As a restaurant owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Building up your brand on social media may not seem like a high priority when you’ve got inventory to order, reservations to take and dishes to prepare.
But social media has proven to be a game changer in the restaurant biz. With so many Canadians regularly checking in on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, small businesses have more opportunity than ever to interact with customers on a regular basis. Especially since 40 percent of Facebook users spend their online time looking at news feeds, the more engaged people are with your posts, the greater your reach.
Here are 10 social media engagement tips that can help busy restaurateurs like you implement an effective social media strategy:
1. Be present and post regularly
Be active on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also try personal blogs, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Stay relevant by posting regularly. For Facebook, it’s suggested to post once or twice daily (and no more if you have less than 10,000 followers). For Twitter, 3 tweets per day. And for Instagram, 1.5 times per day. If you don’t have enough of your own content, you can always post interesting curated content (links and articles from other sources, like news sites) or user generated content (where fans create something and share it on your page).
2. Be authentic
When you’re not genuinely inspired by what you’re posting, people can tell that you’re not being authentic. Try to focus on your audiences’ need. A general rule is to post more valuable and informative content, and only a third of your posts should be promotional. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask, “if I were the customer, would I find this post interesting?”
3. Post something visually appealing
Images bring life to your product or service and can help promote social sharing. Show off beautiful food photos on Facebook and Instagram. Or why not even a short video clip? With Instagram filters, you can easily create stunning images without spending a ton of money.
4. Make it personal
Engage with your audience on a personal level. Share their stories, ask for feedback, and have conversations with them. Why not have an employee appreciation month? Show that you’re an establishment that values the people that work for you and is a cool working environment with great customer service.
5. Respond to questions
Don’t ignore your customers. Take the time to address their questions. Your answers could also help inform other people. If it’s a personal question, be courteous and send them a message privately.
6. Create social media campaigns
Incentives are an excellent, low cost way to get your customers to engage with your social media posts. How about running an Instagram photo contest? Or give discounts to customers or a free dessert to visitors who share your location on social media.
7. Give away group deals
Encourage people to go to your restaurant by giving away group deals and discounts. You can also partner up with middleman services such as Groupon and WagJag to help promote your special offers and drive more foot traffic to your restaurant.
8. Use hashtags on twitter and Instagram
Hashtags (#) – used on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – help people find posts or tweets that share a common topic and can help increase your social reach and engage with customers. They are great to use for promoting your campaign or content, to build a unique brand, such as #MondayMacaronis
9. Target nearby customers
10. Appreciate your followers
And lastly, let your social media followers know that you appreciate them. Thank them for their support and celebrate your milestones. For instance, make an announcement when you’ve reached 500 fans.