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For many restaurants, social media has become an important part of growing their clientele and building awareness in the local community. Through photos on Instagram, tweets on Twitter and updates on Facebook, it’s now possible for restaurants to conduct a large part of their marketing activities entirely via social channels. Here are three basic ideas to get you started.
#1: Offer exclusive deals and promotions to social followers
One important way to build excitement on social media and convince people to like your page or follow you on Instagram is to offer exclusive deals that aren’t available anywhere else. There are various ways to execute on this idea, depending on which social channel you are trying to reach.
For example, The Goat’s Beard, an award-winning American-style gastropub in the Philadelphia area, has been experimenting with a number of different ways to get the word out about its new promotions. On Instagram, they are posting these as handwritten specials (“Come join us for lunch… and get 10% off the check”). On Facebook, they are using the cover image – perhaps the most valuable piece of real estate on any brand’s Facebook page – as a way to announce new deals (“Kids eat free with purchase of adult main”). In other cases, they have given away free appetizers to people who announced on Facebook that they were coming to The Goat’s Beard for lunch.
#2: Post great photos and videos that showcase your food and people
This one is a bit of a no-brainer – take full advantage of the highly visual nature of social media to showcase the core reason why people are coming to your restaurant in the first place: the food. And, since people are always wary of anything that looks too slickly produced, encouraged your fans and patrons to post their own photos as well. Authenticity is key.
One way to see this strategy in action is with The Goat’s Beard restaurant. On Facebook, they remind fans, “Snapshots of your food are encouraged and welcomed.” And on Twitter, there are daily shots of food being prepared, complete with brief descriptions of what each dish is. And, of course, their Instagram feed is filled with mouth-watering shots of the gastropub’s classics, including new Philadelphia-area craft brews being added to the menu.
#3: Get in front of trending hashtags
Part of the allure of using social media is its flexibility in responding to current events or rapidly changing situations. These trends can be something as simple as the weather. Everyone knows that snow and rain can have a major negative impact on restaurant revenue for a particular day or night, so why not celebrate these events as a way of enticing some customers to come out anyway?
For example, during the East Coast blizzards of 2017, the hashtag #SnowDay was trending all over social media. So The Goat’s Beard used #SnowDay in its posts on Facebook and Twitter, showing examples of #SnowDay specials.
And, as a way of “owning” a hashtag or emoticon, The Goat’s Beard has even started to use a goat emoticon on its favorite Twitter posts. This is a subtle way of showing social media users which of its tweets are really worth checking out.
With just these tactics alone, you can really pump up the performance of your restaurant’s social media channels. Throw in the occasional video here and there, and you have a great way to showcase the action and excitement of actually being there, and not just reading about the restaurant on social media.