Running a restaurant isn’t just about making food – you’ll be liaising with suppliers, ensuring that your customers have the best experience and working hard to market your business.
With more accessible channels to market your business than ever before, it can be tricky to know which is right for your restaurant. Social media is a great, low-cost way to promote your food business and is relatively easy to use.
Facebook and Instagram are the two that work the best for the food industry – between them, they’ve probably launched hundreds of food trends in the last five years alone (cloud eggs anyone?)
Facebook is the undisputed king of social media for restaurants and beyond. With 829 million daily active users, it’s got the widest reach of any platform. Because of this, many operators with social-media strategies consider Facebook to be square one, with others – especially independents – using it as the sole form of social communication. While many platforms have come and gone, 10-year-old Facebook has remained the common measure for judging overall social-media success.
So why use Facebook to promote your business (other than 2.6 billion potential customers)?
- It’s free to set up an account and a page to grow your online presence and brand awareness
- Visual content works well on Facebook, so beautiful food and fantastic eateries go down a storm
- Share your location, contact details, website and booking availability
- Share menus, special offers and behind-the-scenes content
- Customers can share their reviews, comments and experiences, adding authenticity and helping you keep them happy – did you know that 97% of people read reviews on local businesses?
- Set up targeted advertising to reach potential customers in your area
- Gain useful insights on your audience and potential customers from the data and reports that Facebook provides
- Compare yourself to similar pages (i.e. competitors) to see where you rank
- Share news and important information with your customers – they can sign up for notifications to make sure that they always see all of your content
- Schedule content so that it’s shared at the optimum time your audience is online and making their decisions on what to eat tonight
Here’s how to get the ingredients right to make your Facebook page a recipe for success:
Know your brand
Having a consistent voice for your social media channels is important. It sets the tone for expectations of what visiting your restaurant will be like and helps your audience to identify with your brand. As a restaurant owner, are you the face of your brand? If the answer’s yes, then you should definitely be in the social media content you create! It’s important to be personable and authentic in your brand so keep that in mind when you create your social media content.
Understand your audience
One of the great things about social media is the data and metrics you get back for your page. This information can be vital in understanding who your audience are so that you can target your content the right way. If you’re an ultra-trendy, casual dining spot aimed at Gen Z, crafting your posts to read in a really formal way probably isn’t the best way to engage your audience.
Post regularly and vary up your content
It’s important to have regular, fresh content that shows up in feeds and reminds people that you’re there and that they want to eat with you! Don’t just post the same kind of content all the time as a) it’ll stop showing up in people’s feed as people won’t engage with it and b) people will get bored of seeing the same thing all the time.
There are lots of different tools you can use to schedule your social media content across channels – but with Facebook, you can schedule content to post at a later date or time so you don’t need to always be posting on the hop.
You can also display content in different ways; features like Facebook Live and Facebook Stories help you to vary up your posts and keep it fresh to appeal to a variety of different audiences. A contest on Facebook can be a great way to build up your follower numbers and increase engagement (especially if you ask people to like and share your post to enter) for a relatively low cost.
Good quality photos are key
Have you got a signature dish that looks visually stunning? Do you make vegan recipes that are full of colour and ingredients? Is the dining space of your restaurant the perfect backdrop to showcase your menu? Use these visual elements to promote your restaurant and your offerings. “Real” photos can work really well, but for artistic shots where presentation is important, definitely consider staging the photos to make them as pretty as possible.
Invest in the time and equipment to make sure that your photos do their subject justice – think about adjusting lighting and filters, check what’s going on in the background of your photos and use the right equipment. Posts that just use text should be avoided, as engagement on these will be really low.
Video content gets more organic engagement
It’s worth knowing that organic Facebook engagement is highest (13.9%) on posts with videos. Whether you include interviews, the prep process or video tours – video is key to getting engagement and reach on Facebook. It doesn’t need to be a Hollywood-style epic, but plan ahead to capture the best content.
Remember, 85% of Facebook users watch video content without sound. If you’re putting up interview-style content, or video with lots of voiceover, you should think about subtitling or using catchy copy in your post so that 100% of people know what’s in your post.
Think about what you’re writing
Take a little look at how some of your competitors – or even unrelated brands that you admire – write on Facebook. Do they use emoji’s? How do they speak to their customer? What type of information do they share?
Think about what the purpose of your written post copy is and how that links with any video or photo content that you’re sharing alongside it. Do you want to inform? Do you want to invite comments? Is there a specific action that you want your customers to take?
Keep your copy snappy, direct and to the point – less is definitely more, no-one wants to read a Facebook essay! Proofread before you post (or, get someone to take a look if that’s not your strong point). Thankfully you can edit posts once they’re live if you spot any typos or mistakes, but it’s easier to make sure that the content goes out correctly in the first place.
Put your employees in the picture
The people at your restaurants are key to your success – show off your employees and the contribution they make, talk about great feedback they get from customers or industry accolades. It’s a great opportunity to add the personal touch and show off what goes on behind the scenes.
Share events and news
Are you hosting a wine tasting event, hosting a bbq at a local festival, extending your gluten-free options or offering new takeaway options? Maybe you’ve had some great coverage in a magazine or online. Let people know by sharing exciting images and posts that give the inside scoop on what’s going on. Don’t forget to keep your content up to date, no-one wants to get excited about a dish online (and people do check before they visit) only to find that they were looking at an old menu,
Plan your content ahead of time where you can so that you have enough time to create it and post it when you want to – think seasonal and pull together your exciting content ahead of time.
Tell your stories
Stories are at the heart of connecting with people on social media. If you make a recipe that’s been handed down through generations of your family, or you have a supplier that always goes the extra mile to make sure you get the freshest produce, make sure you’re capturing and sharing that on your Facebook page, and encouraging others to share too. Show off what’s going on behind the scenes, in your kitchens and the love that goes into every dish that your team create.
It isn’t always necessary to pay for advertising on Facebook – a business page and account is completely free – but it can help you to reach the right audience if you’re trying to secure new customers. You can target through age, location, demographics and interests and use different types of adverts for different customer types.
Facebook’s algorithm can seem mysterious but paying to target content can help you show up in the right feeds. It also gives you access to some different ways of displaying content, like carousel posts. You can set limits for as much or as little as you want in advance and Facebook will even provide an estimate of the number of people your content could reach.
Want to find out more about how to reach your sales goals through social media? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you to grow your business.