Ways to Use Facebook to Market Your Restaurant
Does your restaurant have a Facebook presence? Should it? Even if you don’t have a personal Facebook account or never plan to, it’s hard to deny the potential value Facebook offers in marketing businesses. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world and, according to Statista, has 2.3 billion active users every month.
Consumers have consistently indicated in surveys that their purchasing decisions are influenced by friends’ recommendations and posts, and that posts by the businesses they follow influence their decisions. But what may surprise you is how much they trust the reviews of strangers. A 2018 BrightLocal survey found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. And for 18- to 34-year-olds, that percentage is even higher, at 91%.
When you couple Facebook’s popularity and influence with the ability to post photos of your food in all its glory, you can see how the social media platform could have a big impact on driving customers to your restaurant. So if you’re not already using Facebook to market your restaurant, consider starting now.
While some businesses use Facebook for more formal advertising or marketing purposes, don’t worry if you’re not ready for that. Just create your page, add some great pictures of your restaurant and food, upload your menu, and start implementing the common posting strategies outlined in this article.
Use Posts on Facebook to Create Brand Awareness and Customer Engagement
The goal of some of your posts should be to keep customers engaged with your brand and promote brand awareness. These posts aren’t designed to sell something. Posts might include contests and giveaways,surveys, motivational quotes, and testimonials. They might be pictures of events at your restaurant or “cute dogs spotted on our dog-friendly patio.”
They might be used to create interactions. For example, you could ask:
- “How often do you dream about our Smiley Burger? Note: Every day is an acceptable answer.”
- “We’ve got Porter’s Jazz Band playing live Friday night. Who’s joining us?”
- “Steak fajitas or chicken fajitas? Let us know which you prefer!”
- “Fries dipped in mayonnaise? Yuck or yum?”
They can take a personal slant. For example:
- “Last Thursday, our family returned from a trip to North Carolina where I was able to find exceptional local food. I’ve posted recommendations in my blog. Check it out here.”
- “I’m so proud of the team. Members of our wait staff and management participated in the Walk for Hope this past weekend. Check out the smile on Kathy, who was determined to finish the walk, even though she was on crutches the entire time.”
They can revolve around holiday messaging. For example:
- “Happy April Fools’ Day! What’s the funniest joke anyone ever played on you for April Fools’?”
- “It’s Veteran’s Day. Thank you for your service. Remember, we have offer free breakfast or lunch with military ID this weekend.”
Use Posts on Facebook to Encourage Sharing
Facebook was built on the premise your parents and teachers tried to instill in all of us, no matter how much we didn’t like it: It’s important to share.
Did you read some great external content you think your guests will love? Share it in a post. Regularly post blogs on your restaurant’s website? Include a link to your latest blog post in your social channels.
Do you get a lot of customers from the comedy club next door? Share a post about their upcoming shows with a note about stopping by for dinner after the show. The comedy club might “like” your post or respond with similar messaging that promotes your restaurant in return.
Do your Facebook followers post photos of your food on their social channels? Repost those photos to your site and thank them. Got a 5-star review on Yelp? Received a positive review from a food critic? Mentioned in an article of top 10 restaurants in the area? Participating in an upcoming food festival? Share!
Consider showcasing loyal customers who are doing something special in your community and ask others to like and share. Share announcement about special events like fundraisers. Post about activity in the area everyone’s buzzing about. For example, if residents have been waiting for a new overpass to be completed, and construction traffic to wind down, do a countdown of the days close to the project’s end and invite customers to come in to celebrate.
Use Posts on Facebook to Encourage Restaurant Visits and Sales
Finally, use posts to bring customers to the restaurant. You don’t need any tips on what to say about why your restaurant is special, so here are just a few reminders of common posting strategies:
- Post beautiful pictures of your menu items
- Post pictures of the interior and exterior of the building
- Promote new menu items or seasonal offerings
- Post your daily soups or specials so regulars who follow you always know what’s on the menu
- If applicable, don’t forget to photos and descriptions of cocktails you offer
- Announce special hours or menus around holidays
Once you begin posting, just remember to keep up with it. Regular posts encourage customers to follow you on Facebook and demonstrate your desire to engage socially with them.