Still skeptic about using social media for restaurants? Maybe your opinion will change when we tell you that over 1 billion restaurant visits are influenced by online marketing, and users read restaurant reviews online more than in any other industry. Moreover, 85% of consumers look up for local businesses online before visiting. So now you can be sure that using social media for restaurants can make your small business breakthrough.
Benefits of Using Social Media for Restaurants
Creating your business page in any platform of social media for restaurants is free, you don’t need to invest any money to get started. While some features and advertisements are paid, you can start small and use your creativity and network to attract people with your content.
You can engage with your customers
The most powerful feature of social media for restaurants is that it allows you to engage with your customers outside of your restaurant’s walls. You can shape what you post on social media by getting to know your customers and what they like. With the right strategy, they will start interacting with your restaurant on social media, giving you more relevance.
Your customers can share their opinion
Different social media platforms allow reviews, ratings, comments and even picture sharing. They can help you know when something goes wrong so you can fix it immediately, and thanks to happy customers’ recommendations, you can start getting new customers. People love talking about their favorite places and even more when they actually get a reply from them: take advantage of this to offer your customers something they will value.
So now that you’re sure that using social media for restaurants is what you need, you might have one burning question:
Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Restaurant?
With thousands of social media platforms active nowadays, it looks like an overwhelming task to choose just one or a few. But remember, you want to be where your potential customers are, so it’s just better if you stick to the most popular ones:
Yelp is an online review platform that allows users to write their opinions about any restaurant, even if that business doesn’t have a profile yet. With 178 million unique visitors every month, you don’t want to miss the chance to have your restaurant on Yelp.
- Features: Yelp displays map location, contact information and health score, among others. You can show your opening hours, menu and popular dishes. Your customers can upload pictures of the restaurant and the dishes they ordered. And of course, they can write reviews and leave their rating.
- Benefits: Online presence in one of the most used rating platforms, simplicity, and transparency in the information. Yelp is also a great way to listen to your customers and know what they want.
- Tips: If your restaurant already has reviews on Yelp and you didn’t know, claim and create your profile as soon as possible and start filling the information about your restaurant. Make sure to always reply kindly to your customers’ comments and keep an eye on your profile statistics.
You’re most likely already familiar with Facebook, but we bet you didn’t know that 49% of people use Facebook to find a restaurant, so, what are you waiting for? Create a page and start inviting the people you know to like it and share it.
- Features: Besides posting pictures, and videos, Facebook also allows your customers to write reviews about your restaurant and recommend it. You can also create events and invite those who liked your page. Add your contact information, your opening hours and a “Book now” button to accept reservations online. You can keep in touch with your customers via private message or in the timeline area. And, don’t forget to use Facebook Ads to share your promotions or events and thus attract even more customers.
- Benefits: This is the most popular social media platform, and people for sure will find you. With a little bit of creativity and knowing the right times for posting, your Facebook page can grow without investing too much money on ads.
- Tips: Don’t fill your Facebook page only with promotional information: post content about life at your restaurant, share anecdotes or tips, or even organize a contest. By using the right content and techniques, you can better engage with your audience. Make sure you reply to the messages, comments, and reviews your customers leave. And don’t forget to check your Facebook analytics to know how your page is performing.
Instagram is a social media channel that has been growing exponentially during the last years. For instance, 1.1 billion people use Instagram every month to post pictures or videos. Knowing that 69% of millennials take pictures of their meals before eating, you want to make sure that it’s your food they’re Instagramming. If you have your profile in place, they’ll tag you and you can use that as an advertisement.
- Features: Post pictures, images or videos via normal post or Instagram Stories. You can add all sorts of fun or artistic filters, or improve your photo with the photo editing tool. Instagram Stories lets you post photos and videos in real time and add text, stickers, and gifs to make them more fun. As the stories only last 24 hours, it’s perfect to promote flash sales.
- Benefits: Instagram is another great way to be in touch with your customers. They can comment, tag you in their profile or in their stories. You can also include your restaurant information: address, phone, and a link to your site. People can find you via location or hashtags.
- Tips: Post visually attractive content. People love to see appealing things and food can easily be in this category. Answer your customers’ comments and messages, and don’t forget to use the interactive features such as “question”, “poll”, and “quiz” in your Instagram Stories.
Twitter is another popular platform that can be used as social media for restaurants, letting you post brief messages of 140 characters called “tweets” that your followers can see and comment. Though it is slightly less popular than the previous ones, Twitter receives 326 million people every month, so if your business is not there, you might be losing some visibility.
- Features: Twitter allows you to write small messages with links to your website or anything you want. You can post pictures and videos in a short format, and add your restaurant information. People can favorite your tweet, reply to it, or tag you on their tweets to say what they think about your restaurant.
- Benefits: It’s a short and concise way of communicating and interacting with your customers. With Twitter, you can have a presence in one of the most used social media channels.
- Tips: Post regularly but be smart about the content in your posts, since they are very shorts. Make sure to track what people are saying about your restaurant so you can improve your business. Make your followers interact with you by asking questions or writing funny messages.
Foursquare is a local search and discovery app. It’s used from a mobile phone and users can see restaurants, bars, coffee shops or anything that is nearby them. Over 10 million people use Foursquare to find a place to eat nearby, so this could be a great opportunity for your business to be visible.
- Features: Foursquare allows users to do check in at your restaurant and share it with their friends. They can also leave reviews, ratings, and pictures of their visit. This app also lets people know your range of prices. Your restaurant can be ranked and suggested to different users.
- Benefits: More local visibility. People who see you in Foursquare most probably will be nearby and interested in your type of business, so the chances of them coming in will be bigger.
- Tips: Just as with Yelp, make sure you take control of your Foursquare profile and claim your restaurant. Share updates and promotions in your restaurant, and place a poster in your establishment letting people know that they can check-in on Foursquare.
How to use social media for restaurants
The different social media for restaurants can vary greatly in their features and serve different purposes, so it’s a good idea to try to be present in more than one. While your content should be crafted to the social media platform of your choice, there are some general rules you can follow to make the most out of it.
Achieve a balance between promotional and engaging content
Isn’t it annoying to scroll down through Facebook and just see a bunch of “Buy now!”, “Take this offer”, etc.? It is extremely important that you add variety to your content on social media. It is useful to do promotions and encourage people to buy, but users will appreciate your restaurant better if you add some value to your content. You can make them laugh with something funny related to your business, or you can share backstage stories of your restaurant. The key to social media for restaurants is this: don’t just limit yourself to reach your customers, but let your customers reach you without being pushy.
Know your audience and follow trends
Be sure to know who you’re talking to and what kind of customers you want to attract. If your restaurant is a calm coffee shop for artists, make sure the general look, colors, images, videos, and writing style is appropriate. Same goes if you have a fast food restaurant preferred by millennials: know the techniques to attract your youngest clients. Be up to date with the trends on social media and join the conversations to have a better interaction with your followers.
Especially in channels like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags are very useful to categorize the content that is posted and make it easier for people to find information related to that category. The hashtag starts with a # and is followed by a word, sentence or emoji, for example, #coffeelover. When people click a hashtag in a post, they will find all the posts available related to it and something of their interest. Using hashtags make your business discoverable, but make sure you use those that are relevant and related to your audience and your restaurant.
Show your restaurant as it is, be transparent with the information you post and be polite when interacting with your customers in reviews or comments. Your social media profile is your presentation card to the world, so make sure your customers know the best of you. Once they come to your restaurant, live up to their expectations.
Post at adequate times
You already know you should post regularly, but which are the best times to do it? All the channels have a different schedule when they are more active, so make sure you know it and post when it’s relevant and of course when there are more chances that people see it.
Social media for restaurants can look overwhelming, but you can start little by little, and maybe, later on, hire someone to help you run it with a proper strategy. Remember that being present online can really give your restaurant the visibility it needs. Potential customers will be able to find you online, and your current clientele can bring more people through your door by leaving good reviews about your restaurant.
If you are ready to embrace technology to grow your restaurant, make sure to learn about the Food Delivery Apps you can start using right away