Having a good social media presence can be one of the most invaluable free ways to market your restaurant. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are ways to speak directly to crowds of existing and soon to be guests young & old (but mostly young).
Certain places are better at it than others. Sweetgreen, for example, has built an iconic brand through their brick & mortar locations paired with an excellent and consistent social media presence. It has led to amazing success and expansion all over the US. Consistency is key when moving forward with your new social media plan.
Here are five lessons we can learn from the best restaurant social media programs:
Share Guests’ Content
This is a key aspect of having a successful social media presence. To start, create a hashtag that your guests and follows can tag in their posts (ex: #WINGsdays, for a wing night), so you can find them easily. Pick your favorites and share. Never forget to tag your guests in the post. One, people take stealing content seriously and two, your guests will love being in the limelight for a few minutes.
Host Social Media Contests
A great way to drive engagement is to run little social media contests. A good old-fashioned “Best Caption on this Photo Wins a Giftcard” is a great way to build some online engagement and ensure someone comes to your restaurant and spends time and money at your establishment.
Use Video to Bring Your Brand to Life
Have a new menu item and the preparation of said item is cool and unique, or just looks particularly delicious? Showcase it! Your team doing something funny like dressing up for a holiday to be festive? Post that video; it shows that you have senses of humor and your restaurant is a fun place to visit. Maybe your bartender is exceptional. Film them creating a fancy cocktail with some fun bottle flourishes. The possibilities go as far as your imagination does!
Ask Questions to Engage Gollowers
Which is the superior chicken wing: Flats or Drums? With polarizing opinion-based questions like that your followers are sure to engage in your poll and most likely even debate or share their opinion in your comments. People love standing up for what they believe in, especially if it is something lighthearted like a food. You can run these very easily on Twitter, and Instagram recently added a poll option to their stories, so you can really play around and boost engagement.
Capitalize on Trending Topics
Did you notice that the most viral post on the web was a ‘Pizza Rat’ for a long while? If you run a pizzeria, you should’ve run with that news! Use those viral coincidences to capitalize on your restaurant fitting in with the trendy topic of the moment. This can be an easy way to draw people in to your account whom otherwise wouldn’t see it. Think Oreo during Super Bowl 47 when the power outage happened.
While the social media techniques do not end here, this is a solid base of skills to practice and perfect as you start to build your image on social.