As I've stated in an earlier blog on the topic of restaurant marketing, "Hospitality marketing is both an art and a science that is a lost art for far too many restaurant & bar operators" Now to social media? You may as well throw flyers out of an aeroplane if you don't engage with it properly.
All restaurants should be using social media - fact! It's effective, it's cheap and it puts you in control now that the traditional methods of advertising by big media outlets are becoming powerless year by year. Whether you have a social media strategy or not, you’re still online. Your customers will still be posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and others, leaving reviews, posting pics and checking-in to your restaurant. You need to be involved.
There are so many social media platforms out there, you simply cannot use them all of them, well no restaurant without a dedicated social media department that is. Use the ones that work, use the ones that your target market use. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the obvious front-runners.
A requirement for all restaurants as it currently has 2.25 billion users and 30 million in the UK alone. The only negative about Facebook is that if your target audience is younger then maybe you should focus more on Snapchat and Instagram as the kids are using it less as their parents are on it. Facebook pages make it easier for customers to find you both online and in real life. Advertising on Facebook can prove to be very effective and it's really affordable. If you learn how the use the targeted marketing tools, age, area, interests, sex etc. correctly, you can engage your own client base with pinpoint precision. If a post is worth putting on Facebook it's worth putting a little cash behind it.
It's a great way to blast out specials, but it's also mainly about creating conversation and engagement. You have to get 'social' and when someone mentions your restaurant at least say thanks, but why not ask them how it was and get the chat going. It's important to get back to people quickly too, so monitor your feed as often as you can. Personally I do not think advertising on Twitter is anything like as effective as Facebook currently.
This has made everyone into amateur food critics. Instagram is very popular with younger restaurant patrons and your feed needs to look amazing. Take a quick look around next time you’re in any restaurant and you will find many diners taking photos of their food, so make sure you maximise on this 'free advertising'.
Your food and drink presentations need to be worthy. Also, identify an Instagramable area of the restaurant and beautify it with Instagram in mind to encourage other pics. Offer incentives if people tag the restaurant in their post with a specific hashtag. There are no rules associated with using hashtags, just that using too many is probably not the way to go. Have a few different ones to use specific to your posts and always be sure to make use of any that happen to be trending. This encourages maximum visibility.
There’s perhaps no industry for which Instagram is better geared than the restaurant industry. Research has shown that people 18-35 spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak.