: #ShopLocal #EatLocal #FoodDelivery

3. Promote your online ordering site

Most promotions work best when you remove any possible hurdles that stand between your customer and the order button. In the world of online ordering, that means making it as easy as possible for diners to find your menu, put their food in their virtual cart, and place an order.

When you share your promotional posts on social media, offering customers the ability to order directly from your business can help you drive more sales during your national food holiday campaigns. Include your online ordering link on your social media pages, and direct diners to visit the link in your bio in your post captions.

Don’t have the ability to take online orders? Tap into Direct, a commission-free platform designed to help you reach loyal diners and build your online brand. With Direct, you can drive customers to your very own online ordering website, customized just for your restaurant. 

4. Highlight your cuisine

Your food is your pride and joy and what keeps customers coming back for seconds. Making your cuisine the prime feature of your social media profile not only shows off your specialty, but also gets diners’ mouths watering.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and great restaurant photography can say a lot about your menu. Nothing gets a diner more motivated to place an order on National Barbecue Day than a juicy photo of your famous ribs. Taking and featuring high quality food photos not only captures diners’ attention, but it also makes your social presence appear professional.

How should you show off your food? Start by testing a variety of content to see what resonates best with your diners. Short-form video is the highest ROI format for social media marketing, generating more engagement than any other type of content. If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in your social presence, tap into user-generated content (UGC) and ask diners if you can repost their content. You can also try sourcing social-savvy local young talent to run your social media pages for you.

Here are the types of food holiday posts that resonate best with diners:

  • Reels: A video that shows short clips of your food accompanied by trending music.
  • Carousel: Multiple photos of your cuisine that diners can scroll through.
  • Food holiday countdown: Posts that build anticipation around a food holiday deal.
  • Behind the scenes: A video that shows how a national food holiday item is prepared.
  • Menu updates: Photos that show what seasonal items you’ve added to your menu.
  • Diner feature: Repost diner content that shows off a celebrated food item.
Examples of what restaurants post on social media.

5. Get creative with memes

Creating funny and relatable content is a great way to reach younger audiences and get your restaurant to go viral. That’s why more businesses are tapping into meme marketing, the art of pairing photos with humorous lines to reach consumers. Meme marketing is impactful because it’s buzz-worthy content that taps into viral cultural moments and current events.

According to consumers, funny content is the most memorable type of social marketing campaign. Business owners affirm this fact; 66% of marketers say that funny content is the most effective type of social media marketing.

So how can you tap into what’s trending? Begin by establishing your brand voice and identifying your audience. Next, scroll through the virtual spaces that your customers engage with to get an understanding of what content captures their attention. Scrolling through your Instagram “Explore” page or your TikTok “For You Page” is a great way to get a glimpse into what’s trending in your space. Following hashtags like #FoodMemes or #RestaurantMemes can also be a great resource for inspiration. 

Once you know the type of content that reaches your target consumer, it’s time to create the meme. There’s no “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to crafting funny content, but there are some meme ground rules. Successful memes build off of pre-existing memes, have a subtle call to action, and are easy to read.

6. Source some influencer talent

Do you have too much on your plate to perfect your social strategy? It may be time to call in the professionals. Posting content with social media influencers who have an established following can be a great way to get your accounts instant visibility. Influencers can not only create high quality content for your social media platforms, but they can also influence people to visit your restaurant.

Scrolling through your social media channels and food-related hashtags can help you locate what influencers are leading the local conversation. Once you find an influencer who seems like a good match, reach out to them directly to inquire about collaborating. Be prepared to describe exactly what type of content you are looking for and what compensation you can offer them in return.

If you have a tight budget, try working with micro influencers.These influencers have a smaller, loyal following and a great local reach. Partner with these local influencers on food holidays so they can spread the word about your promotions.

7. Engage with your followers

Social media is a perfect platform to engage directly with your diners. Interacting with your customers can make them feel like they have a relationship with your brand, boosting your reputation.

Finding ways to directly relate to your followers can be challenging. The key is to be genuine and direct. Start by responding to comments on your own posts. Acknowledging your followers’ comments shows that you care about their thoughts and opinions. Customers will be notified when you reply, allowing your brand to stay top of mind.

Monitor who posts that mention your restaurant by following local hashtags and viewing posts that tag your business’ location. Like and comment on posts that mention your business to show your appreciation and strengthen your brand identity.

8. Create paid ads

If you’re running a big marketing campaign around a food holiday, it pays off to put some money behind your social posts. With the right strategy, running paid ads can ensure that your posts will be seen by your target audience.

How do paid ads work? Meta makes creating paid social content on Facebook and Instagram straightforward. You can customize the content, copy, audience, and spend for every ad campaign you create. Set goals that prompt customers to take action and place an order and adjust your budget and timeline to optimize your reach.

Increase your business’ exposure with Grubhub

Social media is a vital tool needed to reach new customers and connect with your loyal fans. It’s the perfect platform to showcase mouthwatering photos and videos of your creations that no hungry diner can resist. Posting about your food holiday celebrations will get your customers excited to place an order.

That’s when Grubhub comes in, offering a seamless way for customers to order delivery and pickup from your restaurant. Grubhub makes it easy to run promotions around your favorite food holidays, allowing your restaurant to stand out online. Partner with Grubhub to expand your marketing efforts and reach more hungry diners today.