As a restaurant owner or manager, it is essential that you understand how to use social media to connect with customers. There are lots of different platforms out there and some are more effective than others, depending on the type of restaurant you plan to run.
When it comes to "best practices" to adopt on social media, however, these three top the list. If you master them and find a couple of supplemental platforms that work well for your restaurant in addition to a mandatory Facebook presence, you will soon be engaging lots of customers and growing your business.
People love pretty pictures, especially when the subject is mouth-watering food options. Smart Phones and Instagram filters make it easier than ever to take and post creative, professional-looking photos of your menu dishes. Bringing in a professional photographer also is a good idea because it is more difficult to stage delicious-looking food photos than most people realize.
Just understand this: It is essential that your food looks fantastic in your online photos to spur traffic to your restaurant. You should showcase daily specials and decadent desserts as a way to entice customers to come in for a visit.
Along with food photos, photos of your staff having fun at work, still shots of your dining room, and photos of customers enjoying themselves at your bar are all fantastic marketing opportunities. There are lots of restaurants who are using photographs to strengthen their brand and attract more customers.
Instagram photos work well with social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Studies show that social media headlines (posts, tweets, etc.) with photos engage followers significantly more than posts with text alone. So if you want to connect with your customers & potential customers on social media, be sure to feature posts with eye-catching photos.
For example, post a photo of your daily lunch special and ask, “What do you think of our new Avocado Spring Roll?” People love to offer feedback. But they really love photos, as long as they are sharp, focused, interesting images. One tip to consider: Snapping a photo of menu dish in a dimly lit dining room won’t work. Natural light is best when photographing food.
Social media is all about conversations. You want your customers talking about your restaurant and sharing good stories about their experiences dining with your staff.
Maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms is an invitation for feedback. That is a good thing. Positive feedback will help boost your business and negative comments will give you an opportunity to fix problems and address complaints in a public forum. Customers love to see that owners hear, value and respond to their feedback.
Typically, if someone posts a negative comment on your Facebook wall, your loyal customers will come to your defense, sharing their positive stories, and drown out the naysayer. It is important to learn how to handle customer complaints in a gracious, classy manner.
Pinterest often is filled with restaurant recipes, both “copy cat” facsimiles of chain-restaurant favorites and original recipes from local eateries. Why not share some of your house favorites for your customers? Once you’ve uploaded photos and pinned recipes, share those links with your customers so they can find the recipe on your Pinterest board or website.
Because restaurant owners & managers have lots of essential daily tasks beyond social media campaigns, it is a great ideal to find a technically-savvy worker and delegate most of your social-media duties to that individual. Allowing staffers to handle such tasks ensures that postings are done in a consistent manner, and on a daily basis, for sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Pinterest is a lower maintenance social media site. You can post a few recipes there as you have time, with the appropriate photos attached. But make sure your primary focus is Facebook, the world's largest social media platform.
If your budget permits, consider contracting with a communications company to maintain your social media profiles. Once a routine is established, it doesn't take much time or money on a daily basis to maintain or modify a social media campaign that produces big results.