Today’s savvy restaurant owners and operators recognize the importance of having a social media presence. The conversation is no longer about IF you should invest resources into social media marketing; it’s about HOW to maximize the opportunity. Did you know that people check their mobile devices upwards of 150 times per day? Considering that smartphones account for 70% of all time Canadians spend on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other popular social networks facilitate unprecedented potential to connect with patrons and prospective visitors. Below we explore three simple strategies to amp up your restaurant’s social media marketing that you can start implementing today!
Learn Where Your Target Audience Spends Time Online
About to take the plunge? Before your restaurant or foodservice dives into the world of social media, it is critical – as with any marketing investment – to research which channels make sense for your business. After doing a little digging, you will quickly find that each social media network’s user base will be more popular among certain demographics than others. For instance, Instagram is the most popular network among Canada’s youngest. 29% of Canadians who use Twitter are parents. 75% of Canadians who use Facebook earn approximately $80,000 to $100,000 annually.* Insights such as these come in handy when deciding where to exert your social media efforts. Often, particularly for smaller businesses, there simply aren’t enough resources to set up, manage and accelerate five social media channels simultaneously. Choose one or two wisely to start and master it.
Leverage Content Created by Visitors
So you’ve set up your social media profiles, but are struggling to create or diversify your content. What if the burden of creating effective marketing pieces could be lessened? Social media makes this possible. Whenever a visitor posts a selfie on your patio or shares a picture of their favourite dish from your restaurant, it is effectively an endorsement that you can re-share on your profiles at no cost. Facebook has a “share” button built in and Twitter features a retweet button, making sharing incredibly easy. There are a number of apps that enable you to re-share Instagram posts, too, including InstaRepost and RepostApp. You can also take a screen capture and manually upload the image to Instagram, but if you do this, always be sure to credit the original source in the caption by tagging them.
User-generated content is successful because it adds dimension to your presence. It’s not straightforward self-promotion, it’s regular, everyday people sharing their real experiences. A user posting an attractive image from your location with a positive caption is tantamount to a positive review. This is critically important because “88% of people trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations.”**
Up the Engagement
If you currently enjoy moderate success on social media but want to take it to the next level, contests and giveaways are a great idea. They’re a fun way to boost user engagement, communicate customer appreciation, and drive sales back to your location. Best of all, they don’t have to be complicated or time consuming to roll out. Some ideas to consider:
- Facebook: Upload an image of a new menu offering and ask followers to name it. Pick the winner based on whichever suggestion receives the most likes from other users or simply choose the name you like best. Gift the winner with a one year “subscription” to enjoy the dish, at no cost, once per month.
Chances are he or she will visit with a friend or group when redeeming the prize, making this small investment worthwhile.
- Instagram: Post a stunning image of a shareable dish from your menu and ask users to tag a friend in the comments they’d like to share it with. Select the winning pair at random! Users tagging one another on posts is one of the swiftest and most effective ways to boost your post’s visibility.
Be sure to use a filter or edit your photo to perfection! Images with filters can increase views by 21% and comments and engagement by 45%.
- Twitter: It can be as simple as tweeting, “Retweet this image & get a free dessert!” Twitter is a high volume site. Some estimates report that the average lifespan of a tweet is only 30 seconds! Assemble a team to help increase your visibility and spread your message by incentivizing shares among your followers.
The social media marketing landscape is constantly in flux and there are many strategies that can help your restaurant cut through the noise of competitors. The three tips we have shared here are designed to pump up your success – regardless of whether you’re about to launch, a new business or well established and looking to try something new. We’d love to hear about what your restaurant or foodservice location is doing to stand out on social media! Tell us in the comments below or reach out to us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
*Canadian social media demographic statistics: http://canadiansinternet.com/2015-canadian-social-media-usage-statistics/