Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook

Everyone has to eat, and 700 million of those people are also on Facebook.

Naturally, there are a lot of restaurants on the world’s largest social network, though there could be a lot more, and many of the ones that do have Facebook Pages could be better.

To that end, we’ve come up with 13 best practices when it comes to marketing your restaurants on Facebook.

 

1. Be Transparent

The average Facebook user has 130 friends. But just because someone has more or less doesn’t mean they’re a more or less valuable as a customer. You should make it a priority to respond to everyone and address everyone’s concerns — in a timely manner. Chipotle‘s Joe Stupp says it’s company policy to answer every (or almost every) Facebook post, whether it’s positive or negative, typically within an hour or two. Businesses are always wanting higher engagement, but it goes both ways. When people take the time to post on your page, you want to make sure you’re letting them know you’re engaged too.

Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook

Nobody expects a restaurant to always be perfect, but an honest response and quick offer to resolve the situation is what sets apart a good restaurant from a bad one. When someone has an issue with your food, service, or restaurant in general, you shouldn’t delete negative reviews/comments, but rather show initiative and reply with an email address and a willingness to work hard to regain trust.

 

2. Use Your Knowledge to Educate Your Fans

Restaurants have a unique opportunity to showcase the food, provide recipes, explain the origin of a dish and shoot videos of chefs in action. That kind of content never gets old, and it doesn’t even have to be original — there’s so much stuff on YouTube, and all you need to do is find it.

use your knowledge to educate your fans
The Mermaid Inn posted this how-to video on its Facebook Page to show fans how to cook and eat lobster — an item they sell, so it’s related to the restaurant but also adds value.

Does your restaurant receive new shipments of fresh produce and product every day? Try using social media to educate your followers on fresh shipments, how you prepare your food (from scratch, with no artificial ingredients or fillers), where it comes from, etc. People want to know they’re eating the freshest, tastiest and healthiest product possible.

 

 

3. Use Images

You’re in the business of food, and food is extremely visual. That being said, the most shared posts on Facebook are images, so be sure to include lots of images of your food in your regular Facebook updates.

Just make sure that the photos are appetizing because not all cellphone photos of food turn out appetizing, even if it does look nice on the plate.

use images in facebook posts

4. Don’t Just Sell — Be Interesting

Yes, your restaurant is a business, and your goal is to make profit. But you don’t have to do the hard sell on Facebook — oftentimes restaurants are overly promotional. Use a diverse set of content to establish and build your brand. Think about your brand and then try to find the right mix of promotions and special offers, education, customer service, engagement, etc.

Sharing fun facts pertaining to your cuisine or the team is also a fun way to get people excited about your food, and it humanizes the brand. By being awesome, you’ll motivate people to spread the word.

 

5. Share Your Press

You’ve worked hard to get good reviews. Go ahead and share it with the world! More publicity means more customers, and it will snowball as long as your product is delicious and your customer service remains excellent. Chicago eatery Graham Elliot is great at posting press, which shows that the restaurant gets a lot of press, and also serves to brag about the cool things they do, like hosting a pop-up restaurant at this year’s Lollapalooza music festival.

share your press on facebook
 

6. Be Consistent

Be sure that your online presence and menu maintains a seamless connection with real-time offerings at your restaurant. You don’t want people to get answers on Facebook and hear a different story when they show up for dinner. Just make sure that the information put out by your restaurant is accurate and consistent across all platforms, whether they be social platforms or in-person. Being inconsistent will lead to confusion and frustration for your customers, who may feel like they were promised one thing, only to be told something else upon arrival.

 

7. Use Promotions

A once-in-a-while promotion that isn’t too generous — like the Mermaid Inn’s Social Media Monday word of the day for 20% off — keeps people coming back week after week without giving too much away. Plus, you’ll get a sense of your social media influence if you offer a code or buzzword on Facebook for in-store redemption.

use promotions to get facebook followers
Experiment with different times and codes to discover when people are more inclined to be driven to your store by social media, says Tyson. You want to use Facebook to enhance traffic and sales, but to do so most effectively, you have to know when people are paying the most attention to you. Just be careful not to give too much away. Your loyal guests should be coming to you for more than just a free sandwich.

 

8. Be Charming and Authentic

Everyone knows there’s a human being behind your Facebook Page, so you don’t need to stifle him — let a genuine voice come through.

 

9. Respect and Appreciate Your Team

A company is nothing without the people who comprise it, and the same can be said for restaurants — it takes many people to run the machine. When a customer posts about a positive experience on Facebook, be sure to pass it on to the team and also thank the customer and tell him you’re doing so — both parties will feel special and appreciated.

how to respect and appreciate your team on facebook
When customers write about not-so-positive experiences, be sure you resolve any issues, apologize for the perceived wrongdoing and let the customer know what steps have been taken to remedy the situation — follow-through is key if you’re trying to get that customer back in the door.

Also realize that your staff is on social media sites and are essentially ambassadors for your store. Show some appreciation, and they’ll appreciate their job even more.

 

target consumers with facebook ads

10. Target Consumers With Facebook Ads

A new Facebook feature allows advertisers to target consumers based on zip codes, which means that you can blast an ad to those who live within walking distance of your restaurant. There are some tricks of the trade when exploring the world of Facebook advertising, and it can be an effective way to build your fan base on Facebook.

Image courtesy of Inside Facebook

 

11. Hold a Photo Contest

If you want to gain a lot of user generated content (UGC), set up a photo contest. A photo contest can motivate your customers to engage with you, your menu items, and your restaurant. And for the winner? Gift cards to your restaurant are always great for giveaways!!

 

12. Use Your Cover Image As a Marketing Tool

Make sure you take full advantage of your cover image. You have 851×351 pixels to market your business for free. Include delicious photos of your food, or people having a good time enjoying a meal with friends. You could change your cover image whenever you have a menu change, and market the new items or specials. Check out how Bahama Breeze utilized their cover photo below:

use your cover photo as a marketing tool

 

13. Embed Videos in Your Updates

Videos are very cool when embedded directly into an update, or in a tab. If you have videos about how your food is made, or you have an interview with your chef/ food suppliers/ happy customers – include them in an update.

 

What do you think? Have you used any of these methods? Have they worked? Did you get more customers dining with you? What other tips can you suggest?

 

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