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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
10. Target Consumers With Facebook Ads
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:
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?