Social media marketing for restaurants has become an important piece of the restaurant marketing puzzle. Restaurants are reaching new audiences with creative posts as more and more potential customers are using social media to find new restaurants to try.
By building a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, you can reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness and drive more traffic to your ordering channels.
In this blog post, we'll go over the ins and outs of social media marketing for restaurants, including how to create an effective strategy, choose the right platforms, and decide whether to go solo or employ either a social media manager or a social media marketing agency.
The importance of social media for restaurants
If you own a restaurant or you’re in charge of marketing for one, you know how important it is to attract new customers while also keeping your existing diners coming back for more. One of the most effective ways to do this in today's digital age is through social media marketing.
Social media allows you to engage directly with your customers through videos, images and written posts and also by responding to comments. The data gathered through social media platforms is also useful in finding your ideal customers and figuring out the best way to engage with them.
In short, if you’re not playing the social media game, your direct competitors will be gaining an edge and attracting customers who could have become your loyal brand ambassadors.
Best social media platforms for restaurants
A number of social media platforms have proven to be effective for restaurant digital marketing, but the best platform for your business will depend on your target audience and marketing goals. Consider which platforms your target audience is most active on and which platforms are most suited to your brand identity and values.
Typically, the best social media platforms for restaurants are:
Facebook is a widely used platform that allows businesses to create a Facebook page and share updates, promotions, and photos with their followers. It’s a good option for restaurants because it allows you to reach a large audience, target specific demographics and boost online orders.
Instagram is a visual platform that is widely used among younger users, especially those in the 18-34 bracket, but also by older generations. And is particularly effective for food-related businesses. Instagram is a good choice for restaurants because it allows you to share high-quality photos of your dishes and restaurant atmosphere.
Twitter allows you to share short updates and engage with followers in real-time. It can be a useful tool for restaurants to share daily specials, promotions and updates about the business.
TikTok is a short-form video platform that has gained popularity in recent years, particularly among younger users under 34. TikTok marketing for restaurants can be a good option if you want to share fun and creative content, such as a behind-the-scenes peek at the restaurant kitchen or snappy recipe videos.
Social media marketing ideas for restaurants
There are countless social media marketing ideas that restaurants can use to promote their business and engage with their followers.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Share photos and videos of your dishes – use high-quality photos and videos to showcase your dishes and give potential customers a taste of what they can expect at your restaurant.
Promote specials and discounts – use social media to promote special deals and discounts, such as happy hour specials or discounts for first-time customers.
Share behind-the-scenes content – give your followers a peek behind the scenes by sharing photos and videos of your kitchen, staff and daily operations.
Share customer reviews and testimonials – use social media to share positive reviews and testimonials from your customers to show potential new customers what others are saying about your restaurant.
Host a social media contest – host a contest on social media to engage with your followers and attract new customers. For example, you could ask customers to share photos of their favourite dishes from your restaurant or create a hashtag for customers to use when posting about your restaurant.
Partner with influencers – partner with local influencers or food bloggers to promote your restaurant on their social media channels. This can help reach a larger audience and increase awareness of your business. More on influencer marketing below.
Use hashtags – use relevant hashtags when posting about your restaurant to make it easier for users to discover your content and increase the visibility of your posts.
Share user-generated content – encourage your followers to share their own photos and reviews of your restaurant, and then share this content on your own social media channels to show off your happy customers.
Building a social media strategy for restaurants
Building a restaurant social media marketing strategy involves developing a plan for creating and sharing content on social media platforms in order to achieve specific marketing goals.
Here are some steps to consider when building a social media strategy for a restaurant:
1. Determine your goals
Clearly define what you hope to achieve through your social media marketing efforts. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or boost online sales?
2. Identify your target audience
Consider who your ideal customers are and where they are most likely to be active on social media. This will help you choose the right platforms and tailor your content to appeal to your target audience.
3. Choose your platforms
Select the social media platforms that will be most effective for reaching your target audience and achieving your marketing goals. It may be helpful to start with one or two platforms and expand as you become more comfortable with social media marketing.
4. Develop a content calendar
Plan out the types of content you will post and when you will post it. This can help ensure that you are consistently sharing content and staying top-of-mind with your followers. And it means you can plan ahead to launch campaigns for holidays and special events.
5. Create engaging content
Share a mix of promotional content, such as specials and discounts, and non-promotional content, such as behind-the-scenes looks at your restaurant or recipe ideas.
6. Engage with your followers
Respond to comments and messages from your followers, and actively seek out opportunities to engage with them on social media.
7. Analyse your results
Use social media analytics tools to track the success of your social media marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed.
By following these steps, you can build a strong social media strategy that helps promote your restaurant and attract new customers.
Social media manager versus social media marketing agency for restaurants
For many restaurant brands, social media marketing is a full-time job that, as an owner or restaurant manager, you simply don’t have time for. So if you need to outsource your social media efforts, is it best to hire a social media manager or use a social media marketing agency?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.
Hiring a social media manager
A social media manager can be a valuable asset for a restaurant looking to effectively promote its offerings on social media platforms.
Some benefits of hiring a social media manager for a restaurant include:
Time management – managing a restaurant's social media accounts can be time-consuming, especially if the restaurant is active on multiple platforms. A social media manager can take on this task and free up time for the restaurant owner or staff to focus on other aspects of the business.
Expertise – a social media manager has expertise in creating and implementing social media marketing strategies and can help a restaurant create an effective plan for promoting their business on social media.
Content creation – a social media manager can help a restaurant generate engaging and visually appealing content, such as photos and videos, to share on social media.
Engagement – a social media manager can help a restaurant engage with its followers by responding to comments and messages and seeking out opportunities to connect with potential customers.
Analytics – a social media manager can use analytics tools to track the success of your restaurant's social media marketing efforts and provide insights for future campaigns.
Overall, a social media manager can help a restaurant effectively promote its business on social media and reach a larger audience. But hiring a new team member is always a time-consuming and potentially risky task.
Employ a social media agency for restaurants
Hiring a social media agency can provide a number of benefits for a restaurant looking to promote its business on social media.
Some advantages of working with a social media agency include:
Professional expertise – a social media agency has professional expertise in developing and implementing social media marketing strategies and can provide valuable insights and recommendations for a restaurant's social media efforts.
Wide range of services – a social media agency may be able to offer a wider range of services than a single social media manager, including content creation, social media management, advertising and analytics.
Specialised knowledge – a social media agency, with its pool of talent, may have specialised knowledge in specific industries, such as quick service restaurant marketing, which can be beneficial for QSRs looking to laser-target their marketing efforts.
Increased reach – a social media agency can help a restaurant reach a larger audience by implementing targeted advertising campaigns and utilising their connections with influencers and other industry professionals.
Overall, working with a social media agency can provide your restaurant with professional expertise and a range of services to effectively promote the business on social media.
Finding the right restaurant marketing agency might not be the easiest task, but it might be more economical than hiring a new social media marketing manager.
Influencer marketing for restaurants on social media
Influencer marketing for restaurants involves partnering with social media influencers, who have a large following and influence on their respective platforms, to promote your restaurant or a particular menu item.
Influencer marketing can be an effective strategy for restaurants looking to increase brand awareness and reach a larger audience.
To implement influencer marketing for your restaurant, reach out to influencers in the food and hospitality industry and offer them a complimentary meal or other perks in exchange for a review or mention of the restaurant on their social media channels.
It’s important to choose influencers who align with the values and image of your restaurant and whose followers are likely to be interested in your restaurant's offerings.
Influencer marketing can be an effective way for a restaurant to reach a new audience and generate buzz about the business. It is important to track the results of influencer marketing efforts to determine their effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments to the strategy.
Is social media marketing for restaurants worth your time?
Social media marketing can be a valuable tool for restaurant owners or managers looking to promote their businesses and reach a larger audience.
By effectively utilising social media platforms and strategies such as content creation, engagement and influencer marketing, you can increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your ordering website and boost sales.
While managing a social media presence does require time and resources, the potential benefits make it a worthwhile investment for many restaurants. Many find it’s even worth employing the services of a specialist social media agency.
It is important to carefully consider your marketing goals and target audience when developing a social media strategy and to regularly track and analyse your results to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.