Restaurants and Social Media Marketing: A Perfect Pairing

Restaurants are increasingly seeing the value of social media marketing, especially when it comes to reinforcing customer awareness and loyalty.

A recent survey showed 90 percent of U.S. restaurant executives polled were using social media outreach in their marketing campaigns, compared to only 77 percent in 2012. The most popular channels? Facebook (94 percent of users), Twitter (77 percent) and Yelp (53 percent). Social media strategies were found to be used more often than traditional loyalty programs, rich media, QR codes, daily deals and location-based marketing tools.

Part of the appeal? Such strategies are typically free or low cost compared to other promotional methods, and they can be highly effective. Research last year revealed 86 percent of social media users follow brands on social, while 75 percent of Americans have bought a product because they saw it on social media.

Because each social media channel requires a different marketing strategy, we’ll focus here on a few tips for restaurants wishing to optimize the most-used industry channel: Facebook.

  • Be sure your profile allows easy access to basic information like your restaurant and cuisine description, location, hours, contact information and messaging options. Minimize clicks required to find that info upon leaving your main page.
  • Consider which options to include. For example, a “Book Now” button allows for online reservations, and a clickable menu allows customers to review your fare.
  • Decide whether to accept reviews. Willingness to accept criticism along with positive reviews marks you as a credible business, and good reviews can be hugely influential, but you must decide ahead whether and how to respond to reviews.
  • When overseeing multiple restaurant branches, log each address so the closest location automatically pops up for the user. Delineating locations allows different branches to post different specials and news, and Facebook’s Unified Inbox can help manage multiple sub-pages.
  • When strategizing what to post, avoid a constant barrage of promotional information and instead mix in photos, videos, graphics, how-tos, surveys, news items, user-generated content, etc. Research reveals 58 percent of social media users consider over-promoting the most annoying social media mistake, followed by too much slang/jargon and a lack of personality.
  • Establish a brand voice for your content that aligns well with your restaurant’s personality. “Brand voice is your compilation of words, terms, attitudes and expressions that flow across all channels with the purpose to inspire and engage a connection with your brand,” explains Alex York on “Some brands are known for their relaxed or goofy identity, while others want to portray a complete professionalism.”
  • Research the best times to post based on your core audience.
  • Optimize Facebook’s location-based advertising, which allows targeting of local audiences.
  • Track your performance. Facebook provides myriad metrics as well as resources to guide future strategy.

Once you have your social media marketing strategy down, you'll want to make sure your business is well stocked with the essentials. TriMark supplies today’s restaurateurs with all the kitchen supplies and equipment they need to succeed.

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