How Restaurants Use Social Media Effectively

When it comes to taking advantage of the powerful tools that social media has to offer, no one has done it quite like the restaurant industry. From posting mouthwatering food and drink photos to utilizing user-generated content and authentically engaging with their audience and customers, other industries could learn a thing or two by looking at how restaurants are doing it.

Social media is a crucial part of running any type of modern business. Even if you don’t have the budget to put major $$$ behind posts and ads, simply having a consistent posting schedule and being authentically human on social media will go a long way in strengthening your brand awareness, expanding your customer base, and encouraging customer loyalty.

For some reason, the restaurant industry has been able to leverage each nugget of potential that social media offers. This has placed them right in the sweet spot where customers not only expect to see them on social media but actually look forward to seeing them on social media.

Customers are Instagramming photos of their food, checking in on Facebook, writing poetic reviews on Google and Yelp, following their favorite spots on Twitter, and liking restaurant pages on Facebook. It’s a truly incredible thing to witness industries embracing social media and the many many benefits it can offer them.

But, how exactly are they utilizing social media marketing so well? And even more importantly, how can other industries learn from them and incorporate those skills into their own marketing strategies?

Let’s talk about it!

Dining Social Media

The Big Secret

First and foremost, restaurants have discovered the true secret to social media: The audience.

Social media is all about your audience and – more importantly – meeting your audiences’ needs and exceeding those needs in terms of content. The heart of your social media marketing strategy should always be the people you are marketing to. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you aren’t fostering engagement directed towards your unique audience, you might as well be shouting into the void.

Restaurants have this down to a science. They know their audience loves to eat and talk about eating – so they give them mouthwatering food content and have open and honest conversations on their social pages about food. You’ll notice that a lot of socially successful restaurant accounts talk to their customers about their business like they are their own biggest fan – because they are! The fangirl over their own food the same way that your customers do – which shows their humanity and creates a lighthearted and fun atmosphere for their customers on social media.

To get “in the know” with this big secret means that you need to take the necessary steps to really know and understand your audience and what they want. Once you figure this out, every decision for your social media marketing should be influenced by that information.

Up-To-Date Knowledge = Sales

We may not be math geniuses, but there is one equation that we DO understand.

Up-to-date knowledge = sales.

When you keep your audience up-to-date with any and ALL changes to your business, your audience will be more inclined to trust and visit your business (whether it’s a brick and mortar business or solely online.)

People don’t like to be surprised. They don’t like missing information. So the more you can update your information on the likes of Facebook and other social media platforms, the better off you’ll be.

Think of it this way: If you’re in a new place and wanting to go out to eat, you’ll look up restaurants online to find one that piques your interest. You find the perfect one and even know the exact meal you’re going to order. Then, you drive to the establishment, stomach growling and ready to devour a delish meal, only to find that it’s closed even though it said it was open on their website and social media pages.

That’s an awful feeling. You feel like the restaurant lied to you, and now you’re left getting hangry and not knowing where to go for food.

Thankfully, most restaurants are aware of this and DON’T do that. Instead, they keep their business information up-to-date to ensure their audience has all the information they need to spend their $$$ AND maintain their trust in that business.

You should do the same.

Focus Efforts On A Select Few Social Media Platforms

Here’s another equation for you: More accounts ≠ more sales.

You won’t find many restaurants with an account on every single social media platform. Effectively using social media is all about quality over quantity. Consider your unique branding and audience. If your content is enjoyed and your presence feels “meant to be” on the platforms you choose, you’re doing it right.

User Generated Content

Embrace The Value Of User-Generated Content

We know, we know. It’s hard to give up control over your content. But the truth is, one of the reasons social media is so powerful for marketing is its ability to foster user-generated content. When customers leave a review, tag a business, or post a photo/video of your product, they’re sending a message that says, “I support this business.” And who doesn’t love being supported?

The restaurant industry really took this concept and ran with it. After all – people really love posting photos and videos of their yummy food and drinks. However – the businesses that are really doing this well are the ones that not only welcome user-generated content but encourage it!

Final Thoughts

While there are many other ways that the restaurant industry is “winning” at social media, the ones mentioned above are the most noteworthy ways that other industries can learn from.

At the end of the day, social media is here to stay. So rather than trying to run away from it, or even worse, try to force it to be how YOU want it to be; why not try embracing it for what it is and the endless ways it can help you strengthen your brand, boost your sales, and connect with your audience. By studying how restaurants have effectively leveraged the power of social media, we can all learn a thing or two.