Gone are the days of extensive spending on advertising your restaurant to draw in new customers! Instead, many restaurant operators these days are relying solely on social media to pique the interest of their target market, and using social media to advertise your business can be free, but it’s not free from time.
Having a solid social media presence will increase awareness for your restaurant and generate engagement with your customers, getting you more traffic in your business. It’s crucial to develop a social media strategy that works best for your restaurant and knows precisely what you should avoid when strengthening your presence.
10 DO’S OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Put thought into your posts and make a post that means something. It doesn’t all have to be about food. Include posts about your back-of-house staff or team-building exercises. Show your audience that you aren’t just a bot posting to advertise but that you have a team of people that love what they do.
It’s essential to maintain your feed and be consistent. Take advantage of posting to your stories and make several posts a week to stay at the top of your customers’ minds. This doesn’t mean you have to make a post every single day, but posting at least once a week will boost engagement.
Engage with other pages
Social media provides you with free networking! Post shout-outs, comment, and interact with your partners and local competitors, and they will return the favor. Spread positivity to other pages and let them know you are all a part of a community that wants to support each other.
Set goals and objectives
Develop a strategic marketing plan for your social media accounts. How do you want your pages to come across to your viewers? Strategize the best ways for your restaurant to engage with your audience to understand how frequently you’ll post, the pace of engagement growth, what your posts will look like, etc.
Research the competition
It is critical to keep up with your competition. Follow your competitors and take note of the things they are doing to engage with the community and drive business. This is an excellent opportunity for operators to capitalize on, by correcting competitor mistakes while cultivating the same engagement.
Know your audience
Find out who your target audience is and how you should reach out to them. If you reach out to everyone, you will be talking to no one.
Build relationships with followers
Interacting with your followers as often as possible is the best way to build relationships. Engage in conversation on your posts and show your customers that the individual behind the account is a regular person. Maintaining these relationships is a great way to increase customer loyalty and repeat customers.
Use high-quality photography
A glaring flash and blurry quality won’t do your food any favors. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional photographer; you can raise image quality by making sure your photos are well-lit, focused, and have an appealing background.
Respond to reviews
It’s important to have someone monitoring your social media accounts and answering any questions your customers ask. Responding to comments and thanking your customers for their reviews will show them that you care about your business and their concerns. Neglecting engagement with your followers could cause them to stop following you or visiting your restaurant.
Use your location
Adding your location to your post will help target the locals and drive engagement with your posts. When locals are close to your location, your posts will pop up in their feed and raise your audience.
10 DON’TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
DON’T Post just to post
Making a post just because you feel like you need one out there will come across as uncaring and lazy. Be authentic and only post meaningful things to your customers and business. If you don’t have anything worthwhile to post, it’s better to skip a day or two, than risk having poor engagement. Keep in mind that poor engagement on a post will effect your next post and so on.
DON’T Post the same content repeatedly
Some businesses use their social media platforms to post funny memes to engage with customers, but this can get old. Be sure you’re offering a mixture of content that blends well.
DON’T Overstretch yourself
Don’t create social media pages on new platforms if you don’t have the time to nurture and maintain those pages. Creating new accounts will only add to the stress of managing your platform. Choose the best platform for your restaurant to interact with the community and put your efforts towards that.
DON’T Post too many links
Posting too many links will turn your viewers away from your social media. Turn your focus towards writing witty captions and posting eye-catching photos that will catch your viewers’ attention. You can add “link in bio” at the end of your engaging caption to entice your viewers to follow.
DON’T Fake reviews
It’s usually apparent when restaurants include fake reviews in their posts. Be real with reviews, respond to negative comments, and correct your actions. Promote positive reviews and only post genuine interactions.
DON’T Over-edit your posts
Over-editing your photos will not add to the quality; it will take away from it. Too much editing can make your photos grainy and unattractive.
DON’T Buy your followers
This is a desperate and lazy way to gain followers. Buying your followers will only raise your following count but will not increase the amount of traffic you see in your restaurant because you won’t be engaging with an attainable, local audience.
DON’T Focus on giveaways
Contests are a great way to increase interaction, but your strategy shouldn’t be about giveaways. It’s a great idea to offer freebies and promotions to your audience, but the main goal is driving engagement.
DON’T Post at the wrong time
Pay attention to what time of day you’re making your post. It wouldn’t make sense for an evening bar to share savory appetizers at 8 a.m. Post at a time of day that will inspire the most engagement. Try posting just before lunch hour or at the end of working hours to entice your customers to come in for food and drinks. Make your social media posts when your target demographic is online. You’ll notice that, during the week, fewer people will be active online during the typical working hours.
DON’T Neglect analytics
Analyzing the data you collect for your social media pages can help you determine what you might be doing wrong and how to correct it. Monitoring analytics will also help you keep track of your progress.
Keep in mind that your social media should be all about removing the curtain between your customer and you. It should be viewed, and used, as a place where you can be authentic with your fans. It’s important to create a brand that feels like a friend online. If you can nurture your online relationships, those fans can feel like an extension of your operation. They will turn into loyal customers, who see you as a necessity in their life, not just an option!