1) VISUAL APPEAL
Eyes eat first. For most millenials and Gen Zs, social media trumps the classic menu. When looking for a restaurant, it’s convenient to pull up a page on Instagram, browse through the food selection, and make a quick decision. In the chance that your restaurant is competing with another restaurant for someone’s date night, a social media presence could make or break it. Your customers are paying for the experience from start to finish—in today’s world, that begins with researching the options.
Fun fact: In a study on restaurant menus conducted by researchers at Iowa State University, people are projected to be 70% more likely to order a particular dish if they see an appealing photo of it first. Take good care of your social platforms by showcasing your most attractive dishes.
2) CHEAP ADVERTISING
Word-of-mouth is slow, and TV advertisements can get expensive. Social media is a cost-effective way to advertise your restaurant. Aside from showcasing your food, you can use your various platforms to provide updates, advertise for events, and provide information about your restaurant.
Nearly 3 out of 4 customers have used Facebook to make decisions on restaurant or retail options. By not catering to this population of users, you’re missing golden opportunities to be factored into target customers’ decision making processes.
4) GENERATE A FOLLOWING
With social media, you’re allowed a level of creativity with how you portray your restaurant and the food you serve. This is the time for you to highlight special things about your business that outsiders wouldn’t typically know. If you have an impressive wine selection, tell the world about it on social media. Perhaps you’re proud of your well-tenured team and all of your employees get along well—post a quick interview of your team on your page!
It’s tough to get a huge following solely for your identity as a restaurant, but with patience and time, you can definitely get a large reach within your community. As your practice with social media evolves, you’ll pick up on the types of customers who enjoy your restaurant so that you can better develop a target audience.
6) INTERACTING WITH CUSTOMERS
The designated “owner” of your social media pages has the leeway to respond to as many comments as they’d like, or none at all. Interacting with people over social media platforms is a great way to engage with your customers while also expanding your target audience.
Hospitality is the backbone of a good restaurant, and having an engaging online presence gives a nice peak into the way your restaurant treats its customers. You’ll likely receive positive reviews and constructive criticism from your visitors. It’s a great opportunity for you to use this feedback as a tool to improve your business. Customers like to see that you’re using their feedback; in fact, the NM incite survey shows that 71% of customers are more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly on social media.
7) SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS WHAT TO EXPECT
Of course you don’t want to take away every element of surprise, but some customers like to head into a restaurant or store with an idea of what to expect. You can utilize your social media platforms to key people in on the typical attire for your restaurant, just as you can give them a quick look at the atmosphere.
By highlighting the atmosphere, customer demographic, and overall vibe of your restaurant, you can answer questions your customers may have before they ask them. Many customers turn to social media to see just how fancy or casual the restaurant is, giving them a better idea of what to wear.
Having an online presence boosts your reliability among your customers. Regular customers can count on you to keep them updated on the latest news, events, or dishes. New customers will have a sense of ease knowing that your food lives up to its claims on social media. (For that reason, and many more, make sure that it does!)
Social media platforms show people that you’re established. You’ve taken the time to market your company from different angles, and you’re a restaurant that customers can count on— online and in person.
According to a study done by Cornell University, 59% of franchise restaurants utilize social media. Even more staggering, 79% of independent restaurants utilize social media. These numbers go to show that the competition is fierce. You’re up against a number of businesses that offer the same thing: food, service, and a dining experience. It’s your job to get creative with how you’ll show everyone that you’re set apart from the rest.
There’s also an opportunity to collaborate with other businesses with your social media profile. If another company in the industry sees your restaurant as a space for collaboration, they may reach out via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.