10 Things to Know About Social Media and Restaurants

Tips and Tricks for Using Social Marketing at Your Restaurant

Jason Howie via Flickr

Social media, also known as New Media, has changed the way people, organizations and businesses communicate. Old ways of advertising and marketing, such as print ads in newspapers, radio spots or TV commercials are steadily being replaced by Tweets, Posts, Pins and Check-ins, to name a few. Not sure what any of those things are? Read on for 10 things you need to know about using social media at your restaurant.


1. Social Media is More Than Just Facebook. Other popular sites include Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, Flickr, the list goes on and on. If you are just get started, Facebook is a good place to start, but don’t ignore these other sites. To help you get started, check out this article.

2. Social Media is Free. Well, mostly. The beauty of social media is that most of the sites are free, leveling the playing field for both large and small restaurants.

3. Social Media is Fun!

4. Social Media can Become a Time Suck. If you’re not careful, that is. Just sitting down to write this article, I first wanted to check my Facebook and Twitter pages. Fast forward 30 minutes and I was like “Whoa! Where’d the time go?” That is a risk with social media. It is easy to lose track of time, especially if you are managing multiple social media sites. There are websites out there that can help you coordinate your efforts in a more timely manner, such as Hootsuite, which is free for up to five social media streams.

5. Social Media has lots of Cool Analytic Tools. Who knew the words cool and analytic could go in the sentence? But it’s true. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter give you nifty at-a-glance charts and graphs to see how well your posts, tweets and links are being followed.

6. You Don’t Need a Restaurant Website to Use Social Media. But it helps.

Some restaurants and other food-based businesses rely solely on their Facebook page or other social media sites. I still think a website is important. It is a one stop shop to find information and see your restaurant up close and personal.

7. Pinterest is My Favorite Social Media Site. Okay, so maybe you don’t need to know that as part of your successful social media campaign. But you should know the basics of Pinterest and ways to use it to your advantage. People love pretty pictures and that is the heart of Pinterest, building an online conversation with images. Read more about how to use Pinterest to effectively market your restaurant.

8. Make Your Restaurant Campaign Mobile. Remember that social media doesn’t stay tethered to a desktop PC or laptop. It is on phones and other mobile devices everywhere.

9. Get People Talking About Your Restaurant. Social media is all about conversations. Whereas old media was a business talking to the people, new media about getting people to talk about your business. By encouraging people to check-in, share pictures of them at your restaurant, tag you in posts, you are creating a ripple effect of word-of-mouth advertising that you just can’t buy (or can’t buy cheaply, anyway).

Read more about enhancing customer service with social media.

10. Social Media is a Promotional Gold Mine. Taco Bell used social media to build hype around their newest menu item, the Cool Ranch Taco Locos, and it became the biggest menu item EVER for the chain. Ever. Would that have happened without social media? I love Cool Ranch Doritos as much as the next girl, but I think not.