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Author: Kit Kilroy
It's important to communicate and stay relevant through the social channels. Need some social media tips for restaurants? We'll break down our top 10 tips for social success.
Social media was once just a bonus to an already-existing marketing strategy. Posting a photo or comment here and there was a decent way to stay engaged with customers, but it wasn’t the end-all-be-all to reaching potential patrons.
Oh, how things have changed. If you’re trying to run a successful restaurant now, social media is of the utmost importance.
In today’s highly technological world, it has become more than just a tool for advertising, but rather the best way to do it, especially for those in the hospitality industry. The following statistics indicate why social media is so important for restaurants today:
If social media is a whole new concept to you though, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to post on different platforms in a way that is genuine, interesting, and (most importantly) will get you more business.
Once you learn how to use social media, you might be surprised at just how many customers you can reach. All it takes is a bit of knowledge, a little strategy, and some dedication. To better understand just how to achieve this, keep reading for a few easy-to-follow tips.
While you might assume that your social media audience looks the same as the customers who frequent your cafe or coffee shop, this is not always the case. Sometimes, a brand’s social media following is entirely different to their customer base. Perhaps your followers are inspired by what you do, or just like your content.
Taking a minute to figure out exactly who is following you, and more importantly, why they follow you, will prove valuable not only to your social media presence but also your business. Assuming that you already have your Instagram or Facebook set up for business, all you need to do is look into your audience insights.
Looking at audience insights will break it down your followers’ demographics, considering everything. From age to gender, to interests, there is so much information available to anyone with a business account. Take this data to heart, and try to speak to those demographics with your future content, even if it’s not a demographic you envisioned following you.
Just like it’s essential to have a strong thematic identity in your cafe or coffee shop, this should translate to your social media as well. If you don’t feel like you have a strong personality already, now is the time to make one.
So much more than merely having an idea, several other factors add up to create a “brand identity”. It’s challenging to do, especially if you have no previous business experience, so don’t be afraid to look to other resources for advice. There are so many videos on YouTube to help, but this one is particularly helpful since it’s geared towards restaurants.
Having a brand identity goes beyond aesthetics and should seep into every aspect of the venue. Knowing your brand in and out will help you pass it onto your staff and create a cohesive image of the entire restaurant. Your identity, in turn, will help you decide what exactly to post on your social media to portray that best.
When it comes to social media marketing content is the king that will make or break you. And the first step to posting great content is to have a great product. Before you dive into social media marketing, make sure that your food and service is impeccable so that you can show this off on your social channels.
Once you have amazing things happening, it’s time to start capturing them in a way that you can show to your followers. The people following you are not only your current customers but also potential guests who might decide to visit your venue based on what you post. Make sure that every post is captured well and looks great. If you need to hire a professional photographer or videographer to achieve this, definitely invest.
In addition to creating good content, you need to make sure that you’re consistent with sharing it. Create a content calendar to help you stay on track and ensure that you follow it. If you need, you can always use a tool like Hootsuite orTailwindto schedule posts. That way, you know something will be posted on your social media channels, even if you’re busy at the time.
No matter how great your photos or status posts are, no one is going to follow your social media channels if they don’t provide any value. Make sure that you give your followers a reason to follow you, be it for inspiration, great photography, or even just to make them smile.
If you are having trouble figuring out how to inspire others through your feeds, remember that you can use both words and images to do so. When social media marketing for restaurants, inspiration might mean something as simple as showing your followers a new ingredient they’ve never heard of or providing a fun fact about something on your menu.
To tie your social media marketing back to the restaurant, you can always run promotions for your restaurant on your social channels. For example, you can post a picture of a discounted happy hour cocktail, promising anyone who can prove they follow the page will get it for the lower price. There are many ways to go about it, but don’t be afraid to post deals on your social media to get more followers and customers both.
Engaging with your followers is essential when it comes to successfully marketing your restaurant on social media. Even though you can schedule your posts to publish automatically, you should always check up and have some real-life interaction on your channels. Engaging is as simple as making an effort to like or reply to every comment you receive.
In addition to interacting with comments on your page, follow back loyal customers or related businesses. If you notice that one person continually likes your photos, give them a follow! It takes nothing away from your establishment, and it will encourage them to continue supporting you.
If you find that someone uses your social media platforms to make a complaint, keep in mind that you can always use direct messaging to solve the issue. Never get into a fight on social media with your customers (or trolls). Instead, reach out privately to people who might complain, figuring out if there’s anything you can do to resolve the situation.
If you’re not authentic in your social media posting, odds are you’re not providing value that your followers can’t get elsewhere. Just like there is a little something special that sets your venue apart from the norm, the same applies to your social media accounts. Stay true to your vision and your restaurant. Though you can get inspiration from other accounts, don’t copy other restaurants. Do your own thing, and the followers will come.
It’s also essential to make sure that you represent your restaurant accurately. For example, don’t post a photo of a special that you’re never going to serve again unless you make that clear to your customers. Similarly, don’t photograph dishes in different ways than they’re typically presented. If your guests expect one thing and end up with another, this is a surefire way to disappoint.
Always remember that your social media pages are there to supplement your restaurant, so don’t let them stray too far from the restaurant’s vision. Stick to the same vibe, colour scheme and attitude as your venue to maintain the same feel that guests experience at the restaurant when they visit.
In addition to interacting with your followers, you should always be encouraging them to interact on your page too. Finish posts with a question, or leave questions in the comments to get conversations started.
If you ask questions, you’ll learn more about your followers and conversations will naturally begin to happen on your page. Even a simple “yes or no” poll can turn into a larger conversation, which will draw more people to your page and provide more value.
When your followers weigh into your questions, take the time to listen to what they’re saying. You can ask questions about their food preferences, and then use their answers to shape your next menu, for example. Doing so makes these kinds of conversations valuable for your followers but also for your restaurant as well.
SMART is an acronym that can help guide you in setting goals, which is something you need to be doing for your restaurant’s social media channels. If you don’t have goals, you won’t have any expectations as to what you want your social media channels to achieve. Setting goals will give you direction and help you be more mindful in what you’re doing on social media.
Using the SMART acronym, follow these guidelines to make a good goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. When you set a goal, make sure that it defines each of these points. For example, “get more followers” is not as clear cut as “get 30 more followers on the restaurant’s Instagram by next month.”
Setting your goals is a great place to start, but afterwards, you need to make sure to follow through. Keep track of the time limits you set in your goals, and hold yourself accountable. If you don’t achieve the goal in your ideal timeframe, consider why this happened, and set a new goal. Don’t just wait around in the meantime, putting in the work is key to achieving the goals you set.
In addition to posting and interacting, measuring your results and keeping track of engagement is vital in understanding how you’re performing on social media. Every month, take note of how much interaction (likes, comments and shares) you’ve gotten on your posts, as well as how many followers you have. This knowledge will allow you to gauge over time what you’re doing right and wrong along the way.
You should also get a big-picture view of what’s going on, making sure to keep track of which posts perform best. Many components go into a successful post, so take the time to review the image, any editing, and the caption you wrote to figure out every ingredient that caught your followers’ eyes.
Once you start to get an idea of which posts your followers like most, start to tailor future ones to reflect this newfound information. If flat-lays of food always do well, incorporate more of those into your feed. If your followers like photos that have a joke as a caption, keep the laughs coming!
Social media intends to create a community, so feel free to use it as such. In addition to providing value to your followers, you can always look to them to provide you with value as well. Ask questions on your social media channels, and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Asking customers what you could be doing better will make them feel more loyalty as well as give you some great ideas.
If you make a mistake, be honest with your customers. Or if you feel lost on social media, it’s alright to let them know. Being real about your restaurant and all the hard work that goes into it will only make you look more genuine on platforms that can sometimes be anything but that.
When your customers provide feedback, take it to heart. It’s good to acknowledge the advice on Instagram, but if you make the changes in your restaurant, it will be beneficial for you and your guests alike. One person might have the same thought that others have, and even the most discerning owners and managers are sometimes blind to things that customers notice most.
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