Creative Social Media Ideas for Restaurants
Social media is a great way for restaurants to build steady business. You can use it to resolve customer disputes, promote new dishes and special deals, and remind people that you serve delicious food. If you’re not using social media to stay in touch with current customers and attract new ones, you’re missing out on an opportunity to strengthen your business.
Many restaurants’ social media strategies are limited to a Facebook account with occasional updates and photos. This is a good starting place, but there are many other options for promotion as social media continues to expand and evolve. A few innovative uses of social platforms can be a great way to engage with customers and convince users to try your restaurant. There are many ways to accomplish this, but these restaurant ideas for social media should help you utilize some of the most popular platforms today.
Social Media Contests
People can’t resist the chance to win something for nothing, so it makes sense that social media contests can be very effective. Their effectiveness, however, depends on what you require people to do to enter themselves to win.
Some businesses simply ask their followers to like a specific post to be entered, and while this is certainly simple for users, it doesn’t do much for your restaurant. Instead, consider asking your followers to engage with your brand by making the entry requirement something like “comment with a recipe you wish we served,” “post a photo of your favorite dish at our restaurant,” or “tell us about your last visit.” This not only requires customers to be creative, but also provides valuable feedback for your restaurant.
You should also plan out how you will choose a winner before announcing the contest and be clear about your methods up front. If you are running a random drawing, you will probably get more entries, but announcing that you will choose a winner based on the best entry will probably bring in higher quality responses. You should also be clear about what exactly the prize will be. Gift certificates to your restaurant are an obvious choice, and can generate even more business, but if the prize is something else, be sure to let people know!
Photos on Instagram and Pinterest
While taste is the primary reason people visit restaurants, sight can also play a role in attracting new customers. Photos of your dining area or perfectly prepared dishes can go a long way in conveying a terrific dining experience to potential customers. Use this to develop an effective visual strategy for marketing your restaurant.
If you run a restaurant, you should definitely consider Instagram as a marketing tool for your business. It is based entirely around photos, making it one of the best ways to share visual content. And considering that the app has 300 million users, there’s a good chance that some of your diners are already on it.
Create an account with your restaurant’s name, then start posting photos of your food and restaurant. Don’t be afraid to spend some time playing with the app’s filters and settings, as photos are the basis of the platform. Then, encourage customers to post photos as well. You can do this by creating a hashtag for your restaurant, checking it regularly, and possibly offering incentives for users who post quality photos. You can even create an Instagram gallery of guest photos and make it available on your website.
Another social media platform you can use in your visual strategy is Pinterest. By posting photos of your restaurant’s food, you can showcase your dishes and make your followers want to try them. You can start by posting photos of your own, and then encourage diners to pin their photos as well. For more ideas, check out our page on Pinterest ideas for restaurants
Engage Followers by Asking Questions
Social media isn't just a place to share information about your restaurant. Customers are more likely to remember content by engaging with it in some way. Create dialogue with your followers by asking them questions. They can be as simple as “what is your favorite item on the menu?” or “what menu item do you wish we offered?”
Posting questions on your social media sites will encourage people to interact with your restaurant online instead of just scrolling down the page. And you can gain valuable information about customer preferences.
The social media go-to for many millennials, Snapchat is a great way to reach customers with fun videos of your restaurant’s food and ambiance. Snapchat receives more than 6 billion video views each day, and users have to remain engaged to view the content. You can also take advantage of geo-filters, perfect for customizing content to fit your brand image. Restaurants can rack up a considerable Snapchat following, and snaps of mouth-watering food will entice followers to visit your establishment.
Ask Your Staff to Contribute
As a restaurant owner, you probably take responsibility for most of the marketing. That being said, social media is a great way to get your staff involved. Don’t make it a requirement, of course, but encourage your servers and cooks to take photos and use the hashtags you’ve created.
As employees, they have a great sense of your restaurant’s brand and can likely come up with content ideas that you haven’t thought of. This can be a fun way to show your restaurant’s personality, and can also help generate new business if employees make occasional posts on their own accounts. Again, keep in mind that this should absolutely not be a requirement. It only works if your staff genuinely wants to promote the restaurant, because authenticity is important on social media.
Offer Exclusive Deals to Followers
People start following businesses on social media for many reasons. Some absolutely love the service, some like the products, and some might just be looking for a job. No matter why they started following in the first place, your followers will likely remain followers if there are perks to being one. That’s why special discounts and other exclusive offers are some of the more popular restaurant ideas for social media marketing.
Consider some of the same ideas you would use for social media contests, like coupons or gift certificates. Don’t stop there, though. Try some unique incentives, like sneak previews of new seasonal menus, or a free drink when you first start following on Facebook or Twitter. On sites like Instagram and Pinterest, restaurant ideas might include posting coupons or photos and asking followers to repin them.
Encourage Customer Reviews
One of the greatest aspects of social media for businesses is that it allows them to develop two-way conversations with their customers. Sometimes this results in complaints and bad reviews, it can also lead to glowing praise. Encourage customers to review your restaurant on social media, then use both good and bad feedback to your advantage.
Encourage patrons to give their honest feedback about their meals, the service, and the overall environment. If they like it, you now have a lot of testimonials to instill confidence in potential customers. If they don’t, you have a chance to resolve the issues and ensure they come back. Either way, you are showing your followers that you want to make your customers happy and put effort into giving them a quality restaurant experience.
If you’re trying to build a successful restaurant, social media can be an extremely useful tool. It is worth taking some time to see which platforms work best for you, but these ideas should help you get started.
If you are still unsure of how to get started, feel free to contact us. It can be difficult to manage multiple channels at once, but we’re more than happy to help you use social media to promote your restaurant and become part of the social conversation.
Creative social media marketing is just within reach—with the right partner. Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to speak with a social media expert about how we can help you achive more online.