The social media phenomenon has been around for more than 15 years, starting with the creation of Myspace in 2003. Myspace did not last long but social media has become part of everyday life, as well as an essential part of restaurant marketing.
Key advancements through the years have included these milestones:
Along the way, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have totally revolutionized the way restaurants interact with their guests, promote their brand, advertise, and even handle customer relations. To restaurateurs who didn't grow up with a computer in the bedroom and a cell phone in their pocket, the very idea of social media being an essential part of managing a restaurant can be confusing.
Not only is social media management for your restaurant essential, it really is not that difficult to get a grasp on the importance of hashtags, stories, image filters, profile pictures, trending topics, tweets, feeds, timelines, and status updates. It can even be fun!
Check out these 5 ways that you can create a viable social media strategy for your restaurant:
You will not be noticed on social media without engaging visual content. Your visuals can be of anything that interests or excites your customers, from pictures of your food & your team to behind-the-scenes videos of your chefs in action. People tend to buy with their eyes, which makes images important on social media. Users of these social sites will "buy" into your site and your brand if you show them something, not just tell them.
Check out this picture from Upper Crust Pizza's Instagram. During the Pokémon GO phase, they posted a picture of a Poké Ball pizza on Instagram! Now that's clever marketing for the 75% of social media users who choose a restaurant after looking at images of food on social media.
When your customers go to your social media page, they need to see fresh information. Update your posts like you would your daily specials. Include photos from a recent event, or announce a limited-time discount just for your online followers. These are all smart ways to sell immediacy. Use them.
Social media is a place for your customers to talk to you, and talk about you. Make sure you're consistently checking these sites for mentions and comments, and reply to every single one of them. Getting a conversation started breaks down any perceived barriers between your restaurant and your customers. It will also lead to more interactions in the future.
Let's be clear. There is such a thing as too much posting. If one of your Twitter followers checks their timeline and sees 8 tweets in a row from you every time they log on, they may be a bit overwhelmed and decide to unfollow. You don't want that, but the "less is more" mentality doesn't usually apply to social media. Make sure you're posting at least 2-3 times a day on Twitter and Facebook, with up to 4-5 posts per week on Instagram for ideal exposure and engagement rates. Any less than that, and you risk not being noticed.
If you have a great picture to share or you are announcing your biggest sale of the year, this obviously must be spread across all of your restaurant's social media sites. But recognize that some content is better for certain sites than others. Cropped and filtered images work best on Instagram, where people may share them. Twitter is very text-oriented with its 140-character posts that are designed to generate likes, retweets, or replies. Copying and pasting the exact same message across all of your channels will limit your words and creativity for each site. Tweak your message to each different medium to achieve maximum impact.