How to Use Social Media for Your Restaurant

How to Use Social Media for Your Restaurant

Social media platforms are essential elements in marketing a successful restaurant in today's business climate. With the ever-expanding influence of the Internet, it's now more common to Google a restaurant's name than to look it up in the Yellow Pages.

Likewise, a successful marketing approach for your restaurant requires generous use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. These outlets, combined with positive reviews on Yelp and other sites, figure to be just as useful -- if not more so -- in spreading the name of your restaurant than purchasing radio spots, newspaper ads, and television commercials.

Such is the changing face of advertising and marketing in the digital era. Restaurants, perhaps more than any other business, need to be plugged into social media sites as part of a good advertising strategy. A website is not enough. You need a social media presence to bring in the type of business that assures a healthy bottom line. 

What Is Social Media?

Social media marketing differs greatly from traditional media strategies built around businesses announcing themselves to the public through print campaigns, television commercials, and radio spots. A strong social marketing campaign involves using online media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, and Instagram to spread your information to the public.

These cost-effective sites can piece together online conversations and images and build an online identity for your restaurant. This style of marketing lends itself perfectly to the restaurant industry, where word-of-mouth advertising often produces better results than a traditional marketing campaign. 

How Social Media Can Help Your Restaurant

Social media platforms can drive customer traffic to your website, where people search for contact information, driving directions, menus, and events. It is a great tool for posting attention-grabbing messages, photos, and videos to generate customer interest.

Innovative uses of social media often spur additional interest, with restaurant owners posting special recipes online, uploading videos of kitchen tours & cooking demos, or even hosting a contest where customers can win a free drink or a meal. Not only does social media play a role in creating repeat customers, but its dialogue-style approach also encourages customers to comment on their interactions with your restaurant.

This can help you gauge their satisfaction and make any changes that are needed. It also gives you a chance to handle customer complaints, which you can address immediately and offer a solution in a public forum. This shows your customers and others reading your posts that you value your customers' opinions.


Getting Started With Social Media

If you are new to social media, you should start with Facebook and one other account like Twitter or Instagram. With more than 2 billion users around the globe, Facebook dwarfs all other social media platforms.

All social media platforms typically allow you to schedule and post status updates and tweets. Also, posting some good quality photos of your restaurant, staff, menu items, and past events can enhance your online identity.

Social media is all about an open dialogue between you and your customers. As part of your business strategy, it's important to devote a certain amount of time to interact with your customers online through retweets, "likes," and responses to comments. This will help customers feel more connected to your restaurant and establish brand loyalty, which likely occurred more slowly through traditional media.