How to Use Social Media to Benefit Your Restaurant
An active social media presence is essential when marketing your restaurant. At the very least, you need to have restaurant accounts on Facebook and Instagram, and, if possible, Twitter.
Making a Facebook Page:
When you create a page, make sure that you have a descriptive and concise explanation of your business. Include your cuisine type, a little about you or your restaurant’s history, and maybe some specials or happy hours. It is nice to also explain to visitors what sets you apart from other restaurants - what is your “thing.” Additionally, Facebook provides sections for you to include your address, phone number, and business hours. Make sure to keep this up to date.
You can also include a call-to-action at the top of the page, inviting customers to take an action like contacting you or visiting your website to check out a menu. The call-to-action can encourage users to take the next step toward visiting your restaurant. If your restaurant is partnered with Zuppler, EatStreet, ChowNow, Slice, Delivery.com, Grubhub, or LevelUp, then you might also be eligible for a start delivery button, where customers can start their food orders. To find out if you’re eligible for the Start Order call-to-action, contact Facebook.
You should also upload a profile picture and a cover photo, and feel free to use pictures of your delicious food for both! The bigger the picture, the better. You don’t want a blurry picture representing your restaurant on social media, so try to choose a picture that’s above 400 X 400 pixels.
Turning on Facebook messenger for your page is also a good option, because it will allow you to respond quickly to any questions that a customer may have about your restaurant.
Finally, you should create a username for your page. That will make it easier for customers to find you on Facebook, and you’ll be able to create a custom URL for your page as well. It is best to keep this as simple as possible, but sometimes you need to be creative if the name is already taken. For example, ours is @giftameal which makes the url facebook.com/giftameal, but if that were already taken we likely would have gone with @giftamealapp.
Once you have your page set up, aim to post something once a day or every other day. There are lots of different things that you can choose to post about:
Pictures of your food/restaurant
Information about an upcoming special
Information about a restaurant event
Highlight an exemplary employee
Put together posts for fun holidays, like national taco day, or national tequila day
Share customer stories/testimonials
However, it doesn’t all have to be self-promotion and it certainly doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Don’t be afraid to joke around and engage with your customers on social media! The pages with the most engaged user responses make it fun.
Making an Instagram Page:
The first thing you have to do with Instagram is download their mobile app. Sign up using an email address, or you can sync Instagram with your Facebook account. Then, once you’re logged in, go to settings and then “Switch to Business Account.” There, you can add in your restaurant address, hours, and phone number.
Once you’re set up, you’ll want to start posting pictures for your restaurant. Ideally, you’ll post pictures of your own food or restaurant, and you’ll want to post around once a day. Just like with Facebook, you need to avoid blurry pictures on your profile. So, the bigger the picture, the better. You’ll probably want to aim for bigger than 600 X 800 pixels.
Making a Twitter Account:
On Twitter, you’ll make a Twitter @name. The name is what people will use to tag you in their tweets, and it will make you easily findable for customers.
Similar to Facebook, you’ll need a profile picture and a header image. Twitter recommends 400 X 400 pixels for your profile picture and 1500 X 500 pixels for your header image.
Make sure to use your Twitter bio wisely. You only have 160 characters, but try to include as much relevant information as possible—like your location, business hours, and even a link to your website.
One of the nice things about Twitter is that you can aim to post more often than on Facebook or Instagram—you can post three or four times a day on Twitter if you have some important news to share. And once you have sent out a few Tweets, pick your most important to be your pinned Tweet. That message will stay at the top of your page and will be the first thing visitors see. But don’t stress, you can change the pinned tweet whenever you want.
I know posting once a day or more on these social media platforms can feel like a daunting task, which is why I recommend trying a social media scheduling tool so that you can set up all of your social media posts for the next week at once. There are lots of scheduling tools out there—GiftAMeal uses the Facebook publisher tool (free) and Hootsuite (small monthly fee) for Instagram and Twitter. Planoly is a decent free app that can be used to schedule Instagram posts.
For all of these platforms, make sure that you’re using relevant hashtags in your posts. If your restaurant is located in St. Louis, then you should be tacking on hashtags like #STLfood, #STLeats, #STL, #StLouis, etc. You can also use hashtags specific to the food type, event, etc. Hashtags will help people interested in those topics find your page.
Also remember that GiftAMeal is always available to help restaurants with social media. GiftAMeal’s Premium plan actually includes social media consulting, but I’m happy to send you some advice to help you get started as a courtesy!
Please reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!