Restaurants are embracing the power of social media to reach to their target market. They don't really need big budget PR firms or burn cash on outdoor billboard and radio ads anymore to attract diners to the restaurant or make them order online. In the digital age, it is not possible to tell stories, share a bunch of enticing food pictures, as well as interact with the audience - all this and much more, for just one-tenth of the traditional marketing budget. Isn't that sweet?
Having a strong social media strategy will not only increase awareness about your restaurant, but also generate high engagement, and get you more customers in your door. Consistency is key when moving forward with a new social media plan. But how to do that? What social media marketing strategies work for restaurants and what are the things that you must avoid?
Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts of social media for restaurant marketing.
Having a "behind the scene" strategy is something that can create a sense of authenticity and credibility for your brand. Customers are intrigued to know about the chef, the kitchen and how the whole process works behind the counter. Show them what they want to see. You can use tools like Facebook Live, Snapchat Videos, Instagram TV and Twitch to introduce your team to your audience. If your restaurant is known for a special dish, have a live stream about how it’s prepared and what goes into it. You can also use these platforms to introduce new dishes, special offers, events, as well as specials in your restaurants. Having a local celebrity chef coming over for entertain diners with the live kitchen? Get it live on Facebook and Instagram. Let your customers see and drool as he cooks.
Live streaming is also a good strategy to broaden your awareness with new potential customers. Interacting with your customers through live streaming often work as a quality PR strategy that also helps collect data that you can use later to reach new customers and become more efficient.
Don't simply jump onto the bandwagon without any specific goal or strategy in mind. Ask yourself what's the objective of going live and how broadcasting will help you achieve that. Plan your video in advance and always have a dedicated social media manager who can interact with your fans in real time. He/she should be able to address as many questions as possible to keep the viewers engaged for a longer period of time.
Who doesn't love free lunches? In fact, if you'd simply search for #contest on Instagram and Facebook, you'd see millions of social media contests being run by restaurants at this moment. The idea of having social media contests for restaurant marketing is to create brand awareness, generate UGC content as well as engage with the followers enough to make them stick to the brand.
For example; Bottiglia used a photography contest for dining credit to engage followers. They selected a winner who shared the most creative photo of one of the dishes that he had in their restaurant. In return, the winner was sent a gift voucher that he can use the next time he visits the restaurant.
Why it's awesome: Such contests are quick wins for both the restaurant and the fans. By asking customers to participate in photo contests, fun caption or trivia contests, the restaurant is building rapport with their customers and encouraging them to book reservations with them.
Don't just focus on the giveaways. The objective to plan and execute social media contests should be to engage followers and to provide them with an experience that stays with them days after the contest is over. It is vital to adopt a visual and creative strategy paired with a worthwhile prize. Marketers should also ensure that they keep the contest entry and participation structure with as little steps as possible, while also creating an experience that is unique and fun for the participants. The brands that stick out are the ones that focus on experiences. Smart brands ensure that rewards are related to the brand itself.
Restaurants managers of successful establishments understand the importance of online reviews. They are constantly monitoring their Facebook and Yelp business page. Since 85% of people who order online check reviews and recommendation of other customers, it has become more important now than ever to have a dedicated manager who can address each and every negative review as well as show appreciation for the positive ones. Paying close attention to online reviews can pay off big-time when it comes to shaping your restaurant's reputation as a whole.
Don’t fake reviews. Don't ask your friends and family members to get the ball rolling. This is a short-term strategy that can leave a big impact on your business in the long run. Instead, encourage your customers to leave reviews and continue addressing them so you can learn more about their experience and expectations.
Lastly, when it comes to creating a robust social media marketing strategy for a restaurants business, it's important to remember that you should have a consistent voice to communicate with your customers. Taking the preparation time to do so will help save you time in the long run, building a strong online presence and gaining followers.
Can You Afford to Not Be on Social Media?
Absolutely Not! Social Media is becoming a more normal part of our lives, with tools like Snapchat Stories, Instagram TV, Facebook Live and Twitch giving businesses the opportunity to make stronger connections with their audience.
With 168,375,343 posts for #food and 76,239,441 posts for #foodporn, food and beverage is one of the most popular category on Instagram. It’s very likely that your customers are posting the pictures of the food they had at your restaurant or ordered from you, with or without your interaction. Apart from this, according to a new survey by Buffer, 88% of people are influenced by online reviews and recommendations while placing online orders.
All these statistics and many others clearly indicate that having a good digital restaurant marketing strategy is important to your business.
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