A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RESTAURANTS
Mario DidierFounder, East Side Mafia
The Restaurant industry is one of the most competitive in the world, with cut throat prices, fierce competition amongst big players, and much more.
To stay ahead of the competition, savvy restaurant owners are now taking to social media to amplify their marketing strategies, and grow their business, instead of forking out the money to pay for the price of a website designer in Singapore.
Like any marketing campaign, a targeted social media marketing campaign, combined with an amazingly designed website, requires a clear and precise strategy for brand engagement, customer acquisition and other KPIs.
In this post, we outline some of the key points to look out for when managing such a campaign.
Have A Clear Social Media Marketing Plan With Consistency
The first thing to do before starting on any social media campaign is to plan it at least 90 days ahead.
This planning process can take anywhere from 3 days to 4 weeks, and will consist of all the content that you plan to put out there.
Try to be as specific as possible, and get your team involved, to make this a fun process for the whole organization.
Why plan a social media campaign and use a calendar?
One of the main reasons the top restaurants do this, is because they want to be focusing on “Creating The Content”, and not thinking of what content to produce.
Once you get this out of the way, your team will be able to focus their energy on creating great content, and you will be way ahead of most of your competitors, who are simply “winging it”.
This is an example of a simple Social Media Calendar, which you can download here.
You can use it in excel, or upload it in Google Sheets, and amend the social media platforms according to your plan.
Anyone can start a social media campaign, but it takes a high level of commitment to stay consistent, which is why we suggest getting the whole organization involved, and delegating tasks and content creation to your team, and assigning some form of accountability.
One of the key elements to success with any Content Marketing campaigns, is consistency.
Of course, taking mouth watering photos of your amazing food would also help greatly.
Create Great Offers, Coupons and Giveaways For Followers
Giving your customers incentives for following you on Social Media is a great way to keep them engaged and talking about your brand.
Another kind of contest that is bound to get your followers talking and engaging with you is a “tag a friend” contest.
Here’s a nice example of a “Follow + Tag A Friend” contest.
There are so many ways to create contests, date night contests are a great way to start a conversation with your users.
You can always do some “spying” on the big brands to see what they’re up to with their big budgets, and try to incorporate these tactics into your brand’s social media strategy.
Use Hashtags, Create A Brand Hashtag
Make use of hashtags on instagram to create a “movement” or buzz around your restaurant.
This creates a sense of identity, and your followers will start to associate the hashtag with your brand.
Don’t limit yourself to researching great use of hashtags solely in the restaurant industry.
A really good campaign was Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt hashtag, you can read more about it Here.
Another strategy that the top brands use is to leverage popular and trending hashtags, like how Papa John’s Pizza leveraged the popular #Bendgate hashtag that was trending along with the release of the iPhone 6.
Share User Generated Content On Social Media
We all know that our customers love taking photos and videos of their food, but how do you leverage that as a restaurant in your social media marketing efforts?
- Create a hashtag for your user generated content, example: #mypieology
- Encourage your customers to share their content with your hashtag in it, through simple offers or contests (share your great photos and get an extra slice on the house! – minimum spend applies)
- Watch as your users create free content for you, and increase your social following!
Provide High Speed Wifi, and Use Facebook Wifi
How are your users going to spread the word about your amazing restaurant if they don’t have a strong Wifi connection?
Apps like Snapchat, and Insta stories take up tons of data, and your users might be hesitant to share videos if there’s no free Wifi.
There’s no need for you to sign up with an expensive service provider to get this up and running.
Just use Facebook Wifi, a simple service that allows your customers to get connected simply by “Checking in” to your restaurant or cafe.
It’s super easy to use, and kills two birds with one stone, they check in, all their friends see that they’ve visited you, and with a strong Wifi connection, they share photos and videos of your amazing food!
Engage With Your Users At Any Chance You Get
Ever tried messaging your favourite brand on Facebook and didn’t get a reply?
I’m sure you weren’t too pleased, and felt abandoned by your favourite brand.
Don’t make this mistake, and make sure you’re able to respond well to comments, enquiries, and even complaints on social media.
The key to this is speed, and of course you have to understand your fans well.
Facebook Social Media Hack: No matter what you do, there are bound to be haters. To prevent haters from making bad or unnecessary comments on your page, do the following:
In your page admin section, click on Settings. You will then see a screen like this.
Under page moderation, include the keywords that you don’t want in your comments section (you can approve or delete these comments manually)
This way, you’re able to prevent spammers or your competitors from making bad comments on your page.
Engage With Your Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to engage your customers, and get real time feedback on your restaurant, food, and service.
Ever gotten a bad review and didn’t know how to handle it?
Let’s take some cues from the experts.
This is a straightforward response to a potentially unfair review.
If you would like to leverage a bad review, and use it to your advantage, or even try to redeem yourself, why not turn it into a publicity stunt like the one below, and promote it on your social media platforms.
Heck, you might even want to create a hashtag of it!
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Shares and Honest Reviews From Your Customers
Educate your employees to interact with your customers, and always help them to take group photos, and encourage or remind them to share it on social media, and tag your restaurant in the content!
You could offer sweets or mint at the cashier, or your waitresses could carry it with them with the bill, and offer the “gifts” to customers in exchange for an honest review.
Showcase Your Employee Culture and Use It As Content – Employee Appreciation, Staff of The Week etc.
Getting Your Employees involved in your brand’s social media strategy is a great way to engage with your fans.
Waitresses, baristas, chefs, your customers would love to know who’s serving them, and preparing their food and drink.
Even better if you can create stories around your employees.
Create Employee of the month, or simple quizzes to engage your loyal customers.
Your customers are going to love seeing those familiar faces and commenting and liking those images, or even videos!
Use Video In Social Media Marketing (In Every Way Possible)
Here are 5 Reasons(source) Why You should be using video in your social media campaigns:
- 55% of people watch videos online every day
- In 2017, online video will consist of 74% of ALL Online traffic
- 65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video
- 500 Million people are watching videos on Facebook everyday
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non video users
And here are some great examples of brands who use video in their social media strategy:
Check out how to create mouthwatering videos of your food Here.
We hope that this guide has given you an idea of how to run a social media campaign for your restaurant.
Many more tactics that you can use have not been covered in this post, but it should be more than enough to get you started.
Try them, and let us know how your experience went.
Did you manage to greatly impact your restaurant’s revenue by any of the methods mentioned here?
Note: Most of the screenshots taken in this post are from successful social media campaigns done by restaurants. We suggest doing some research into those brands before embarking on your own.
What You Should Do Now
If you’d like us to work on your digital marketing – to dramatically increase your conversion rates and profits (like we did for hundreds of our clients), then claim your FREE digital strategy session. During this session, our team of experts will discuss your business goals with you and suggest solid digital marketing strategies to double your leads and sales.
If you’d like to work for us, reach out to us through Linkedin