8 Social Media Strategies for Restaurants

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Love it or hate it, social media has to be part of your restaurant marketing plan. National Restaurant Association found that 83-percent of Americans look up dining locations, directions and hours of operation on their smartphones or tablets. A large portion of this percentage are going to land on your social media pages. Whether you already have an active account or you’re looking to get started, we’ve put together a list of tips for building a social media strategy for restaurants.

1.) Have a consistent voice

Your voice on social media should tie into your overall brand personality. For example, the restaurant &pizza has established a personality as being an “edgier” brand. They call themselves the “anti-establishment establishment” and gave their rewards mobile app the nickname “Troublemaker” and the “Maverick”, getting a lot of attention on social media. This has helped them raise their social restaurant visits score (SRV) by 9.75 points.

An SRV is a way for restaurant to measure social ROI. According to Foodable, SRV’s are scored on a 200-point metric system that analyzes geo-targeted conversations related to restaurant visits. These metrics look at sentiment, engagement, frequency, density, and brand advocates that involve key terms, digital action, geo-located post, image or digital tag related to a visit. The score is based on a weighted algorithm on 100 basis points, which eliminates size and volume as factors in the score. You can get more information on calculating your SRV on the Foodable Labs website.

2.) Spotlight your employees

This helps customers feel more connected to your brand and gives them a ‘backstage pass’ to you restaurant. It’s also super important for brand-building – it gives that “people-first” vibe, and helps to humanize the business.

3.) Provide a timely response to customer reviews

The good, the bad, the ugly – frequently visited restaurants will likely experience each of these types of restaurant reviews. Moz found that almost 70% of all consumers depend upon online reviews to make buying decisions. Many times, it’s not the review that matters – it’s your response. Your responses should be timely, professional, and if possible offer a resolution. No response can get you into big trouble with your followers. Marketing guru Jay Baer stated the following in a Forbes interview, “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much.”

4.) Don’t forget to respond to comments, too

You want your brand to be approachable. One way to do this is to always respond to comments on posts. Interact with your customers and be friendly.

5.) Have a weekly feature

Think of a day of the week that could play off the food you offer. Velvet Taco developed ‘weekly WTF’ which is an abbreviation for “weekly taco feature”. On this day, they showcase their latest and greatest taco offerings. Weekly WTF and a behind-the-scenes photos and videos has helped them raise their social restaurant visits by 11.28 points.

6.) Show what you offer

Do you cater for weddings and special events? Are your sauces sold in stores? Do you have really cool merch you want to mention? Do you offer a loyalty program? Talk about it on social media! 4 Rivers Smokehouse has mentioned their retail products on social media and Mark’s Feed Store frequently mentions their catering options.

7.) Offer coupons for check-ins

When a guest checks in at your restaurant, it is displayed for all of their followers to see. It’s super easy to check in to a restaurant – it just requires a few clicks on a smartphone.

Offer a discount or free meal/drink item when a guest checks in on Foursquare or Facebook. You can even reward your regulars with an exclusive offer for checking in several times during the month. Foursquare actually marks users that have checked in to a location several times as a “mayor”, making it easier to see who frequents your restaurant. Tracking this could be as simple as having guests show their server their phone with check in information. You can use your social media account to advertise this promotion or display signage in your restaurant.

8.) Some of our favorites

For a little extra inspiration, we’ve rounded up a few restaurants doing it big on social media in no particular order.

  • Taco Bell – Taco Bell has one of the largest followings on Instagram for good reasons. Their images are fun, bright, eye-catching, and consistent.
  • Wendy’s – Most people are familiar with Wendy’s success on social media. If you aren’t, check out their social media pages. They really understand their audience and do a great job at engaging with them.
  • Sweetgreen – Sweet Green demonstrates their brand story and values in all of their Instagram posts. You’ll see that their Instagram page showcases their fresh, farm-to-table ingredients.
  • Shake Shack – Shake Shack has done an awesome job at connecting with millennials. In turn, they have gained themselves a ton of user-generated content on Instagram.
  • KFC – When has KFC ever not had something clever up their sleeve? From their ’11 secret herbs and spices’ stunt to the down-right hilarious images of the Colonel on their Instagram, you have to admit, KFC’s got it going on.

Having an effective social media strategy for restaurants is a key part of the formula in driving guest traffic. But there’s more to cracking the marketing code. Looking for some additional tips to add to your restaurant marketing strategy? Check out our 4 Best Restaurant Marketing Ideas article.

This article was originally posted on QSR Automations’ blog here.

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