It could be that I get my passion for being social from having worked 20 years in the hospitality industry before taking my social graces online. Social media wasn’t on the menu 20 years ago, but marketing and promotion have been a staple of the restaurant industry as long as there have been restaurants.
I've watched the value and allure of social media marketing for restaurants increase exponentially year after year. In fact, assisting restaurants with their social media recipes is what ultimately got me to where I am today with 802Social, and a big part of what keeps me going!
Social Media Served Piping Hot!
There are as many social media platforms out there as there are sauce pans and skillets, but there are only a few you’ll use every day, that define how you connect with your community, and what you’re cooking up.
Your restaurant’s Facebook page is veritable smorgasbord of opportunity and information. Menus, reviews, photos, videos, special events, farm to table connections, etc. Your patrons are looking for you on Facebook. It’s where they go to find out when you’re open, what you’re serving, if you accept reservations, what other people are saying about you, and they take so much away from the visit that you need to treat your online community as attentively as you treat the clientele in your dining room.
Give the people a taste of what you’re all about, and help them connect with you.
1. Add a “Book Now” button if you accept reservations.
2. Showcase an exceptional food photo on the cover image. Get a professional to take a few shots.
3. Upload your menu. Highlight changes, and make sure not to let outdated menus linger without updating them.
4. Add cuisine type. People are searching by cuisine as much as anything else.
5. Describe your restaurant. Are you “kid friendly,” vegetarian, fine-dining, take-out, local beers on draft, etc.
6. Facebook reviews. Allow people to post reviews and remember to respond to them. A personal response to a reviewer's comments shows you’re engaged and that you care.
Now that you’ve set the table, serve your most delectable dishes and daily specials. Create a consistent voice and engage with your audience with relevant and interesting posts that get them excited, showcase your passion, and highlight your commitment to what your sharing.
1. Incredible food photos. Most people can take a decent photo with a smart phone these days, but if your photos are coming out bland, think about hiring a professional, or tap someone on your staff with that special eye to take great pictures of your finest food creations.
2. Daily specials. Highlight what’s new and what’s special. Local asparagus for just a few weeks a year, or a seafood dish that will knock their socks off.
3. Behind the scenes. If you’re having fun, they’re having fun. Let your patrons take a peek behind the scenes; show them how much fun you’re having doing what you do.
4. Highlight your team. Let them get to know you. Your kitchen and waitstaff define how your customers experience your brand, so let them see who they are and how much they care.
5. Up to date news. "Due to a private event, we will be closed tonight, but are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!” No one wants to show up and find your closed. Keep your customers in the know with news, updates, etc.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
I’ve already talked about photos twice with regards to Facebook, but with Instagram your photos are seriously next level marketing. Being a platform that specifically deals in images only, and as a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram is a no-brainer for restaurants, and kitchen artistes.
I don’t know about you, but I'm a sucker for seeing something delicious online and either wanting to make it myself, or much more likely, going out to get it. Instagram is not a condiment in a restaurant’s social media milieu, it is the main course.
1. Post your best photos. Pictures of your finest dishes, of your kitchen in action, your new sign, your staff party, your latest menu. Take sharp, interesting photos and showcase the energy and excitement your business thrives on, and the incredible food you’re serving.
2. Tell your story. String your photos together, add context and comments, and post stories that engage and inspire.
3. Highlights. Highlight specific stories that prominently promote and celebrate your brand.
4. Live feed. Let them eat cake! Or at least let them see you eating cake. Instagram Live lets your community come along for the ride. They’ll be coming to visit in person before you know it.
5. Geo-location. Tagging your photos and stories with geotags allows users to search and locate you from wherever you are.
6. IGTV. This is a brand new feature similar to YouTube. Up to 10 minutes of video can be loaded onto your own Instagram channel. This is a stellar idea for a cooking demo, dinner service views, and more.
7. Hashtags. Hashtags follow you everywhere. They’re like crumbs you leave behind on every plate you’ve ever enjoyed. Hashtags connect you to searches, and are a great way to highlight specifics about your establishment, #socialmediamaven, as well as your location, and other features.
Social Media is the Special Sauce
You’re seeing it happen all around you, it’s where your clientele is looking for ideas, posting reviews, sharing experiences, and getting to know you.
Read my Blog to dig deeper into ways businesses are using Facebook and Instagram to stay connected and tell their story, and how your restaurant can benefit from getting into the game, and cooking up something special.
Eat, Drink, and Be Social with 802Social