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5 things your restaurant needs to be doing right now on social media

Nadine Long

June 2017

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed in social media marketing, it’s change. With live video, chatbots, and all kinds of ad types constantly adding to the noise opportunity, it can be hard to focus on the basics that make a big difference, especially while you’re also trying to run a restaurant. Here are five ways you can take advantage of some of the new features and old, reliable standbys on your social channels.

1. Aligning your social channels with your brand

Because of the casual nature of social media, it’s easy to fall into a trap of posting unedited, semi-rough images of your food. It’s important to think about how your social channels align with your brand aesthetic and the quality of your restaurant. This might mean spending some time arranging for a well-curated photo shoot to take place once a month—but trust me, your followers will thank you for the tantalizing posts.

2. Responding to guests

One of the biggest mistakes restaurants make is not paying attention to the conversation about them. Social media makes it really easy to interact with guests—and on Facebook, there are lots of ways for people to share their point of view about you. Beyond just commenting on posts, make sure you’re monitoring your reviews, location tags and messages inbox — don’t let these chances to interact or respond to feedback slip by. And don’t be afraid of (or worse, try to hide) negative comments; openly apologizing and addressing the issue is vital to building a relationship with your guests.

3. Using live video – at the right time

Live video is on every channel now – and it’s tempting to experiment with it. Here’s my take: you should! Just have a game plan. Think about featuring your daily special right before the lunch rush, or promoting happy hour around 3pm on a weekday, when office workers like me are starting to wonder where they should head to unwind after work. (If you have great wine specials during your happy hour, please just email me directly.)

4. #strategy

When you’ve just written an awesome description and are ready to send your post out to the world, you’ll often get struck with the “Oh Sh*t I Forgot My Hashtags” syndrome. Your first impulse will be to put every possible hashtag on your post that would be relevant:
#cheeseburger #cheese #burger #pickles #mustard #onions #ketchup #catsup #fries #buns #yum #foodsogood #foodies #burgstagram #cheesesofinstagram

Resist this urge. Take a moment, take a breath, and develop some hashtag strategy. #cheesesofinstagram might actually have a great following of cheese lovers, and if you’re showcasing your new burger made with Gruyere that you had flown in from Switzerland by helicopter, it’s the perfect hashtag for you. The point is: do some research, and know your hashtag arsenal before you go posting.

5. Running geotargeted ads

Facebook’s store location ads are an essential marketing tool, especially for restaurant franchises. These ads make it easy to get LTO offers out to local markets, and even help guests find their way to you with a built-in Get Directions button on the ad. Now if you can get your LTO or monthly special on your targeted ads, cover images and in a live video, you’ll be cooking (pun intended)!

Bonus points for attention to detail: Keeping your cover images updated

Updating social cover images are often overlooked, which is a shame. Especially on Facebook, where your cover image update actually shows up in your followers’ news feeds, this real estate is perfect for promoting limited time offers, specials, or mood-setting images to get your guests excited about dining with you.

Have more questions about social essentials, or some pro tips to share? Tweet at us or shoot us an email. We will trade advice for food.