Organic Social Media for Restaurants: Your 101 Guide


September 10, 2020
Sarah Warren

Q: What’s the value of having a social media presence for my restaurant?

A: Quite simply, because YOUR customers and potential customers use it. And they use it daily.

Still not sure? If you want more evidence as to why you need to nail your social media accounts, here are some added insights for you:

  • 75% of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media
  • With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram offers the opportunity to promote your restaurant’s services, showing exactly what you can offer potential customers in an extremely visual way
  • With more than 371 million posts tagged #food and 41 million with #drinks, food and beverage photos are easily some of the most popular types of content on Instagram

Starting to come around to the idea?

As important as it is to have an Instagram and Facebook account, it’s more important to understand how to utilise their functions to maximise the productivity of your business. With this in mind, let’s delve into both key channels, demonstrating how they can be used effectively for the restaurant sector.

Instagram

It’s common for individuals to look up your Instagram profile before they even visit your restaurant, so having a presence is vital for building brand awareness and communicating with potential customers. It’s an excellent way to show people the delicious meals they will get when dining with you.

But how can you make your Instagram strategy work for you?

Instagram organic engagement

Content

Within your Instagram feed, you should highlight a number of themes – or content pillars – to focus on in order to provide an all-round picture of your business.

  • Product focused

Instagram gives you the chance to showcase the beautiful food and dishes on offer to customers. We all know that we eat with our eyes, so give people something to see and get excited about. You can also use the platform to keep customers up to date with new dishes, menus and daily specials.

Pancakes restaurant photography for social media
  •  Service focused

Instagram offers restaurants the chance to keep their customers up to date with any changes to the workings of the restaurant. In light of COVID, this is the perfect way to communicate and showcase how you are running your business to ensure customers feel comfortable coming to your venue and know what to expect. It also provides the opportunity to highlight any offers you have running.

  • People focused

Your staff are what makes your business tick and people often want to know about the guys behind the service. Putting your teams’ faces front and centre of the feed can be really engaging for customers, helping them to connect with the people that make your restaurant so special.

  • COVID focused

Whilst a lot of the world has had enough of hearing about COVID, it is sadly still out there and must therefore be addressed in terms of how your business is responding to it. Use your social media channels to demonstrate exactly what you are doing to protect your customers and be COVID-safe. Areas to touch on include:

  • Hands sanitiser on arrival
  • Sanitiser placed on tables
  • If you have screens up between tables, show this
  • If you’ve spaced out the place, show this visually
  • Temp checks on employees and customers
  • Visor or masks worn by staff
  • Gloves worn by staff
  • Markers to show the table has been wiped down
  • One way systems
  • Contact track and trace

Instagram stories

Instagram stories enable you to connect with customers in real-time, building rapport through asking questions, sharing news and giving insight into the business.

Story posts should include a variety of imagery/video content to keep customers engaged and wanting more. Content should be creative and encourage active involvement, for example:

  • Step-by-step ‘how to’ guides for cooking a certain dish
  • Updates on new dish creations and menus
  • Questions, polls, emoji stickers to understand what customers want to see and what they like. “Do you prefer a starter and main or a main and dessert?”
  • Behind the scenes tour of the restaurant
  • Quotes and testimonials from happy customers
Photographing a meal at a restaurant for Instagram

Instagram live

Utilising the live function helps to connect with followers in real-time. Especially at this moment when contact is more difficult, it can be the perfect way to keep customers feeling part of the business and encourage active involvement.

Live workshop

You could look to run a workshop on Instagram live, teaching people how to cook a certain dish on your menu. This can be a very short ‘how-to’ course as it will be free. If they enjoy it, the call to action could be to sign up for a more in-depth paid course that you could run in-house.

Collaborations and gifting

Team up with other local businesses to run a giveaway, or gift influential individuals/brands/businesses, to help increase engagement. Utilise their audiences to share your message and services.

Giveaway activity 

Join forces with a local wine business and run a giveaway on social for 3 individuals to win a 3-course meal with wine pairing. Ask them to like, comment (tag a friend) and share the post, ensuring they are following both pages in order to win.

Influencer gifting

Gift local influencers and businesses a free meal and encourage them to reshare their experience on their social channels. This will help to connect with their audiences and utilise their followings to grow page engagement and awareness. Create a dedicated hashtag and build a bank of searchable content around your business by actively encouraging visitors to share content alongside it.

Influencer photographing food for restaurant promotion

Facebook

On average, 1.4 billion people log in to Facebook daily, offering a massive audience for your brand to engage with. As the largest social platform available, the wealth of opportunities is unrivaled.

Facebook is THE place to go for information about your restaurant – opening times, offers, reviews – and thus, having a presence is extremely important for communicating effectively with your customers.

But how can you make your Facebook strategy work for you?

Content

Much like your Instagram account, your Facebook page is an opportunity to communicate directly with customers and showcase your offering.

You can use the platform to:

Run contests

Competitions are one of the best ways to engage customers. Ask them to post funny pictures of themselves eating your food or brainstorm funny captions to your latest picture. Throw in a good incentive, like winning a meal for two for the best response.

Post pictures and stories

Show your customers what meals you have to offer. People love to see what their food might look like, so appeal to their visual side and get their mouth watering.

Announce your promotions/new menus

Keep customers updated on the new dishes to hit the menu. Tease them with behind the scenes tasting contests and get them involved in what goes on in the day-to-day workings of the business.

Photographing drinks at a restaurant for Instagram

Announce daily specials

Share updates on different meals you’re serving that day. You might capture their attention with your famous limited edition tiramisu and bag another booking for the night.

Share behind the scenes footage on the story

Just like Instagram, use the story functionality to show a more personal side to the business. What happens in the kitchen, what measures have you got in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers? By being more transparent, you create a feeling of trust and loyalty with your audience.

The benefits of having a strong social media presence for your restaurant is unrivaled. With so many people using the platforms on a daily basis – and actively seeking out information – it’s the perfect way to connect with both new and returning customers.

Our team of food lovers are primed and ready to help you develop your social presence, with experience in writing social strategies for restaurants, developing campaign calendars and project managing content shoots. Get in touch for more information.