For as long as there has been social media and camera phones, people have been taking photos of food.
For Restaurants and eateries, such trends work in their favour. This may seem like a no-brainer, but here are some handy hints on how to use social media (for more than just food-photos) for your Restaurant. Obviously, the focus here is on visuals, but try to also engage with your followers as much as possible.
Instagram is such a powerful tool for restaurants in particular. You have so many things you can be showing off visually in a restaurant.
Take photos of your daily or weekly specials to share with the Instagram world, take customers behind the scenes in the kitchen with how you prepare or make some of your menu items, educate the Instagram world on different fun facts on how you are sustainable. Ideas for Instagram are endless for the food venue and one of the most valuable tools you can have.
Also, as you know, Instagram has a wide range of people that LOVE sharing photos of what they eat. Have fun with this through a contest or by encouraging your customers to snap a pic of their meal and re-share these using apps like Repost.
The way Twitter sets up its news feed allows you to really show off visuals that will stand out as your followers are scrolling through their feed. Share similar photos and things that you’d share on your Instagram account and encourage those to Tweet along with you, including your staff.
Jump into conversations that are happening around you, and ENGAGE. For example: If someone is tweeting asking their followers where they should go for dinner tonight in Toronto, jump into that conversation and let them know how they can make a reservation with you.
The key to Twitter is not to wait for people to come speak at you; seek out those people that you can speak with yourself!
Much like Instagram and Twitter, your success on Facebook thrives on visuals. Make sure you have some great pictures that you can use and try not to recycle them too frequently.
Also, use Facebook to jump into local Facebook groups where you can chat with people of your community about your specials, and why you are awesome. Make sure not to spam anyone, but put a personality behind your brand and chime in when the time is right.
Facebook is also a great tool to gather customer feedback. Since there is no word cap on Facebook you can encourage your followers to review your restaurant, offer advice on new menu items, or just gauge general feedback on how you can improve!
Many people forget this falls under social media. Make sure you are regularly monitoring your review pages such as Yelp, Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor. It’s important to know what people are saying about you and jumping in when people have a complaint or are even just really happy can really show customers that you care about what they have to say.
Reviews are essentially what are going to make or break your restaurant. Your community is going to trust what other customers have to say before you, so make sure to monitor these, applaud happy customers and try to convert the haters. This is one of the most valuable tools for any restaurant small or large.
So now what? Take this advice and use when moving forward with a strategy for your restaurants online presence. Take a look at what other restaurants are doing and observe what you like and don’t like. Just remember, don’t jump on social media just because you feel like you have too. If you don’t have the time or commitment to put forth in your social media efforts, it’s almost better to not be online at all!