Let’s be honest: we’re pretty much all addicted to our phones and social media at this point. Don’t believe it? One survey found that the average adult now spends almost 2.5 hours every day on social media. We’re literally on our phones morning, noon and night checking out what everyone’s doing, where they’re going and what they’re eating.
Speaking of eating…if you’re not using social media for your restaurant, now’s the time to create a strategy as part of your restaurant’s marketing and advertising plan. Use our society’s phone addiction situation to drive your restaurant’s profits!
Here are four reasons why you should use social media to increase profits and how to pick the right channels for your restaurant.
4 Reasons Your Restaurant Needs to Use Social Media
Ultimately, social media has to drive more customers for it to be worth your effort. But it goes deeper than simply posting some stuff now and then. Here are some benefits that make social media a good idea for restaurants who are ready to invest time (and sometimes money) into it:
- Reach your audience where they spend their time. The average user visits Facebook 8 times per day. An active presence means you’ll be more likely to get your message in front of potential customers more often. Don’t worry about being “annoying” with too many posts. It takes a flick of the thumb to scroll past a post. They’re not going to mind pictures of great food and fun guests in their feeds.Some of the time people spend on Facebook will be when customers are IN your restaurant. Many will “check-in” on Facebook so their friends can see where they’ve been. Encourage customers to both check-in (which results in more people seeing your restaurant in their newsfeed) and like your Facebook page so they can see your posts more often. Check out this example of a Facebook check in at a restaurant.
- It’s mostly free. There’s no charge for setting up your social media accounts, yet Mark Zuckerberg still has billions of dollars to his name. That's because social media has increasingly become a pay-to-play landscape (i.e. free posts are less effective but you still need to do them). To be sure you get noticed, your social media strategy should consist of organic (free) posts and paid advertising. Organic posts will remind your current customers to come back, while paid ads are much more likely to be seen by potential new customers in your target audience.
- Learn about your audience. Networks like Facebook and Twitter give you plenty of insight into your followers, from their age and location to when they're typically online and even their interests. Over time it becomes easier and easier to identify who your ideal customer is, then you can focus your time and money on posts that are likely to bring in new customers with similar interests.
- You get to have a voice. Everyone thinks they’re an expert or an authority on something these days with social media at their fingertips. This includes people who will boldly state things online that they might not say to your face. You’re going to interact with past customers and potential customers through your social outlets. This is your time to let your restaurant's personality shine. Let them see what your brand is all about, even when they have a complaint. How you handle complaints matters just as much, if not more, than all the fun stuff that you post. It’s part of your restaurant’s personality which is a big part of its appeal. People will want to patronize a business they feel a human connection to.
Convinced of the benefits of social media? Great. Don't jump into the hot water just yet. It's not enough to simply choose a few platforms and post the same content everywhere. Instead, you need to understand the nuances of your options, and customize what you say to fit each network's audience and format. Have a look at how the big-three in social media are different.
Facebook: Ideal for Special Offers and Long-Form Content
Let's start with the largest social media network in the world. You probably know Facebook, but did you know it has the widest age users amongst all social media networks? The average age of Facebook users skews older than other social platforms, and that’s OK. They’re often the ones making purchase decisions. And you’ll still catch younger buyers in the mix.
This makes Facebook perfect for restaurants. Not only does it reach a broad audience, but it’s a reliable place for all those people to find more information about your restaurant. They can find your address, phone number, hours of operation, see reviews, and get to your website. There are even online ordering systems that can tie directly into your Facebook page.
Whether you get super sophisticated or you keep it pretty standard, it’s still a great way to share photos, videos, upcoming events and more. Look no further than Hodad's in Ocean Beach for a great example of a restaurant that posts events, videos, and other content on its page on a regular basis.
It gets better. One other advantage of Facebook compared to other networks is its lack of character limits. Here, you can post an entire recipe without worrying that it will blow up or need to be separated into a Twitter thread. If you do, be sure to include pictures too.
If you choose to advertise on Facebook it can be done to target the right people with the message you want for each audience.
Instagram: Great for the Younger Generation and Foodies
Instagram continues to be a favorite among teenagers and young adults, who prefer it to any other social media network. That's probably because it's more focused on imagery than long, wordy (read: boring) posts. In many ways, it's more than just a photo-sharing site with some fun captions and hashtags added in. Use the hashtags. That’s how people find new things. They want to know everything that’s going on for #nationalpizzaday, so when you post using that hashtag, they can find you that way too.
The downside of Insta: you can't link from your posts. You can have a link to wherever you’d like to send followers from your profile bio and Instagram stories.
Now, for Foodie’s, it’s so easy to see why they love it. They want to share their eats and they want to admire other people’s food. Millie's Nantucket is a great inspiration for combining pictures of its food with the unique landscape of its neighborhood to make for great visuals. If you're looking for a more fast casual example, check out California Donuts. Just don't complain if you come back from that link ready for some sweet pastry snacks.
Twitter: Got a Second? You Won't Need Much More
Twitter is different from Facebook and Instagram in many ways. It's short, condensed, and can be both visual and text-based. But it's also arguably the most interactive network out there. When your audience wants to reach and get a relatively quick response, they'll turn to Twitter more than any other network. It’s a great way to use your brand’s voice to represent the restaurant.
The demographics on Twitter are relatively wide-spread, with the average user coming in as relatively urban in their late 20s and early 30s. That makes this a perfect fit for any restaurants trying to promote themselves to an audience frequently going out. It’s also really great for the huge wave of food trucks that are roaming the streets of our cities today. As the truck moves, you can keep your fans updated. Here’s the Kogi BBQ food truck in LA showing how they talk about what they’re making and where they’ll be. Myers & Chang consistently engages in conversations with its audience to make them feel like they're part of the restaurant family. And don't worry about having to come up with a ton of new content: images and short-form videos used on Instagram can shine on Twitter, too.
Ready to Transform Your Restaurant's Social Media Presence?
If you’re just getting started with social media advertising, you’ll need to setup a free Facebook business page.
- Create a personal account so that you can have administrator access to your page.
- Create a business page. (FYI, using a personal account to represent your business is against Facebook’s policies).
- Once you have your Facebook business page, be sure it includes the basics such as address, phone, hours, and website. Then, add some imagery to make your page more appealing. Creating some posts will also show people that your page is active and encourage them to follow you for updates.
With a great looking page you can then invest in Facebook ads that will place your name and your Facebook presence in front of your target audience.
Once you have Facebook running like clockwork and increasing your sales as a result, you may want to expand to other platforms, like Instagram. Remember to stay engaged on any platform you set up. Don’t set it and forget it. Have someone in charge of monitoring and replying to comments and reviews.
If you’d like to get more information about promoting your restaurant through Facebook, contact our team for more information.
Finding the best ways to advertise in your local area is key to driving new customers through the door every single day. Learn more about some of the top restaurant marketing tactics and how to apply them to your restaurant.