Social media offers businesses an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their customers on a personal level. Unlike traditional marketing techniques, social media marketing allows for interactions on a one to one level with consumers. The best kind of social media marketing strategy develops a distinctive brand personality and voice, reaches out to new customers and turns existing customers into brand advocates. Advocates create user generated content promoting your business, and publicly defend your brand. There are an abundance of social media networks that you can utilise to promote your restaurant, all with different features and benefits. Here are some ways that you can effectively use social media to create brand advocates and directly generate successful leads with new customers.
You would be hard pressed to find a customer who wasn’t on Facebook. The biggest of the social networking sites, Facebook now has over 1 billion active monthly users – most of whom use the site at least once a day. Facebook is essential for any businesses social media strategy.
Cover photo – The first thing that consumers see when they click on your Facebook page is your cover photo . You need to take full advantage of both of these things – this is an opportunity to market your restaurant for free and good first impressions count.
Posting – The lifespan of a Facebook post is limited, engagement with any one post tends to drop off completely after five hours, so you should be aiming to post at least 2-3 times a day. The most shared pictures on Facebook are images – make the most of this and include lots of enticing pictures of your food in your Facebook posts. The Spinningfields branch of The Alchemist manages to do this brilliantly, updating their posts with pictures of special offers and staff favourites.
Geotargeting – If you want to take your Facebook presence beyond just status updates and pictures you can look into using Facebook ads. Facebook ads allow you to target a very specific and niche criteria. Restaurants should make the most out of this by targeting ads to be seen by people in their local area. This can be taken further by targeting ads to users who have liked certain pages and with certain interests.
Twitter has become a hugely successful marketing tool for companies in almost every sector. Updates are limited to 140 characters per update and have an even shorter lifespan than Facebook posts.
Posting – You should be aiming to post between 10 – 12 times a day on twitter to keep engagement high. Post length has a noted impact on engagement rates, the ‘sweet spot’ is somewhere between 70 – 100 characters , allowing other users to retweet your content and add their own commentary.
Hashtags – Using hashtags on twitter improves engagement rates by 16%, you should try to incorporate this in your posts. Try to find a balance and don’t overdo it, leave the over enthusiastic hashtagging for instagram newbs.
Pictures – Incorporate pictures wherever you can. Like with Facebook, posts with pictures see a significant increase in engagement, rising by up to 35%. Rosso Manchester strike the perfect balance with their posts – coupling hashtags with gorgeous pictures of their food to drive engagement.
Timing your tweets – Its impossible to be at the computer 24/7 , but the most successful twitter pages are posting outside of the typical 9 – 5 office hours. Use software like Hootsuite to schedule regular tweets through the day to keep up a constant social media presence. Simple analytics software like SocialBro can offer you useful insights, allowing you to time your tweets for when more of your followers are online.
Instagram integrates seamlessly with Facebook and it is tempting to completely synchronise the two platforms, to make the most of this social networking site though you want to include exclusive content which isn’t available on your other pages.
Hashtags – Like twitter, Instagram allows you to follow conversations and search for content using hashtags. Include relevant trending hashtags to get your restaurant more exposure.
Posts – Make the most of Instagram by taking gorgeous pictures of your food. Don’t just stop here though, take a leaf out of EastZEast’s book and get pictures of staff and customers enjoying their nights. People love to see pictures of themselves and knowing that they could appear on one of your pages will encourage them to keep checking back for regular updates.
Competitions and exclusive offers
One of the best ways to reach out to new customers is to run competitions and special offers that are exclusive to your online followers. You can run these competitions across all of your social media accounts simultaneously, or you can make them exclusive to certain networks to try and grow your following. To encourage a lot of user generated content you could run photo competitions on Instagram, this would encourage customers to engage with your food, your restaurant and your staff. Running offers for customers who regularly check in to your restaurant on Facebook is also a good way to encourage customer loyalty.
Hopefully these ideas have given you some good ideas on how to utilise different social networks to promote your restaurant, these are only some of the things you can do online to get your name out there. Once you have got to grips with these methods you could look at branching out into foursquare, google +, vine and more.