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Social Media Marketing for Restaurants [+28 Best Practices]

Do you want to run successful social media marketing for restaurants, but your profile is stuck in one place? How to increase brand awareness, gain more followers, and engage a larger community?

Today, 3 out of 4 customers use Facebook comments and images to decide where to eat. Furthermore, online reviews influence 99% of restaurant choices made by Gen X and Millennials. Social media rules and can literally draw crowds to your restaurant.

source: giphy.com

There is just one thing – you need to make your profile shine.

Why is social media marketing important for restaurants, bars, and food brands?

The first thing that hungry people do? They pull out their smartphone and start looking for restaurants on the Internet. They type “restaurant near me” in Google, but where do they go next? They hit up the restaurant’s fan page on Facebook.

The second type of client is looking for a fancy place to eat and hang out with friends. So where are they going to look? On Instagram.

As you can see, all roads lead to one place – social media. In 2021, if your business doesn’t have a social media profile then a significant proportion of the population simply won’t notice it. People want to check reviews, menus, and images of food before they decide to go anywhere. It’s a chance for you that you should not miss.

instagram_post_gjustabakery
source: instagram.com/gjustabakery

The reasons why every restaurant should use social media

• Social media allows you to keep in touch with your customers and build a community around your restaurant.

• Social media is one of the fastest ways to keep guests up to date (new menus, changes in opening hours, events, etc.).

• Social media makes your restaurant more visible – brand awareness through social media increases the likelihood that someone will walk into your bar because they have already heard about the place.

• Your social media presence provides insight into customer’s experiences and identifies areas of improvement.

Menu: How to boost a restaurant’s social media profiles?

Let’s start with the appetizer

The first step is to update your profiles. Each social media platform has its own set of rules, which is why we outline best practices for Facebook and Instagram separately.

Best practices for restaurants on Facebook:

1. Fill out the basic information

The first thing you should do is make sure your restaurant’s information section is up-to-date. Is it easy to find contact information for your restaurant? The fewer clicks that customers have to make to find info, the better for your business. 

Give it to them on a platter. Check your contact details, phone number, opening hours, and location (don’t forget to add multiple locations if you have them).

2. Add menus

To add a Menu to your Facebook page, you have to upload a photo or PDF of it. So, as well as giving customers easy access to what you offer, Facebook gives you something more. 

It will automatically generate a QR code that you can download to share online or print and display in your store (and have fewer menus to disinfect as a result).

grcode_qrcodechimp
source: qrcodechimp.com

Once you’ve uploaded a menu, you can add Pickup and Delivery options as well as payment methods. Is it obvious what kind of cuisine you specialize in? Now you can also include information about the type of food you serve in the “About” section.

3. Allow for orders via Messenger 

You can provide your customers with the option of placing orders through Messenger, which makes the process extremely simple. 75% of people would rather text than talk on the phone. So why not give this feature a try? A pop-up chat window when entering your Facebook page might encourage them to place an order.

4. Set up an action button

Configure a CTA – a blue button located on the right of your main fan page. It allows users to contact you through Messenger/email/phone/website, start food orders, or book a table. You can also connect the CTA button with one of the delivery platforms.

facebook_iggtpizza
source: facebook.com/iggypizza

5. Schedule events

Does your restaurant celebrate Coffee Day by giving away a free drink with every order on October 1st? Let people hear about it by creating an event. People will join, click “interested,” and as a result, your restaurant will reach many new customers.

Even though many bars and restaurants organize such events as Quiz Nights, many businesses still forget to schedule these events on Facebook. Take advantage of it!

source: facebook.com

6. Create special offers and coupons

Facebook is also an excellent place to inform people about discounts or special offers. How does it work? 

You can create an Offer in Ads Manager. When a recipient sees it, they can save the offer and use it when they decide to visit your restaurant. For example, let’s say an advertiser creates an offer like “Buy one pizza and get another for free.” Customers can save it for later and use it when they visit the restaurant in person.

7. Schedule in advance

Was the last post added a few weeks ago? That doesn’t encourage anyone to click follow. The preparation of social media marketing for catering companies, restaurants, and businesses in general should begin well in advance. By doing so, you will gain the time to come up with new content ideas and prepare them to the best of your abilities, in addition to preventing irregularities.

What can help you stay regular? By automating publishing, you can easily plan all of your content strategies with social media content calendar and forget about adding posts manually. Kontentino is a blessing here.

source: kontentino.com

With this tool, you will have all your drafts in one place, displayed on a highly interactive calendar. It’s easy to get started and streamline the entire process from creation to publication all adjusted to the specific needs of the particular platform.


Do you own a small business? You might want to know these 5 marketing strategies for small businesses to use on Facebook


Best practices for restaurants on Instagram:

8. Change your Instagram account to a business profile

It may seem pretty obvious, but we want to ensure that you have set up your account as a business profile. Only then will you have access to all of the statistics and features reserved for businesses, such as post promotion.

9. Fill out the Instagram bio

It’s the first thing that people look at when they visit your restaurant’s profile. Make sure that it will encourage visitors to stay a little bit longer on your account. Add essential contact details, opening hours, and location there. You can also include a link to your website or delivery platform.

Here’s how it might look:

instagram_methimatabarla
source:  instagram.com/methimatabar

10. Use Instagram Stories and IGTV

These days, video content is king. It’s the best way to interest viewers. You can use IG Stories to share almost anything – food, daily work, more food, the kitchen, the new local supplier, or to show how you prepare your flagship dish.

Remember to make use of the possibility to save Stories (those that will be important for new visitors as well). Think about something like “About Us” or “Our story,” etc. People can get to know your restaurant better through such a video, and it will provide additional value to the post that a viewer sees on their feed. It is possible to manage all of Instagram’s activities even more effectively. There are many Instagram management and marketing tools that can simplify your work a lot.

source: instagram.com/homestate

IGTV is a perfect space to share some longer videos. During the pandemic, many restaurants used IGTV to hold cooking lessons with a chef to keep in touch with their regular customers. Use it creatively, and you’ll see how positive the results can be.

source: instagram.com/homestate

11. Use relevant hashtags and location tags

Choosing the right hashtags can be one of the most effective ways to increase your reach and drive organic impressions, which is why it’s vital to track their performance. If you want to use more than 5 hashtags, add them in the first comment – the post will look much cleaner and will not trigger viewers.

Also, remember about location tags – people will be able to locate your restaurant by, e.g. searching for attractions within your town.

12. Collaborate with local influencers

The popularity of influencer marketing is continuing to grow, so inviting local opinion leaders is a good way to promote your business. In addition, local influencers can help spread the word about your restaurant within the local community, making them eager to visit your place.

13. Keep the feed coherent

Most Instagram users are highly sensitive to aesthetics. So make your feed appealing and visually attractive. Maintain a similar posting style so that everything together forms a consistent whole. If you put out Instagram posts for events that use graphic design, then make sure they stay coherent by using the same type of illustration style.

lilsistercoffee_instagram_profile
source: instagram.com/lilsistercoffee

Main course

Below you will find general social media rules that you should always follow, no matter which platform you use.

14. Use social media to build an email list

If you have a newsletter or mailing list (if you don’t, you should consider it), you can use social media to drive email sign-ups. Consider offering something unique to encourage people to leave their email addresses.

Use email marketing to reach out to your customers and bring them back to your restaurant. Give them a special birthday discount or a coupon and treat them uniquely – it will pay off.

email_giphy
source: giphy.com

15. Create a wide variety of content

Social media marketing for food brands needs a slightly different approach to marketing. You may feel that posting food all the time might be boring for some users, and it will be unless you diversify the content.

instagram_post_lilsistercoffee
source: instagram.com/lilsistercoffee

How to encourage customers to follow your restaurant? Food is not enough; you also need to show a place, its culture, and people. You have many options to choose from: videos, carousels, or gifs. Images don’t have to be boring either! 

It’s not easy to always think about more formats to include in your online strategy. So if you’re facing such a challenge, you can look at a few Instagram management tactics you could use to ease the challenging Instagram management.

Nevertheless, we’ll provide you with more ideas about what content you can share in the following few points.

16. Involve your employees

People make a place and its vibe. Show customers your daily work – there’s no doubt that they want to get to know your team better. It’s nice to know who makes your favorite pasta or which barista makes the coffee that you like best.

instagram_post_themelt
source: instagram.com/themelt

Let people connect your place with great staff who other people want to be around.

17. Show behind the scenes

What’s behind your restaurant’s locked kitchen door? Let us in on a few secrets; show the chef preparing a dish or how the restaurant looks after closing. Anything the customer doesn’t have access to on a daily basis will be interesting. Brain warm-up!

homestate_instagram
source: instagram.com/homestate

18. Show off what matters

You know how important transparency is in business nowadays. Show your customers that they can trust your restaurant. Bring attention to vendors (especially local ones) or what you do to run a sustainable business. Show that you care.

sweetgreen_facebook
source: facebook.com/sweetgreen

19. Ask questions to the audience

Don’t forget to include posts that will engage your audience. What can you do? Asking questions is the most well-known example of engaging content on social media. 

Interact with your followers and ask them what their favorite food is at your restaurant. In return, you’ll receive feedback about what people enjoy eating the most, along with some comments under the post. Look how Starbucks does it.

starbucks_instagram
source: Instagram.com/starbucks

20. Use user-generated content

Millennials trust UGC 50% more than original content generated by brands. From time to time, review the tags you are featured on. Indeed, you’ll be able to find many high-quality posts that you can use further on your account. Thus, you can post more frequently without putting in as much effort – just don’t forget to tag the author.

instagram_post_gjustabakery
source: instagram.com/gjustabakery

21. Host contests

Contests are another type of content that brands use to engage the audience and reach out to more people. Restaurants do it too. Come up with a creative topic then ask participants to share your post and spread the word about your place. But remember, the reward has to be enticing – how about a free dinner for two?

22. Use advertising

With Facebook Ads, social media marketing for restaurants can become much easier. Owners can target their audience precisely based on their age, location, interests, and behaviors. The choice is yours in terms of whether the ads should run on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, or all of them. You can also set up the ad objective for even greater control.

It’s not so hard; you just have to set a budget and pick the format, then your advertisement will be live. But hang on a second… we forgot that you have to wait for approval first (this may take up to 24 hours).

facebook_business_ads
source: facebook.com/business/ads 

If you have trouble choosing which ads to use, whether boosted posts or promoted via Ads Manager, our article about Boosted posts vs. Promoted posts might help you face the challenge and pick the ones suitable for your particular situation. Also, don’t forget to read the metrics and use Facebook ad analytics to analyze your results.

gif giphy.com
source: giphy.com

23. Keep up with the latest trends

Keeping up with all of the latest trends is the key to running an attractive and effective social media account. Look at companies that constantly reference current events and trends. Do more than just follow the trends – be one to set them. Real-time marketing likes going viral. Try it.

For dessert

Don’t forget to:

24. Respond

Interacting constantly with followers is really important. You should respond to all reviews (including negative ones), comments, and direct messages. Your social media profile should be live.

starbucks_facebook.com
source: facebook.com/starbucks

25. Post at the optimal time

At this stage, you will also need to consider the time at which you will publish your content. It’s not enough to check the hours when social media users are most active, as you should also choose the right time for each content type – you shouldn’t share breakfast photos late at night, for example.

Finding the optimal posting time is a much more complex topic that we covered thoroughly in a separate article.

26. Align your social media strategy with your brand

This point had to be brought up here too, because coherent content is not just about Instagram. The content that you publish on your restaurant’s accounts should be aligned with your brand. It’s very important to create one consistent brand image.

facebook_sweetgreen
source: facebook.com/sweetgreen

27. Perform regular updates 

If you make any changes to the menu or opening hours, make sure that you update them on every social media account. There is nothing more frustrating than outdated information on the Internet or, even worse, different information on various platforms that leaves your guests confused.

28. Track performance

And we got to the last point. How will you know if your social media marketing brings positive results? You need to track social media performance. You have two options to choose from for this.

The first one is to analyze the statistics available on your Facebook and Instagram accounts, but you have to be aware that they may not actually tell you much.

The second option is to choose customized metrics available in Kontentino. They can give you detailed social media insights and data presented on appealing charts and graphs. Choose the best option for you.

kontentino_reports
source: kontentino.com

I’d like a receipt, please

Remember that all of these social media marketing practices must go hand-in-hand with regularity and presence. Social media algorithms don’t like breaks, so try not to take them. Also, do not underestimate social media KPIs and include them in your strategy.

No more holidays or free weekends? No worries! Manual publishing isn’t necessary.

It is just a matter of doing one thing, no more – start using Kontentino today.

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Ola Kozielska

Ola Kozielska

Social media enthusiast, marketing graduate. She put creativity and good research first. While not working, she is looking for new travel destinations to explore.
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