If you've ever been starving and indecisive on where to eat on a Friday night, I can guarantee that you've googled your way through many local hot spot suggestions...
But when you approach a restaurant suggestion on the web, what is it that stands out to you?
Is it the menu? The pictures? The location? Sure, all of these take part in influencing the consumers mind but it's the manner in which these are presented that make all the difference. This brings us to the current topic...
Marketing your restaurant on social media
How you present your pictures on your social media platforms make a HUGE difference in the crowd you attract.
Here are a few basic questions you should ask yourself when creating your account and posting/uploading pictures to social media:
Do your customers know the kind of food you have by how you represent it in pictures?
Are your pictures clear, consistent and of good quality? Do they stand out?
Do your pictures tell a story and create an atmosphere?
Use good lighting, and make sure the pictures are of good quality, clear and make sure they stand out! Pictures are worth a thousand words, so invest in a decent camera or photo app.
Be consistent with posting... that means at least ONCE a day for Facebook, twice a day for Instagram.
Switch up what you post about! Show pictures of the food, the atmosphere/customers, the staff, the menu, specials, and community topics. Be relevant.
Using hashtags can highly increase your organic reach, help you gain more followers, and offer multiple ways of being found.
Use relevant hashtags. Tag your city, your establishment, food, the kinds of food you offer, and words associated with your business.
Use trending hashtags. This is most important for Instagram and twitter- as trending hashtags can increase your platforms visibility.
Don't over do it. #no #need #to #hashtag #every #word. Get it? Don't be spammy!
THE CONTESTS & SPECIAL OFFERS.
Hosting contests and offering specials can drive a lot of traffic to your page, help you gain new followers but more importantly new customers! Here's a few ideas on how to use them!
Promoting Facebook coupons to your business page. Make sure the offers are very clear such as "$15 off your purchase of $40" or "Free appetizer with two adult entrees". Bring in new customers, and utilize the day they are promoted. If Thursday's are the slowest days of the week, try promoting coupons for that day only.
Posting about specials can be done on all social media platforms, but if your establishment has a Taco Night, Wing Night, or anything of the like, creating an EVENT on Facebook can be a beneficial way to market the special offer and get an idea of how many people you might be able to expect. This goes well for businesses that offer poker nights, social/community gatherings, or pool/dart leagues at their establishments. (look out for a blog post on creating/running Facebook events in the near future!)
Bring in new customers by making your contests simple. Ask them to like the picture, tag a friend (or multiple!) and FOLLOW the page, to be entered. Make the PRODUCT the PRIZE. Meal for Two, Free Appetizer, Wine Flights for Two, Gift Card, etc. Everyone loves free food, especially when its great food, and if you deliver on the experience for the winner, they're likely to come back and bring friends!!
This is an important one. We have the ability to get rating on restaurants, food trucks, and dive bars in the blink of an eye. Facebook, Yelp, Google, Foursquare and even your own website all have areas for reviews to be posted and how you respond to reviews and how quickly you respond to reviews can make the difference between losing and keeping a customer. I'll keep this nice and short, be professional, respond quickly, offer an apology or solution and make it right. A person who is angry will spread the word about your business quicker than a person who is upset. This seems to be an obvious to most, but too many companies fall short and have horrible reviews on the internet because they never addressed the issue.
Check out my review of two Instagram accounts below!
I'm bragging on two very consistent Instagram accounts in this post, mainly because they are the perfect example of how to represent a business. One of my favorite local spots, The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, FL and Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes in my home state of Ohio!
If you do your research (search the usernames!) you can see that these profiles have a more than a few things in common.
Both accounts have a ton of followers... those are acquired with a combination of everything mentioned earlier in this blog.
Their username is clear, and tells you exactly what the business is. This should always be your business name because people are going to search you by that!
The bio is informative. Both accounts have details on hours, their locations posted, website posted and The Ravenous Pig took it one step further by posting the phone number! That makes contacting quick and easy for customers.
See the pictures? They both have a continuous concept. They both give customers a certain "feel" for the food and atmosphere. The pictures are of good quality, simple, and they stand out! They are carefully selecting the sequence in which they post their pictures, and both accounts are consistent with posting.
Kelsey's pictures are vibrant, appealing, and clearly show what kind of deserts the company offers.
The Ravenous Pig shows a wide variety of menu items, and occasionally posts the menu as well. I really love the way the establishment switches up the post too, creating a flow and adding a bit of diversity.
The #Hashtags. Both companies use specific and relevant hashtags in their posts. The Ravenous Pig even made their own hashtag! That is an excellent idea, as customers will frequently hashtag the restaurant they are eating at, and this will provide the business owner with many pictures to search back on and repost if needed!
I hope this post was as informative as intended! Look out for more blog post to come on Social Media Marketing and building small business!