Social media has become an integral part of any marketing strategy.  As a restaurant, where should you focus your online marketing efforts?  According to a recent article in Forbes, the hot social media platforms for 2014 go beyond Facebook and Twitter to include Google+, Instagram and the reemergence of MySpace.  The Forbes piece also makes this important point: Investment in social media is a Necessity, not a luxury.

So many platforms, so little time! Jumping into the social media game can be daunting to small business owners. Where do you start? Let’s take a look at the 2012 Pew Internet Report

Pew Social Media Report 2012

 

According to last year’s findings, Facebook is still the most active social media platform.  You probably have a personal Facebook page (and so does your 70 year old aunt Agnes!), but have you set up a Facebook fan page for your restaurant? If not, it’s time to start! (Here’s a simple primer for Facebook business pages newbies)  And if you’ve set up your fan page but haven’t looked at in 6 months, it’s time to give it some love. 

Social media is no longer the wave of the future — the tsunami has already arrived!  And it’s time to get in the boat…

Tips for Marketing Your Restaurant via Facebook

Images Speak Volumes

Until the internet develops smell and taste functionality, you need to entice customers to your restaurant in other ways.  Wasn’t it Hannibal Lector who said “he covets what he sees”?  It’s true (for fictional psycho-killers and hungry diners)!  Start snapping photos of your most beautiful dishes and post them on your Facebook page. No doubt, food photography is difficult — just do you best.  Time saving tip:  Dedicate an hour a week to take photographs and store them in a file.  In no time, you’ll have every menu item covered.

Scrumptious Descriptions

Have you had the experience of reading a restaurant review or cookbook and found yourself salivating?  Then you know the drill.  Create descriptions of your food that has people Craving it before they’ve even tasted it.

Contests

Contests can be a big draw for restaurants. In September, Facebook changed their policies that make running contests a whole lot easier and less cumbersome.  Get creative and have fun with contests for your customers!

Tout Your Specials

Whether it’s your burger of the month or the unique prix fixe deal you’re offering, tell the world!  Give your followers incentive to try the special — “Receive 10% off the special by mentioning you saw this on Facebook”.

Consistency is key to social media!

Remember, as with most marketing plans, social media marketing needs to be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint.  You can’t expect to gain followers and loyalty by posting willy-nilly for a few months.  Engaging with your customers (and would-be customers) via social media platforms needs to be incorporated into your marketing mix on a daily basis.

“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard.  It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” ~ Bruce Springsteen