Building Your Restaurant's Social Media Presence

A tree connecting to various social media types
••• Gerd Altmann/Pixabay/Public Domain

There are risks to being old-school. Today's smart restaurant owners use social media to build a strong online presence. That helps to establish brand loyalty with existing customers and attracts potential new customers.

It even helps expand the business. Social media marketing campaigns offer restaurants an opportunity to promote and sell additional products and services. They can raise awareness of their catering services, offer branded merchandise and gift certificates, and announce special events.

The biggest social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, and Instagram, make it easy to get started. Importantly, they also give you ways to measure interest in your posts.

There are four factors in a successful social media marketing campaign.

  • Audience
  • Message
  • Concept
  • Competition

Getting each of these areas right will help you achieve your goal of keeping and attracting new customers.

Identify Your Audience

The first step in planning a social marketing campaign is to decide who you are trying to reach. Is it the business lunch crowd? The after-work drinks and dinner crowd? The weekend families or summer tourists? Your message will depend largely on the group you are targeting.

Consider Your Message

If you're talking to the lunch crowd, posting daily specials and delivery schedules on weekdays would be ideal.

Food truck businesses depend on social media to alert their customers to where they will be at what time each day.

If you are looking to increase your weekend business, step up your postings on Fridays and through the weekend.

Think creatively. Social media is entertainment as well as information. You can offer recipes from your chef or bartender, videos and photos of happenings in the neighborhood, or posts about upcoming local events.

Consider Your Concept

If you are a hip and trendy bar, seeking to attract a hip and trendy clientele, the messages you create should be, well, hip and trendy. If your audience is older, they may well decide your restaurant is too hip and trendy for their tastes. Your tone and vocabulary should reflect the kind of crowd you want to attract.

In any case, posts or tweets should have a casual, friendly tone, and contain information pertinent to the audience.

Check Out the Competition

What social sites, if any, are your fellow restaurants using and how are they using them? Follow their posts, tweets, and pins, and you may find some useful techniques to employ in your own social media campaign.

You may also find useful opportunities for collaboration, such as restaurant week events or community fundraisers.