Has anyone ever told you that you’re doing it wrong?
Well, when it comes to running your restaurant’s social media, that could be true.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are all great tools for restaurants, if used properly.
According to FSC Interactive, a social media managing service, 75% of all consumers use social media regularly and 80% of people will look up a restaurant online before going. To back up those stats, here’s a breakdown of the most popular social media platforms and their user bases:
As you can see, the majority of your customers are on social media, so if your restaurant doesn’t already have accounts to reach them with, now is the time to start.
Social media platforms don’t just give your restaurant a way to engage your customers. It also gives your customers a way to interact with your restaurant. The capacity for two-way communication allows customers to provide feedback and restaurants to advertise for free.
Who doesn’t love free advertising?
Well actually, your customers aren’t thrilled by it, but the key is moderation.
The trick is to publish a well-balanced mix of engagement posts (that are of interest to your followers) and promotional posts (that encourage them to visit your restaurant). A good balance of the two is having 75% engagement and 25% promotions. That means, for every three engaging posts, you can have one promotional post.
Here’s how you can use social media to engage your customers and help market your restaurant:
Great For Advertising
Unless you’re using the promoted post or advertising feature of social media platforms, publishing content from these accounts doesn’t cost a penny. You can include your restaurant’s address and hours of operation in the bio of your social media accounts and additional contact info, such as the phone number and website. This can be very useful to customers who don’t want to take the time going through your restaurant’s website to find any of this info.
On top of being a place to advertise all your basic contact and business info, social media platforms are awesome direct marketing resources. You can use your restaurant’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to offer promotions to those who already follow you, or to attract more potential customers to follow your accounts.
An offer that’s limited to those who follow you on social media gives them a reason to continue listening and engaging with your restaurant. Offering promotions every once in awhile that aren’t too generous keeps people coming back week after week, without affecting your restaurant’s bottom line. Plus, you’ll get a sense of your social media influence if you offer a code or coupon on Facebook for in-store redemption.
It’s important to experiment with different times and coupons to discover when your customers are more inclined to be driven to your store by social media. You want to use social media to enhance your restaurant’s traffic and sales, but to do so effectively, you need to know when people are paying the most attention to you.
There are obvious times to offer perks to your followers, such as an anniversary or when you hit a major milestone, like 10,000 followers. Use your social media accounts to call attention to the milestone and thank your followers with a trackable discount coupon.
You can also share deals on Facebook by using the Sponsored Posts feature. If you’re looking to gain new followers or customers, the easiest way to do this is by offering them a promotion or discount. This feature allows advertisers to target consumers based on location, meaning you can blast an ad to those who live within walking distance of your restaurant. This is just one example from the emerging trend of proximity marketing for restaurants.
These are some tricks of the trade when it comes to the world of Facebook advertising. Regular and sponsored posts can be very effective ways to build your restaurant’s fan-base on Facebook, as well as other social media platforms. But you don’t have to always give out discount coupons to keep your audience captivated.
Don’t Just Advertise
Remember the three to one engagement-promotion rule for posting.
Well, that means you can’t just flood your social media followers’ news-feeds with ads or they will unfollow you.
While consumers enjoy hearing about new menu items and special offers, they don’t want to interact with anyone that seems to be too self serving. To keep your customers interested in your restaurant and it’s social media accounts, entertain, enlighten and engage them. Think about your brand and then try to use a diverse set of content to establish and build your brand on social media.
Sharing fun facts pertaining to your restaurant’s cuisine or the team is a good way to get people excited about your food, and it humanizes the brand. Recipes and other fun facts for the casual restaurant goer are easy ways to keep your loyal followers entertained. Any kind of post that is meant to engage the reader instead of advertise to them is thoroughly well-received.
Another way to promote your restaurant on social media is to let others do it for you. After all, word of mouth marketing is the most effective method.Publish some of the more favorable reviews to you social media pages to help influence potential customers. Your restaurant’s staff has worked hard to get good reviews and sway people to write posts about your food. Go ahead and share it on your social media pages. Good publicity means more customers, and it will continue to snowball as long as your food is delicious and your customer service remains excellent.
Your restaurant’s social media should also use social sweepstakes and contests to keep your customers interested. These social promotions add excitement, and a reason to keep your customers coming back to both your social media pages, and your restaurant. By running a geo-targeted sweepstakes using Facebook, your restaurant can generate awareness and appeal to customers both new and old.
These are just a few of the ways you can use your restaurant’s social media to drive customers to your store. In part two of this article, we’ll discuss three other conventions that your restaurant should consider when managing your social media.
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