Last week we shared what social networks your restaurant marketing should be participating on, but once you’re there and have built a following what do you do next? You keep up the engagement!…which is easier said than done.

We want to make your restaurant social media strategy easier from scheduling to measuring success. We’ve collecting our top seven ways to help your restaurant use social media to connect and engage with your audience.

1. Always focus on your customer

If there were rules for social media management by small businesses, this would be number one — always focus your social media efforts on how they can benefit your customer. Remember, the root of social media is based in connecting people together, and while businesses are now part of that mix, it’s their connection to social users that’s still most important. By keeping the focus on the customer experience and their needs, you’ll be welcomed and appreciated by those you connect with.

Whenever you go to create a post, ask yourself if this is offering a benefit to your followers, rather then simply delivering a message. That does not mean you should not be promoting your business, rather to keep it customer focused with a friendly conversational language instead of sales-speak.

2. Fish where your fish are

A critical component to driving engagement is ensuring you are connecting to your customers in the right place online. While we identified top networks restaurants should be active on, what works for your specific business may be a slightly different mix.

One example of this is a dairy bar in Sharon, MA, Crescent Ridge, expanding their social strategy to include SnapChat. They identified that their customer base was active on that network and jumped on board so they could connect there too.

Want a fun way to test which networks are turning engagement into in-store traffic? Run a special promotion on each of the platforms, and include a secret phrase unique to each network they must say to receive the promo, and then see which one brings in the most business. You might be surprised by the results.

3. Be consistent

While you don’t want to have the same posting schedule or even use the same posts across social profiles, you do want to keep your brand consistent by using the same profile pictures, information (such as business hours and location), and designs.

You can also use your social profiles to help promote your other profiles (or a promotion) running on another profile. For example, you could run a contest on Instagram and promote it on Facebook and Twitter, using the same hashtag on all platforms. Or promote the growth of your Yelp reviews by sharing your listing across all your social profiles. Brand consistency is especially important when you start that kind of cross-promoting.

4. Share your menu

It may seem obvious, but many restaurants don’t bother to include access to their menu on their social media profiles, which misses a big opportunity. Get creative in showcase your menu to your followers by sharing images of customer’s favorite items in posts with a message, such as, “Come in and grab the bar-favorite tonight! We have one ready for you.”

On Facebook you can even include a tab with your menu, making it easier for customers to be tempted by your selection of quality choices. At the minimum include a link in your profile which drives to your menu.

5. Appreciate your employees

Your local restaurant has many helping hands contributing to your success, in the form of your employees. One way to help customers know your businesses more intimately, and establishes the values of your business, is to showcase the employees your customers interact with on a regular basis. Consider posting a picture with a short description of who they are and their favorite thing on the menu.

6. Promote offers

The easiest way to get social followers in your door is offering a coupon or discount, tempting people with yet another reason to patron your business that day. You could do anything from a trivia question that the winner receives a drink or dessert, to larger deal for groups of 4 or more, or even a simple flat amount coupon.

Not only will this encourage people to head to your business, but it will encourage them to share it with their friends on social media as well.

7. Track everything

If you want to keep up your high levels of engagement, you have to know what’s working and not. Track your results including the increase of followers, posts and messages driving the most response, as well as use of coupon or discount shared online. You can keep working the campaigns that fostered engagement and drop what wasn’t working

You can use the Vivial platform to help you manage your performance- the Social Inbox that’s included in the platform will show you your followers and engagement profile per network. Connect with your customers in a way that will encourage them to engage with your restaurant social media strategy and also visit your location. Our 7 tips will get you on the road to success, just remember to track your results along the way to grow your strategy and continue to connect with customers over and over again.

  • Excellent tips. Following these tips would also bring a close connection with the customers and also it will encourage them to come down to our restaurant. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • My husband just got an amazing job as a restaurant manager and he really can’t wait for this new opportunity. In the past, he has always done well with working with the customers and making sure that they were satisfied by the food. Although he is focussed on driving revenue, he always strives to do that in a comfortable way that lets the customers feel the benefitted by everything that he does. In what ways can he use social media posts to better benefit customers and still drive revenue?

    • Congrats to your husband! It sounds like he is a customer service pro and those skills will translate really well on social media platforms.

      A lot of restaurants use social media as a way to build customer loyalty. Doing small things, such as thanking a customer for visiting and inviting them back, leave a great impression and can make all the difference when they are making a choice between two restaurants. For example, I recently left a Facebook review for a restaurant across the street from our office (Andrew’s Coffee Shop — if you’re ever in NYC, they are the best!). They took the time to respond to me, thanked me for visiting and said they hoped I come back.

      Now whenever I go to lunch with friends during my lunch hour, we always go there. It’s really the little things that matter (as I’m sure your husband knows!)

  • Social media is huge nowadays and is a great way to market a restaurant. Personally, I follow several restaurants on Instagram because I love to see the menus and meals they prepare. In addition, I think it’s good to share with customers the quality equipment they use to make the food. Thanks for sharing!

    • Restaurants are the perfect category for social media, I agree! In addition to the restaurant posting photos, they get the added benefit of happy patrons sharing photos of their meals with their family and friends on social, too. Glad you liked the article!