Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

Social media means a lot of things: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. For a new restaurant, getting a social media campaign up and running can be overwhelming. To help you get started I've put together several resources that will help guide your through the pros and cons of each major social networking site, to help you find the right fit for your restaurant. 

As a restaurant owner or manager, I know you’re busy. I know you’re beyond busy, but if you are looking for ways to engage customers – both old and new- there are few simple things you can do to garner more attention online, which can equate to more sales in-house.

Social media is all about conversations. You want your customers talking about your restaurant and sharing good stories about their experiences dining with your staff.  Integrating photos into your social media campaign via sites like Pinterest and Instagram offer alternate ways to connect with customers.  Encourage them to share their own photos of your restaurant, to keep the conversation going. 

Connect With Customers on Pinterest

How to Use Pinterest to Market Your Restaurant Tofu Kimchi. KFoodaddict via Flickr

Pinterest’s motto is “organize and share things you love.” It offers restaurants a unique way to build their online social media presence through bulletin boards featuring photos – not only of their restaurant, but also of photos that represent their brand. Another bonus of Pinterest, is that it isn’t a huge time suck – 15-30 minutes a week is all it takes to establish your online presence.

Pinterest is above all, fun. It isn’t controversial. Unlike Facebook, it doesn’t promote customer comments and you won’t (or rarely) have to worry about complaints. Instead, Pinterest offers restaurants a chance to express itself through pictures. You can create boards to showcase your restaurant, your menu, and also express your brand.

Promote Your Menu Through Instagram

How to Use Instagram to Increase Business. D.Medina

People like food. They like to eat food. They like to cook food (well, some people do anyway) and they like to look at food. And you know what else people like? To take pictures of themselves. You know what people like even more than taking pictures of themselves? Taking pictures of themselves doing some cool, like eating dinner out or having a drink at the bar.

This photo app, designed for iPhones and Android phones, allows users to take pictures and upload them instantly to their favorite social media sites. Restaurants can capitalize on people’s love of food and selfies in a variety of ways.

How to Use Facebook for Your Restaurant

Social Media Marketing 101. Melodi2

Facebook has leveled the playing field when it comes to marketing and promoting a restaurant. It used to be standard practice to pay a good chunk of change for newspaper ads, radio spots or TV commercials. However, with the advancement of online advertising and the mobile revolution of smart phones and iPads, people are connected instantly, all the time.

A Facebook page is the command center for your social marketing campaign. Through your Facebook page photos and timeline, you can establish and express your restaurant’s identity. It allows you to respond to customers quickly and personally. Along with photos and posts, you can use a variety of apps to further engage customers, like menu apps and event apps.

Do You Need a Restaurant Website?

Why Websites Still Matter. Rikahi

In the 21st century, a website is akin to a phone number when it comes to business. You wouldn’t open a restaurant without a phone, would you? Today, you shouldn’t plan on opening a restaurant without having a website either. As the internet becomes more and more mobile, people have instant access all the time, they will turn to Google for information, not the Yellow Pages. Therefore, it’s important that you not only have a website, but it be well laid out and informative.

If done correctly, a website can be your most powerful marketing tool . It is the hub of any social marketing campaign. All roads from Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and the other countless social networking sites, should lead to your website. From there, customers should be able to do everything from book reservations to buying gift certificates.