Why Restaurants Need to Use Social Media
If you are a restaurateur social media should already be a huge part of your marketing strategy and if you are not using social media or using it to its full potential then you have come to the right place for restaurant social media management in the UK.
In today’s digital world social media has become a key player in marketing for all business types especially more so for restaurants and the food and beverage industry. Once upon a time social media was solely used for connecting with friends – now social media has revolutionised and businesses have started to see the potential and impact it can have on their marketing and business process. Restaurants namely being one the niches that have started to utilise it to their benefit gaining huge rewards from it.
When was the last time you walked into a restaurant and didn’t see people getting snap happy taking pictures of their food and drink? The answer should be that you see it everyday and if you don’t you need to question why. The thing is even if you are not social savvy, your customers will be and they wont pass up the opportunity to take photos and post them on their social media feeds along with comments about their experience. So if you are not up to date with social media and your restaurant its time to step your game up and jump on the bandwagon before you and your restaurant are a mere dot in the distance.
There are various social media platforms that can be used to increase business growth and brand recognition, in turn giving you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and increase awareness. We understand that it can be confusing and somewhat overwhelming as there are many factors to take into consideration when starting your social media strategy, which is why our London based Restaurant social media management niche experts have taken time out to discuss the three main social media platforms that they consider the best to use in the restaurant business.
Quick Fact: There are more than 2 Billion active users on Facebook!
Now let that fact simmer for a little while, yes that’s right 2 billion active users! Facebook was launched in 2004 with 1 million users (although not all active), almost 15 years later that number just blows your mind. Facebook was one of the first social media platforms that really hit it off from the get go and till this day is one of the most popular social media platforms with average day people alongside businesses from all walks of life. Of all the social media platforms Facebook happens to be the most universal in the sense it does not matter what industry you are in.
Facebook is used as a multi-purpose social media platform, not only do people use it to connect with others to socialise, people have started to use it as a search tool especially for restaurant recommendations.
People will use Facebook to look for recommendations for a place to eat alongside checking out the reviews and photos. Taking that into consideration you need to treat your Facebook page like the favourite dish on your menu; attractive and appealing.
♥ Cover Photo: This is the main image on your Facebook page and covers the top of the page. The first thing you need to ensure is that you have the correct dimensions of the image you place here, (The correct dimensions for a Facebook cover is 820 x 312 pixels). You don’t want to have a perfectly great image but have to stretch it out or have it cut off.
As a restaurant ideally you should be placing a professional looking image as your cover photo, not only does it capture your audience but it sets the scene and experience your target demographic is likely to expect within your niche. The type of image that should be used is one that shows off your restaurant, a nice dining area of your restaurant or a speciality dish from your menu. Be sure to update this picture regularly as you don’t want to appear outdated and boring.
♥ Profile Image: The same rules regarding dimensions apply here, ensure that your profile image meets Facebook’s requirements (The correct dimensions for a Facebook profile image is 170 x 170 Pixels), bear in mind that it will only show 160 x 160 pixels of that image so be careful when updating your profile picture. For restaurant social media management the ideal profile image should be your logo/Restaurant name.
♥ About Page: This is a very important feature on your Facebook page, this section includes important details about your restaurant along with contact details. Ensure that you update all sections that are applicable to you, if potential customers are on your page they want to know about your restaurant and want to know how to get in contact. If these details are not updated and up to date you risk losing potential customers.
♥ Images: Food, Food and more Food! It is a restaurant industry niche business and that is exactly what you are offering customers. food! Make sure you have professional photos taken of your dishes and drinks once prepared. You want people’s mouths to water and want to entice them into visiting your restaurant. Showcase your food and restaurant, put it in the limelight and show it off. 60% of a person’s deciding factor of where to eat is the images of the food. So use this to your advantage.
♥ Offers & Deals: This is a great feature available on Facebook, everyone loves a freebie or a special discount. As already mentioned people use Facebook as a recommendation search tool, so why not entice them with an offer. There are several ways that you can utilise this feature, e.g. A special discount if they like and share your page – not only does this get them to visit your restaurant but it increases exposure and visibility of your restaurant. It’s basically free advertising at no real cost to you, it’s a no brainer really!
♥ Contests: Creating contests on Facebook is a great way to network and attract new potential customers. It’s a great way to interact and socialise with your fan base whilst growing said fan base. It’s an easy task and no prior skills are required, ultimately your fans do all the work by spreading the word and getting involved.
♥ Facebook Advertising: This is a great tool if set up correctly and utilised appropriately. Often enough inexperienced restaurant social media management individuals steer clear of this benefit on Facebook as they feel it can be costly. However that is not necessarily the case, Facebook ads can be as costly as you want them to be. There are controls set in place to set up ads with a budget of your desire, depending on what your goal is you can match your budget with this. There are several factors that can make your advert effective, some of these are the fact you can target a certain demographic, geographic location or even interactive behaviours. As mentioned if set up correctly Facebook ads can certainly be a very effective form of marketing and you can reap huge benefits from it.
Quick Fact: There are 330 Million active users on Twitter!
In comparison to Facebook active users that number seems very little, almost insignificant, however do not be fooled. There are 500 million tweets sent per day along with 85% of users being mobile users. Twitter is very different form Facebook, tweets are a lot shorter than Facebook posts and word spreads very quickly with information being shared with people every second that goes by. Twitter is a very fast paced social media network and you will be surprised how far and how quickly information spreads on this social media platform, with the blink of an eye your tweet can spread as far as the other side of the world.
With that in mind it is essential to keep your tweets relevant and as eye-catching as possible or you will risk not getting noticed at all. If utilised properly Twitter can be a great tool for restaurant social media management. The key here is that you want to attract your customers to what you have to share, professional eye-catching images of the food you serve is a must, along with a link to your restaurant or menu. If your images are not appealing then people will not want to even bother taking notice of it and will simply scroll past your tweet.
♥ Cover Image: As with Facebook it is very important that you use the correct dimensions for your cover photo (The correct Twitter cover dimensions are 1500 x 500 pixels) along with the correct dimensions ensure that you have a professional looking image that showcases your restaurant.
♥ Profile Image: Again use the correct dimensions here and ensure that your profile image is your logo or restaurant name. (The correct Twitter profile image dimensions are 400 x 400 pixels).
♥ Profile Bio: Bear in mind this is usually the first thing that people will see or want to see when they access a Twitter profile. This is your space to shine and really showcase yourself with words. There is a 160 character limit for your restaurant bio so it is quite short, the aim is to be engaging and make people want to read more about you and your restaurant. If your Bio is boring chances are people are not going to bother checking out the rest of your profile. So make sure your Bio stands out.
♥ Images: You have a restaurant so as with Facebook show it off, loads of pictures of food, drink and the restaurant itself is what will entice people into checking your profile out as well as visiting your restaurant. Tweets with images are shared twice as quickly and more overall than tweets without images, this results in a higher reach target which means greater visibility of your restaurant business social media management.
♥ Hashtags: Twitter revolves around hashtags. Hashtags are basically keywords relating to what you are tweeting about with a hashtag (#) placed infront of it. e.g. As a restaurant you could use #Food #Restaurant #ItalianFood #Cocktails #London and so forth. People can then search for hashtags and if you have used it your tweet will appear, the aim is to use as many hashtags that are trending and popular in your niche. This means not only will your follows see your tweets but a further reach potential will be able to see them. As well as you using trending keywords you should also create a brand hashtag which will allow you to be able to see when people are talking about your restaurant which gives you a great chance to engage with them. Our in-house London restaurant social media management experts experts like using Hashtagify to find out what the trending hashtags are.
♥ Offers & Deals: Similar to Facebook you can offer discounts and promotions to customers, simple things like ‘get a free side when you retweet this post’ will really engage people and get people to share your tweets thus getting more exposure and a higher reach/reward for your restaurant through it’s social media.
♥ Twitter Advertising: Again if set up correctly this can be a really great tool for marketing and can really promote your brand and restaurant. There are different packages depending on your budget and how exactly you would like to manage it. Advertising on Twitter is great as it means you can reach a much wider audience and entice people into wanting to visit your restaurant in person which subsequently is probably the ultimate goal of your restaurant social media management.
Quick Fact: There are 800 million active users on Instagram!
Instagram is a social media platform focused on photo and video sharing, with today’s millennial’s being snap happy especially with food – Instagram is the place to be! The great thing when it comes to Instagram is the social and creative side of it, so not only can you share photos and videos you can edit these visuals and put your own twist on it. People love to show off on Instagram, they want people to know what they are eating and where they are dining and show exactly what it looks like. As a restaurant the same rules apply, you want to show off and show how amazing your restaurant is compared to that of a similar nature.
There are two focus areas of Instagram that restaurants should focus on:
♥ Hashtags: With Instagram there is technically no limit to how many hashtags you should or can use. Whereas Facebook and Twitter have some guidelines on how many you should use in order to reach a higher engagement reach. Instagram is the total opposite, the more hashtags you use the more likely you are to be able to reach a wider audience which is what you want. There are few different categories you should specifically focus on when running a restaurant social media account, these are:
– Geographical Hashtags: Use Hashtags that target specific areas, such as where your restaurant is based i.e. #London #CentralLondon #Manchester #UK etc this means you will attract people from these areas specifically.
– Trending Hashtags: Everyday there is a new trend, make sure you are involved. You want to stay up-to-date and relevant. There is no point talking about something that happened 6 months ago as people are now talking about something that happened 5 minutes ago. Research trending hashtags and try to incorporate them within your posts.
– Niche Hashtags: Always use these hashtags, you want people to know what you are about. If you are a Mexican restaurant make it clear you are and add the relevant keywords associated with a Mexican restaurant. i.e. #MexicanFood #TacoTuesday #Guacamole #Fajitas
– Campaign Hashtags: If you are running a campaign on Instagram you need to market it, create awareness by using it in your hashtags. You want to create a hype and fascination surrounding your campaign to accelerate brand awareness. Get people involved, the more people that are aware the more they will share that content. This will also encourage users to add that hashtag in their posts, the aim is to make it go as viral as possible.
♥ Instagram Stories: This is an awesome feature that Instagram introduced, it is a collection of photos and videos pieced together to make a video clip. Ok so what’s so great about that you ask? Well say you have an event occurring at your restaurant, you can take multiple pictures and short clips throughout the day and then create your Instagram Story, it’s a great way of showing the behind the scenes of your event and also a great way to show what the event was and how it went. This is also a great way to showcase and highlight the staff at your restaurant, people love seeing who the people are that make it such an awesome restaurant as well as connecting with them on a human level which will again accelerate brand awareness.
Ultimately managing social media for the restaurant industry can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be. Hopefully we have highlighted why you as a restaurant should be adopting social media in your marketing strategy and if you haven’t already you are on your way to taking that first step.
It goes without saying but the main thing that you should keep in mind is ‘what do our customers want to see’ – think like your customer and you will be able to engage your target demographic without any problems. Give your potential customers a reason to want to visit your restaurant.
We understand that running a restaurant takes up a lot of time and you may simply not have enough time to manage your social media accounts, if this is the case and you would like an extra helping hand get in contact with our restaurant niche experts to discuss how we can help you in running an awesome social media campaign using our London based social media experts.