There is no question that social media has profoundly impacted how businesses communicate with customers.
Restaurants and cafes are no exception, and social media can be an incredibly effective tool for marketing these businesses.
However, it’s not always easy to know how to use social media effectively to market a restaurant or cafe.
This article will discuss tips for using social media to market a restaurant or cafe.
Connecting With your Customers on Social media
Running a successful restaurant or café is all about connecting with people. And guess what about 4 billion people in the world are doing today? Yes, you guessed it, scrolling on their phones through social media accounts.
Social media is a tool connecting people with others and, more importantly, with products and businesses, like your restaurant or café. That is why starting a social media account for your business is the perfect way of connecting with customers.
Yet, many owners shy away from starting social media accounts for their business because they don’t understand the power that social media has to build relationships with customers and ensure that your restaurant or café is always full.
- So, how do you start promoting your restaurant or café?
- Which platform is best to introduce your café to the public?
- How should you manage the time it takes to create and post content on social media?
- And what on earth should you post to make people like your restaurant or café?
This post is created specifically to help you find answers to those questions.
Before You Start Social Media For Restaurants
Before you launch head-first into your social media for restaurants account, you must ensure you are clear about two concepts or things.
1. Who is your ideal customer
2. What is the main goal or purpose of the social media account you are starting?
In other words, you need to define who you are talking to and why you are talking to them. The rest will be easy.
So, who is your ideal customer? Describe the characteristics of a person you like to serve in your restaurant.
Get specific; try to imagine how old they are (in their 20s, 30s, or over 50), what job they do (students, professionals, retired, or a work-from-home crowd), and when are they likely to visit your restaurant or café (quick breakfast, lunch, early-supper)?
If you are mainly serving quick, healthy lunches, then there is no point in attracting business people looking for a place to charm their clients with a cordon bleu or late dinner.
On the other hand, if you are using fresh, expensive ingredients in your dishes, then there is no point in attracting a crowd of students looking for a cheap bite.
You get the point.
Your social media presence needs to resonate with the type of people you need to fill all the seats in your restaurant or café. That is why you need to identify your ideal client and tailor the content you post to appeal to that particular market segment.
Once you know who you are talking to, the next thing is to define the reason for the existence of your social media for restaurants account.
Social media can be used for many things, e.g., to build awareness (brand) about your restaurant.
It can help you establish credibility and authenticity with your ideal clients. Everyone likes to support people or businesses they know, so if you appear in front of them on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, they will feel like they know you and can trust you.
Such familiarity increases the likelihood of a visit, and you will get more customers. Social media can also entertain, keep existing clients loyal, and even recruit staff when needed.
Make sure you define the purpose of your social media presence, as your why will influence the type of content you post.
Choosing the Perfect Social Media Platform
There are many platforms available for people to communicate with each other. And obviously, you won’t be able to create enough content to be present in all of them.
That is why sticking to the ‘big boys,’ established platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok will be the best way to start.
Most people have these apps already downloaded onto their phones, and millions of people access them daily, spending multiple hours on each.
Why Use Facebook
Facebook is probably the best social media for restaurants and one that is the easiest to start your online presence. It is the most active platform, with 2.9 billion monthly active users worldwide.
They even have special restaurant pages where you can upload your menu and details about your restaurant or café to connect nationally or locally with the largest food community.
Joining the Facebook restaurant pages will help you build your brand, drive online orders, and provide inspiration for your post creation.
The valuable thing about Facebook is its geographic targeting, where they will show your posts or ads to people who live within walking distance of your restaurant, rustling up new customers who live just around the corner and can visit often.
They offer a wide range of solutions to reach the potential diners that can visit your restaurant or café. You can use visuals like photos and text for your posts or post engaging videos.
65% of people surveyed in the U.S. say they watch publisher videos daily (source). You can also include a call-to-action button with your posts to create engagement by making that digital connection with your restaurant.
Once they connect with you digitally, you can guide them further to place an online order, order for delivery or come into your restaurant.
To drive the action of purchase and convert prospects into customers, Facebook provides specific buttons where the customer can start the order, call your store, or even order from the Story post.
By letting your customers know about tasty menu items, promotions, and prices and making it easy for them to take the next step to purchase, you are creating customers that will bring profit to your restaurant or café.
- Facebook has a large user base
- Facebook allows you to target your ads geographically
- You can use visuals and videos to engage potential customers
- You can include a call-to-action button to encourage further engagement
- Facebook can be expensive if you want to use their paid advertising options
- You need to be consistent with your posting to maintain a presence on the platform
- There is potential for negative reviews and comments from customers
How to Market a Restaurant on Instagram
Instagram is the next social media for restaurants platform you can try to master. Facebook owns it, so it is easy to make your posts seen by both audiences.
The global advertising reach has at least 1.440 billion users globally. It means that nearly a quarter of the world’s population aged 13 and above use Instagram today. The largest portion of users is between 18 and 34 years old (source).
It is a visual platform with posts mainly containing images or videos with little space for writing your message. Even though it is easier to reach your audience organically, engagement with posts is dipping throughout the platform.
But that is not the reason for giving up on this platform. According to research, about 70% of diners like to take food photos and post them on Instagram.
So being present on the platform lets you connect with this significant market segment and helps these customers to choose your restaurant or café rather than the opposition.
- Instagram is a visual platform, which makes it a great way to showcase your restaurant’s food and interior
- Instagram is easy to use and has many features that make it a great marketing tool, such as hashtags and geotagging
- The engagement with posts on Instagram has been dropping in recent years
- It can be challenging to stand out among all the other content on Instagram
How to Use Twitter for Connecting & Marketing
Twitter is the third-most well-known platform where you can try to reach potential customers for your restaurant. The last reported quarter counted 237.8 million users worldwide. Using this platform, you can show your guests that you are an interactive, caring, and approachable establishment.
Twitter is a less visual platform, and your engagement with current and potential customers will take place primarily through short text messages. Even though there are fewer pictures and videos, it remains a highly interactive platform.
To get the best of Twitter for your restaurant, follow, respond to, and retweet comments made by your customers and other businesses. Try to find people who often comment about the food and make connections.
Even a simple like or share of their post can be sufficient to get their attention and may be the way to expand your list of followers.
One great way of using social media for restaurants, where Twitter fits in nicely, is to provide customer service.
You can show your customers you care about them by acknowledging their positive comments about their experience at your restaurant.
You should also offer more than just “thanks” and try to engage with them meaningfully. You can turn one remark into a conversation by asking them what their favorite items are and encouraging them to return.
You could even offer food discounts to regular patrons who share with their followers how great your restaurant is.
- Twitter is a less visual platform, so it may be less time-consuming to manage than other social media platforms
- Twitter is a highly interactive platform, so you can easily engage with potential customers
- You can use Twitter to provide excellent customer service
- You may not reach as many potential customers on Twitter as on other social media platforms
- Twitter is a less visual platform, so you will not be able to showcase your food as effectively as you could on a platform like Instagram
LinkedIn for Restaurant Owners
LinkedIn has been regarded as a network for professional connections for a long time. The feel of the platform has changed since Microsoft bought it. Now, 171 million people in the U.S. use the platform daily (source).
High-value business people use LinkedIn, so this may be your platform of choice if you need to reach more affluent diners. Linked In can also be used to connect with other restaurants or cafés.
Using LinkedIn as a social media for restaurants helps establish you as a trusted professional who provides great value to their customers.
You can use LinkedIn by linking your Twitter and Facebook feeds to your LinkedIn account to keep your contacts updated about what is happening in your restaurant or café.
You can answer questions in the Q&A section on Linked In to establish yourself as an expert in the field.
You can also promote your offers and unique menu items to differentiate yourself from the competition. Of course, one of LinkedIn’s most valuable features is finding competent staff through its recruitment section.
- It can help establish you as a trusted professional who provides value to your customers
- Answers questions in the Q&A section on LinkedIn can help establish yourself as an expert in the field
- The recruitment section can help find competent staff
- It May be less effective in reaching potential customers than other social media platforms
- It could require more time and effort to maintain a presence on LinkedIn than on other social media platforms
How to Use TikTok for Restaurants
TikTok is a newish platform that has the potential to influence diners’ behavior. The market segment is worth exploring, with 65 million monthly active users in the U.S (source).
TikTok is popular with younger people, so if your ideal customers are students, then this is the platform where you need to be present.
The platform uses mostly short videos as posts. Don’t panic if you have never put together a video before. A video editor is embedded in the platform, which you can use for editing to ensure your videos convey your message perfectly.
For TikTok users, the food needs to look delicious and unique because research shows that 55% of users are likely to visit a restaurant because of the unique menu items they saw in their feeds (source).
The TikTok platform also makes it easy for you to be discovered by food influencers and food bloggers.
Hashtags and the “For You Page” is easier and more effective on TikTok than on other platforms. That means your content has a greater chance of showcasing beyond your current audience without any additional effort. There is also a greater chance of your content going “viral.”
Use hashtags to search the platform to see if any of your customers have filmed a TikTok about your restaurant and if they have, share it with your audience.
User-generated content is always better and more authentic than the content you curate yourself.
Also, watching videos created by others about your restaurant gives you ideas and inspiration as to what type of content and food your customers would like to see you serve.
- The potential to reach a large number of people, especially younger people
- The ability to use hashtags and the “For You Page” to increase the visibility of your content
- The possibility of your content going “viral”
- Getting discovered by food influencers and food bloggers
- The need to create engaging and visually appealing content
- The need to be active on the platform regularly to maintain a presence
Yelp Guest Manager | Streamline Your Front-of-House Operations
So there you have the five most powerful social media platforms you can use to design your personal social media strategy.
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your restaurant or cafe. Social media can connect with customers, answer their questions, and promote your offers and menu items. Additionally, social media can be used to find competent staff and explore the potential of new platforms like TikTok.
Whether you choose to use only one platform or combine them, make sure you are clear about your goals and what you want to achieve before you start posting.
As the next step I suggest you check out my other social media resources for restaurants:
- How to Create a Restaurant Instagram Bio That Stands Out
- Restaurant Instagram Caption Tips to Get More Followers
- Best Restaurant & Cafe Hashtags to Grow Your Instagram Following
Social Media for Restaurants FAQ:
Q: How can I use social media to attract more customers to my restaurant or cafe?
A: Social media can be used to attract potential diners by promoting your restaurant or cafe through posts, videos, and images. You can also use social media to connect with other restaurants or cafes.
Q: How can social media help my restaurant or cafe increase revenue?
A: Social media can increase revenue by promoting special menu items, offers, and discounts. You can also use social media to connect with potential customers and build relationships with existing customers. Additionally, use social media to answer questions from potential customers and provide customer service.
Q: What are some tips for using social media effectively to market my restaurant or cafe?
A: Market your restaurant or cafe by creating quality content, using hashtags, connecting with other businesses and influencers, and providing value to your audience. Additionally, focusing on one or two platforms most relevant to your business and updating your social media presence regularly is essential.