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Developing a social media marketing strategy for your restaurant can help you reach new customers, grow your on-premise and off-premise sales, and build a loyal customer base invested in your business.
In an industry that’s all about hospitality, social media offers the perfect opportunity to create experiences that make existing customers more loyal and turns casual observers into committed diners.
To help you get started, we’re sharing 5 critical tips to help fuel your social media marketing strategy.
1. Choose the right social media platform for your restaurant
There are nearly 4 billion active social media users worldwide, but not everyone uses the same platform. Different channels cater to different demographics and offer a diverse array of tools. Knowing which platforms are the best fit for your restaurant will help you build a social media marketing plan that makes sense.
To avoid getting overwhelmed mentally or financially, start with one or two platforms and then expand as you get more comfortable with your workload, social media success, and budget.
Facebook has evolved into an online community that encourages businesses to use their page as an extension of their website and of their brand.
For restaurants, this means creating a page that is a resource and a meeting place where customers go to view photos, learn about specials and events, and interact with your team. You can even host contests and giveaways and encourage diners to share their real-world check-ins on social media.
One of Twitter’s greatest attributes is its immediacy. Short character limits make for quick posts and even quicker reads. As a restaurant, you can share updates, have real-time conversations, and publicize time-sensitive promotions on Twitter, knowing that reactions will come fast and furious.
For better or worse, Twitter is also where people go to share praise and complaints. You may be contacted by diners who want to thank you for a wonderful experience or ask you questions about your menu, hours, or location. Others could Tweet at you to air a grievance, like their disappointment over long wait times or an issue with food that arrived at the wrong temp.
Remember that Twitter is a public forum and a frequent pitstop for people deciding where to go for takeout or delivery. So respond to queries and feedback promptly, professionally, and with all your best customer service skills on full display.
For restaurants, Instagram’s visual platform acts as a discovery engine; users can explore topics and connect with brands they may not have even been directly looking for. Using viral hashtags can help your own menu photos or behind-the-scenes videos go viral. Include hashtags that reference your restaurant’s cuisine type, niche, and location.
Not sure which hashtags to use? Get inspiration from your competitors and use a free hashtag generator to find the best hashtags for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Since launching in 2016, TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity, reaching more than 2 billion app downloads and logging some 689 million active users each month. Perhaps most intriguing is that those users spend an average of 52 minutes on the app daily.
So if you’re looking to connect with generation Z, TikTok’s focus on short (15 seconds or less) videos can help you create brand awareness that resonates with a demographic that thrives on instant gratification.
Above all, TikTok is about lighthearted content. Share authentic, in-the-moment videos of your restaurant and your team. This could be cooking tips, recipes, or even branded challenges.
The food and drink category on Pinterest is one of the most popular categories on Pinterest, with travel, weddings, and holiday & events also ranking highly. Restaurants can reshare images from Instagram, then create branded boards geared toward the categories and terms with the most search interest.
Make one for menu ideas and recipes, catering and special events, one for holiday tablescapes and appetizers for a crowd, one for specialty cocktails and wine pairings — add not only your content but also pins from other restaurants and food-oriented websites.
If you choose to create a Pinterest account for your restaurant, know the goal for this social network is to become a resource by sharing recipes, pictures, and menu inspiration.
2. Share rewards and discounts on your social media channels
Rewards and discounts incentivize existing and new customers alike to visit your restaurant or order online. Promote your deals on social media to remind users that you exist and, hopefully, motivate them to reserve a seat or get takeout.
You can use rewards and loyalty programs to build your off-premise delivery strategy too. When you join Grubhub, you gain access to our promotional and loyalty tools to take your restaurant marketing to the next level. These tools are free to use — you only pay for the rewards your customers redeem.
3. Host a social media contest to build a loyal following
Using your Instagram account to host contests can help you grow your social media following a whopping 70% faster. In addition, contest posts get 64 times the comments and 3.5 times the likes compared to regular posts, helping your brand get exponentially more traction in a short amount of time. Other platforms can offer similar benefits.
To make the most of your social media contest, design it using these four tips.
Define your social media contest goals
Before running a social media contest, decide on a goal and identify what metrics you need to track to keep tabs on your progress. Most businesses are after one of two things:
- New leads: Bring in new email subscribers, increase your following, or funnel hungry diners toward online ordering platforms like Grubhub. The critical metrics for this mission may be the number of new sign-ups, new followers, or total orders.
- Engaging your social media followers: If your likes, comments, tags, and/or shares have dropped off or if you’d like to see those numbers climb higher overall, running a social media contest can spur engagement. For this goal, track metrics such as post likes, comments, tags, and shares.
Cross-promote your social media contest on your other channels
Start by picking a single platform to host your contest, then promote it across all your social media channels.
If you’re hosting a contest on Facebook, you can still use your Instagram and Twitter accounts to stoke interest and drive traffic to the original contest post. Share contest details in your restaurant, too — you can use scannable QR codes on table tents or postcards at the hostess stand to make it easy for guests to sign up and/or opt-in.
Keep your social media contest short
Social media contests should be long enough to generate entries and engagements but not so long that you lose your customers’ interest. Most successful contests run anywhere between a few weeks to a month.
Outline your social media contest rules
Outline contest specifics upfront. Customers should know how to enter, what the prize is when a winner will be picked, and any restrictions such as rules for exclusion before they choose whether to participate.
4. Share engaging and authentic social media content
Social media is all about stories. For individuals, social media is an avenue for sharing what’s going on in their day-to-day lives. For businesses like yours, restaurant social media is an opportunity to leverage stories to promote products, connect with followers, and build awareness for your brand. Your goal isn’t just to gather likes but to encourage loyalty.
Experts believe that authenticity is the key component to creating a successful social media strategy. Brands need to be real. Creating authentic content aligned with brand values, showcasing actual people doing actual things, ultimately forges deeper connections with customers.
5. Increase your takeout and delivery sales by promoting your online ordering capabilities
While platforms like Facebook allow you to post links whenever the mood strikes, others, like Instagram, limit links to just a single URL in your profile or bio. Using a tool like Linktree or Later can help you promote specific products, pages, and promotions and schedule posts and manage your social media marketing in general.
One Sprout Social survey found that 75% of people bought a product because they spotted it on social media. Roughly 60% of those people decided to purchase after seeing 2-4 posts from the same brand. Social media is a significant factor in how people today make decisions, and frequency, authority, and presence all play a major role in how influential your restaurant ultimately is.
To take full advantage of these tools, personalize your link page and fill it with links to essential information as well as promotional content, including your website, your social media profiles, and a way for your followers to order takeout and delivery from you.
Don’t have a way for your customers to order takeout and delivery directly from you?
When you join Grubhub for Restaurants, you can drive commission-free orders through the Direct Ordering Toolkit.
The Grubhub Direct Ordering Toolkit includes three different solutions you can leverage to drive commission-free orders to your restaurant’s Grubhub listing. In addition, Grubhub does not charge any marketing fees to restaurants that come through the direct order link, which means you can easily promote takeout and delivery through your social media profiles while also protecting your restaurant’s margin.
Use social media to build a loyal following and increase your restaurant’s sales
Social media is a great marketing tool to help you reach new customers, build a fan base, and increase your restaurant’s sales. From promoting a dine-in special to using commission-free direct ordering links from Grubhub for Restaurants, social media can help increase your restaurant’s sales and build a restaurant brand.