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Restaurant Resource Center

Navigating the World of Online Restaurant Reviews

Social Media for Your Restaurant

Who doesn’t enjoy a gourmet meal at the end of a long workweek? After toiling away at work, raising children, and taking care of day-to-day living, the thought of being served a delicious entrée is quite appealing for most. As a restaurant owner, catering to the needs of hungry, appreciative patrons may be one of the main reasons you decided to get into the food service industry yourself.

The atmosphere of a fine dining establishment is often as important as the food it creates. With an increasing number of restaurants opening every year across the country, rising competition is putting a strain even on time-honored locales.

In keeping with the times, door-to-door and word-of-mouth advertising have taken on a more digital twist. As strong as the nostalgia for the past can be at times, it is time to face the music and get your brand in line with 21st century demands—namely, promoting your business via social media! Social media for restaurants is critically important to success. Here are a few helpful tips for attracting attention—and diners—to your restaurant using social media.

Leverage Social Media for Website Traffic

It’s important to set up social media profiles for your restaurant, but it’s not enough just to have them. It’s crucial to use them wisely to engage with potential customers. Announce special “social media only” promotions on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. The benefits are twofold: customers will follow you on social media to gain access to the promotions, and then they’ll visit your store to take advantage of them.

Social media can help drive traffic to a physical location, as well. Take advantage of location-based social media tools like Foursquare to offer specials or contests to local customers, or host a photo contest on Instagram where customers enter to win their favorite item in your shop by posting and tagging a photo of it. Social media is an affordable and versatile way to promote a restaurant, so be creative!

Make Your Restaurant Visible: Online Exposure via Social Media

  • Add plenty of pictures. A great way to connect with customers and personalize your business is by adding unique photos to your restaurant Facebook page. The Cover Image, the one that forms the backdrop that customers see, can change on a regular basis to include menu updates and seasonal specials. Remember, the more dynamic and less static, the more attention your restaurant will garner.
  • Keep customers in tune with what’s going on. If you have a new drink or food item you want to announce, your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds are the perfect way to get the message heard. Be prepared to respond to a flood of comments and tweets, especially once you start generating a massive, online following!
  • Do not skimp on promotions. Let’s face it, everyone loves freebies! The best way to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition is by offering something no one else has. Are you willing to trade a few, free meals for raving reviews and digital discussions about your brand? We thought so! Offer rewards, promotions, and discounts to customers who subscribe or follow your company’s social media sites.
  • Focus on geo-targeted advertising. Facebook is hands down the best place to reach local customers or those within a specific geographical area. Since restaurants are one of the original brick-and-mortar style establishments, you need only focus on people in the nearby vicinity (though national recognition is indeed a plus)!
  • Make effective use of video. Video marketing is the way of the future in many respects. While yours may not go viral, these ads have a much higher success rate than other forms of marketing. They can be everything from quick how-tos to pre-recorded customer reviews—anything that helps your business stand out!

Social media marketing for your restaurant is not guaranteed to rake in new customers, but it is certainly a crucial part of the modern age advertising puzzle. Have fun and enjoy the free exposure!

Krista Wolfe is a marketing project manager for where she writes to help small businesses, teachers and healthcare professionals make more-informed decisions on office essentials. She also writes on our new community blog, Café Quill about a wide range of business matters such as leadership, productivity and work-life balancing. Krista lives in Chicago and you can find her on Google+ or LinkedIN.