Social media accounts are vital to growing your restaurant’s business. With instagram and facebook being the must-have platforms for showcasing your food, atmosphere and customer experiences. The shareability of your posts are crucial to increase your social media effectiveness. But, what makes a post shareable? And what are the best practices for getting the most out of your social media accounts? Let’s take a look…
1 – Quality Photos
Let’s be honest. Everywhere you look online, there are photos. And most of them are bad. If you’re in the restaurant business and you’re NOT posting quality photos of menu items, or your restaurant, then you’re missing out on a major marketing opportunity! People LOVE looking at food, especially from their favorite eateries. When you start posting good quality photos, your followers will almost instantly start engaging with those posts. They’ll like, comment and share. This is marketing that you can’t afford not to be implementing.
Other important photo ops to consider are your dining areas, patrons enjoying their experience at your restaurant, special events you have coming up, a mixologist mixing a drink, a chef preparing a meal, etc. People LOVE seeing behind the scenes. It gives your followers a personal connection to your restaurant.
Most smartphones today take fantastic photos. Head over to pinterest for some ideas on plating and photographing food. And if that seems too overwhelming for you to tackle, you can hire a photographer or better yet contact Fuzzy Duck (952.449.6800) to handle all of your restaurant’s photography needs.
NOTE: It’s also a good idea to check out other local eateries and following their accounts. Look at what other restaurants are doing to promote their business in your area and try some of the same strategies.
2 – Branding
There are two important things to remember when considering branding on social media.
First, when setting up your social accounts, make sure that your profile and cover photo images are the same across every social platform. This makes it easier for users to find you on each platform. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked for a company between platforms, but couldn’t find them easily, because their profile and cover photos were different. It makes it confusing and frustrating for the user.
Starbucks has done a great job branding their social profiles.Their profile photos are the same across instagram, facebook and twitter.
The photos are high quality and speaks to their brand.
To best optimize your profile imagery, follow these social media image sizes.View the Full Social Media Image Usage Infographic
Secondly, when creating posts, think about your brand and who you are as a restaurant. Your posts, whether they’re graphics or photos, should all have a similar feel. Consider color scheme, (preferably matching your branded colors in your logo), the feel that you want to portray for your restaurant, and what story you want to tell about your restaurant.
Learn more about social media image sizes and branding by reading our article, 2018 Social Media Image Standards.
3 – User Generated Content (UGC)
Happy customers are one of your best marketing resources. When people visit your restaurant and have a great experience, many times they post it on their social accounts. Thanks to instagram, people became obsessed with taking pictures of their food and posting those photos to their social accounts for all of their followers to drool over. This is called User Generated Content and it’s great news for you, because with their permission you can begin gathering those posts and re-posting them on your accounts. You’ll have to give the user credit when you repost, but that makes the user feel special and they’re more likely to visit your restaurant and post again. UGC really is an invaluable resource for your social media marketing strategy.
4 – Consistency
Consistent posting on your social accounts is a necessity. You can’t expect to grow a following by being an inconsistent poster. Posting once a month or even once a week is NOT enough! That is bad practice among many businesses and limits their social media marketing effectiveness. Every platform is different on what your posting frequency should be. The best way to achieve consistent posting is to create a posting schedule and stick to it!
Use varied content to keep your posts interesting to your followers. Posts that include visuals (photos, video, GIFs), have a much higher percentage to be liked, commented on, and shared.
5 – Engagement
A big part of social media marketing is actually BEING SOCIAL! You have to engage with your followers any time they send you a message or leave a comment. It shows them that you care about your customers and their experiences with your restaurant. You can start a conversation by asking a question in a post or creating a poll. Check back frequently to make sure you’re engaging in the conversation. For example, create a post asking your followers what their favorite menu item is, promote an event you’re having, Happy Hour if you have one, and ask who’s going to be there for it. Have fun with it!
Don’t forget to check that inbox! A lot of customers prefer contacting restaurants via direct message. Whether they’re asking a question, leaving positive or negative feedback, it’s important to respond to them as swiftly as possible. Unfortunately, at some point you may have an unsatisfied customer, it’s best to smooth over their frustration as best you can by apologizing or offering a simple explanation. It’s a good idea to perhaps offer a gift card to your restaurant and invite them back for a better experience. Some people just like to complain, so it’s best not to engage in any lengthy discussion with an unsatisfied patron. Keep it simple and leave it alone.
NOTE: Engagement can be very time consuming and you will miss some comments or messages. Don’t get discouraged, just do the best you can. And, if you need help managing your social accounts, consider using a social media agency like Fuzzy Duck that understands your business and what it takes for you to be successful.
6 – Hashtags
Hashtags are key word links used to collect and link posts together. Users can search through and contribute to social conversations by using hashtags. It’s important to include hashtags within your posts to be part of that conversation. However, all hashtags are not created equal. A little legwork is involved in finding the right hashtags that will be beneficial to your restaurant’s social posts. Searching through other local restaurant posts is a good way to find popular hashtags near your location. A few, popular food-related hashtags are: #instafood #foodie #food #nom #yum
One hashtag that is important for every restaurant to use is one that is created just for your brand. You should also encourage your patrons to use your branded hashtag when they post on their social accounts. You can do this by simply including your hashtag on any printed materials that you have (menus, signage, coasters, etc.) Then you can search your hashtag on social platforms and curate User Generated Content.
We covered a lot of information here and really this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media marketing for your restaurant. So, to recap:
- Quality Photos: Use good quality photos in your posts
- Branding: Make sure your branding is consistent across all social platforms
- UGC: Take advantage of User Generated Content
- Consistency: Create a posting schedule and stick to it
- Engagement: Be social and engage with your customers
- Hashtags: Utilize hashtags and create a branded one for your establishment
Here at Fuzzy Duck, we have worked with many clients creating social media strategies and managing their social accounts. If you’re looking for some assistance with getting your social media strategy up to date contact us today!