Our recent survey discovered that 77% of diners tried a restaurant based on its social media content. While that sounds promising… the research also noted that 21% say a restaurant's social media posts (low-quality content or infrequent posting) are the reason why they’d never go.
To succeed, your restaurant social media marketing strategy needs authentic content that represents who you are as a brand.
And with 4.7 billion people using social media around the world (almost 60% of the world’s population), staying authentic is the only way to create a successful restaurant social media marketing strategy.
What should your restaurant post on social media? Here are 10 content ideas that you can use today.
Your followers aren’t just interested in your food, they also want to know how the restaurant became popular, what the origin is, and where you aspire to go in the future.
If you tell the story of your restaurant through photos and videos, your audience will not only be engaged and interested, but they’ll also want to see the story in real life. That means more reservations coming your way.
How to do it: Think in short clips – not a full-length documentary.
On Instagram, post a picture of your space before you moved in and started your restaurant. In the caption, talk about why you chose that location – was it the connection to the community or its proximity to fresh, local produce? Tell similar stories about the logo you chose or the name of your restaurant.
You know these stories – your audience doesn’t. Share them.
Diners love to see how the food gets made. Don't believe us? Just think about all the popular TV shows about chefs, cooking and restaurants.
You can easily attract new guests by sharing how the food gets made in your kitchen. You’re already doing the work, all you have to do now is film and share.
How to do it: Choose one of your signature dishes and film your chef making it. It’s that simple.
If you don’t want to give away your secret ingredients… do a quick explainer video on how to properly chop onions, how to decant a bottle of wine or the perfect ratio of crema to espresso.
The goal is to show off your skills and let your guests (even future ones) connect with you on a different level.
Sure, your food is delicious and beautiful, but why else should customers come to your restaurant? Sharing photos of your staff working together behind the scenes gives a personal insight into the restaurant. And it shows that you care about your team.
How to do it: Dedicate one post every week (or month) to a team member. Post a picture of them working in the restaurant and include their favourite guest experience or their favourite dish in the caption.
Highlighting your vendors and suppliers is a great way to showcase your ingredients and attention to detail. Give a shout out to your local fishmonger or the farm where you buy your cheese.
This shows your followers and guests that you source locally (or internationally for the very best ingredients) and care about what you put on the plate.
And if you’re lucky, the vendor will reshare the post. This puts your restaurant in front of their audience as well and may lead to more guests in the future.
How to do it: To keep it simple, ask your vendor if they have photos you can use and share on your social media. Add a caption explaining why you chose their product and why guests love it.
You can also create an Instagram Story or an Instagram Live event of you going to the place (farm, butcher, etc.) and how you choose the finest ingredients.
Social media doesn’t have to be a spectator sport. Involve your followers and guests by asking questions. This stops them in their scroll and gets them to engage with your content.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great ways to create a dialogue with your guests. Instagram has a poll function that’s easy to use, and it’s a great way to learn from your audience or highlight a product without seeming too salesy.
How to do it: Start by creating a poll on Instagram asking your followers if they like red or white wine. Or use the same poll feature to find out when to hold an upcoming event – Friday or Saturday night.
If you’re going to interact with your followers and guests, you have to be ready to respond. You can’t just ask a question and not reply to the answers – this goes for positive and negative comments, too.
When you respond to negative comments, it gives you a chance to explain yourself or defend your reasoning like ‘this dish is expensive because we source local x, y, z’. This is not where you get in an argument or tear someone down. Remember, there are trolls on the internet and they’ll love watching you get angry. Always stay above that.
At the same time, address positive comments and reviews with gratitude and humility.
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the easiest content ideas to incorporate into your restaurant’s social media marketing strategy. UGC is any content made by your guests that highlights your restaurant.
How to do it: Go through your Instagram and see if anyone has tagged you in a recent post or story. If so, share that to your feed or your story. Remember to give them credit by @ them and include a short message like “thanks (user name) for your support” or “we couldn't have said it better ourselves”.
There’s so much more to Instagram than photos. When your restaurant goes live on Instagram, your followers are notified and can interact directly with you as you create live footage.
The point of Instagram Live is to keep your restaurant’s social media content fresh and engaging for your customers.
How to do it: Go live in the kitchen to show customers what your restaurant has to offer behind closed doors, or go live during a special event to have viewers tune in and feel “exclusive” – because once the live video is over, it’s no longer available.
If your restaurant’s Instagram profile is gaining followers each day, it’s most likely because you’re staying up to date with posts and taking the time to make the most out of each post.
Whether it’s a photo of your newest menu item, a promotion on gift cards, or just a photo of your restaurant in action, your followers want to stay engaged and will remain loyal if they aren’t bored.
In many cases, restaurants use Instagram as their main point of guest communication alongside their website. The platform is ideal for sharing updates and giving your customers new reasons to book a table.
Your restaurant can gain traction across Instagram by having your customers use a specific # (hashtag) to represent your restaurant and tag your profile in their photos.
This not only gives your restaurant free publicity, but it also gives customers new insights into your restaurant that aren’t just from your profile.
When customers search your restaurant on Instagram, they’ll see your profile and all of the photos that you’re tagged in. If they see others posting about your restaurant, they’ll have a better reason to check it out themselves.
How to do it: This type of social proof is organic (that means you don’t have to do anything). You can encourage a # by sharing it in your posts and stories. At Superb, we use #experience matters because it’s our mantra.
Give it a try by encouraging guests to use # and the name of your restaurant.
Social media is important because your restaurant guests are online. Social media helps define your brand and lets you communicate with your guests.
Here are 4 reasons why your restaurant should start a social media marketing plan:
1. Boosts guest loyalty and trust
Social media is a great way to be transparent with your guests. Allowing them to leave reviews, ask questions and share in your day-to-day makes them feel a part of something bigger – your restaurant. Creating that type of trust and loyalty will lead to repeat customers.
2. Turns guests into ambassadors
There’s nothing better than free advertising. Encouraging your guests to post pictures of their food and experience is a guaranteed way to increase interest in your restaurant. Remember that you can also use this content (UGC) to share on your site. And encourage guests to use a hashtag # when they post images from your restaurant.
3. It’s free advertising
Speaking of free marketing, social media doesn’t cost a dime (unless you run paid ads). For most purposes, you can use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook for free. Combine that with #2 and you’ve got a free social media marketing strategy.
4. Keeps you connected with your guests
This is probably the most important reason for using social media – it connects you with your guests.
The average person spends around 145 minutes per day on social media. If you want to reach them with up-to-date information on new menu items, special events, etc. The best way is to meet them where they are – online.
There are several social media platforms and channels that restaurants can use to build awareness and increase traffic. We've listed the top 6 that you should include in your restaurant social media marketing below.
Regular feed: Probably the best platform for any restaurant to use in terms of aesthetics. Instagram revolves around pictures and is a great way to show the visual theme and feel of your restaurant You can create a profile with a creative grid of pictures. Take a look at our Instagram here for inspiration.
Additionally, Instagram is a great place to create a community around your restaurant. The following you generate will be full of people who appreciate your aesthetics and possibly become great customers.
Instagram Stories: Instagram also has a feature called Instagram Stories – this is a feature that lets you create small stories with pictures and videos that’ll be shown for 24 hours only, in the style of Snapchat.
Instagram Stories has become vastly more popular than Snapchat. If you don’t know whether to choose Instagram Stories or Snapchat, we recommend Instagram Stories, simply because more people use it worldwide – and it keeps the number of platforms for your restaurant down.
Regular feed: The mother of all Social Media Platforms and somehow still relevant. As mentioned above, your Facebook account can have many different roles. It can be your announcement channel, your second customer service, your information page or all of the above. You can post competitions, special offers, pictures and stories from the restaurant. The possibilities are endless.
The only thing that really matters is that you have an updated Facebook page. Visibility is key. As with Instagram, your Facebook following is a part of building your community and the bigger your community, the bigger the reach.
Facebook Stories: This can be used in the same way as your Instagram Stories. This is not a must since the number of users is very low compared to both Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories.
Snapchat Stories: Similar features are offered on Instagram and Facebook, but a Snapchat account could benefit you if you’re interested in creating an intimate community around your restaurant. This platform is very personal and can depict everyday fun in the kitchen.
Tweets: Twitter is a place where you can express whatever you feel like in 280 characters or less. This makes Twitter a varied platform – you can use it for everything from personal tweets from chefs about their private lives to restaurant tweets about happenings in the restaurant.
It’s a way of creating a community around your restaurant, keeping people in the loop of what’s happening at your restaurant, setting yourself in the same company as chefs or restaurants that you admire by tweeting at them, or simply retweeting content that you like.
Connecting: Your restaurant is a business and using this platform to connect with your professional network can strengthen your brand. Furthermore, giving your employees a place to connect to on Linkedin can strengthen your internal community and make your brand visible throughout their network.
Pinterest is another social media platform that requires you to stay active. Experts suggest that you pin up to 11 times a day. Unlike Twitter, it is much more visual. For starters, you could create a recipe board or a special events board to get people involved in what you have to offer.
This is the question that plagues all restaurant owners and managers – how often should we post on social media?
There’s a sweet spot between engaging your audience and driving them crazy, but that sweet spot is often difficult to find. To help, we scoured the research and asked our own social media expert for help to discover the right number of times a day to post for each social media platform.
Start with these suggestions and see how your followers respond. If you feel they want more, give them more. If you notice that engagement (how many likes, comments, etc.) decreases when you post too often, then back off for a bit.
The most important part is that you post content that celebrates your restaurant and engages with both current and future customers.
There are plenty of free social media management, scheduling and design tools that can make your job and your life much easier. Take a look at 14 of the best ones here.