The amount of user data in Facebook’s possession offers almost infinite marketing possibilities. But there are also going on 3 BILLION (yes, you read that right) Facebook profiles, and that means that it takes a little more to stand out on the platform than just to post a nice picture of a cappuccino here and there. There are thousands of Facebook marketing ideas for restaurants –– but in order for your restaurant’s Facebook page to be successful, you need to have some idea of what you’re doing. On the upside, though, Facebook does make it pretty easy. Take a look at the simple but crucial tips below to make sure you utilize the social media giant’s full potential.
Engaging your users: the key to a successful Facebook marketing strategy
Keeping your users interested in your restaurant and engaged with your brand is not difficult, but it does require a certain amount of planning and, at times, a little spontaneity, too. Imagine your restaurant as their buddy –– someone whose job it is to make them smile, chit chat a little, brighten up a cloudy day. Does that sound a little too abstract? Take a look at some specifics.
- Post mouthwatering pics
Hopefully this goes without saying, but you need to have your fans’ mouths watering on a fairly regular basis. It may be Monday, but they’re likely already planning where to eat out with the girls from work on Friday afternoon, and you should always be there somewhere offering a helpful suggestion in the form of something that looks too good to resist. So keep that camera ready for when your chef turns out another little work of art and snap and post a picture that will stay at the back of your fans’ minds for days. And don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a super-expensive camera and Photoshop to do this –any good quality smartphone these days will take pics that are perfectly good enough to achieve your goal. Slide a filter over your picture to make the colors really pop, and voila! It’s ready to post, to sow the seed that will be germinating in your fans’ minds all week.
While we’re on the topic of posting, remember to use relevant, popular hashtags that show what your food and your brand are all about. Neglecting to use the proper hashtags may well cause all the work you put into that gorgeous picture you just took to waste.
- Post at the right times
Forbes recommends posting on Facebook between 1 and 3 p.m., especially during the middle of the week. Marketing analytics company TrackMaven says that 1 p.m. on Fridays is the absolute best time to post on Twitter. Another analytics company, NapoleonCat, says Instagram engagement is highest either between 11 a.m. and noon, as well as between 7 and 9 p.m. As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, so don’t take the easy way out here, even if it seems tempting to just go through all of your social media accounts in one go.
- Show off your staff
Social media is all about being real, a far cry from the highly paid celebrities getting loads of money to promote a product they will never use that we were once accustomed to. That’s why getting your staff in the picture can be a great way to give your restaurant a little more personality and use that personal connection with users to draw them in. This is not to say you need a waitress posing with every sandwich you make, but having your chef pose proudly with their newest creation is a personal touch that is sure to pay off.
- Show how you shop
Speaking of personal touches, documenting your or your staff’s trips down to the local market to pick up ingredients for the day is an incredibly easy and natural way to boast both that you buy from local producers, and that you care deeply about the quality of the food you serve. People have grown sick and tired of mass-produced, bland fare, and unique and quirky is definitely the new black. Seeing your chef pensively squeeze fruits and veggies to check their ripeness or haggle over fresh fish at the crack of dawn is a fantastic ad for your restaurant in and of itself.
- Reply to messages on Messenger
People can have all sorts of questions about your brand, from whether you have vegan ice cream to whether you have any free tables for tonight, and everything in between. Being attentive on Facebook and replying promptly (within the hour) makes people feel cared for, and it goes without saying that that’s how you’d like people to feel when they think about your brand.
- Go live if something cool is happening
It sometimes feels like too much of the content we see on social media is carefully polished and curated to build a very specific image, and people are starting to get a little sick of it. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to go live if something cool is happening –– spontaneously share an awesome moment with your fans just as social media originally intended people to do, and they will love you for it. Even if someone does get the words to a song wrong or trip…or perhaps because of it!
Set up your menu to support your Facebook marketing
Setting up the Menu section on your profile will only take a moment and it will save people visiting your page time and frustration. Who has time to sift through HUNDREDS of photos looking for photos of the menu? Chances are people could find another place to eat in that time, and chances are that they will. Adding your Menu to Facebook is super easy to do, all you need is a PDF of your menu. Then, follow these steps:
- Get on your News Feed.
- Click Pages in the left menu and go to your Page.
- Click About on the left side of your Page.
- Below where it says More Info, click Add Menu.
- Upload a photo or PDF file of your menu.
- When your menu has finished uploading, all that’s left to do is click Confirm.
Once you’ve uploaded a menu, you can also add Pickup and Delivery options, select the types of food your restaurant serves, and add payment methods.
And there you go! You’ve just made your potential customers’ lives that much easier. Expect to be rewarded with their business!
Getting Facebook marketing right means responding to reviews
Approximately 60% of people read a restaurant’s reviews before deciding to eat there, and a restaurant with no reviews always seems a little suspect, doesn’t it? If you’ve just recently opened, however, you may understandably have no reviews, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rack some up relatively easily.
As with most things, the easiest way to get something is to ask for it. And while a large percentage of people may forget you asked, some won’t, and you will start building up that Reviews section one step at a time. Be sure to always reply thanking people for visiting you and inviting them back!
Unfortunately, not all reviews are going to be positive, though, and that’s something you’re going to need to learn to deal with. It may indeed be easy to take things personally, or get snarky with someone you feel is just not being fair. Take a deep breath and resist your worst urges, however. You’re a professional. And while it’s true that some people can be unfairly picky or perhaps simply don’t know what they are talking about, some criticism is constructive, and taking it will help you do better in the future. Not to mention replying to negative reviews in a calm, balanced way makes you look trustworthy, like you really care about your customers’ experiences. As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Run a good ad campaign to support your restaurant’s Facebook marketing strategy
A well-run Facebook ad campaign is arguably superior to any ad campaign displayed on TV. Facebook knows more about its users than you could ever imagine, and better yet, it is offering you access to that knowledge for a relatively low price. Properly targeted ads will let you promote your business to the exact group of people likely to be interested in your offerings. Now for the more technical details.
- Use geo-targeting
While it is true that if and when your restaurant gains a certain amount of prestige, people will drive in from all over the city and beyond to taste your fares, local customers are the lifeblood of most restaurants. That’s why the more people find out you’re in their area, the better, and that’s where Facebook ads can help. Geo-targeting allows you to search for potential customers by zip code as well as radius, with the smallest radius being 1 mile. When setting up an ad campaign, all you have to do is drop your pin where your restaurant is and then adjust the slider to set your preferred radius. Everyone who either lives, frequents or is on vacation in this radius (yes, you can set that too!) will be shown your ads.
- Target the right people
Just because someone happens to be nearby, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be interested in the kind of food you serve, and that’s where targeting people with other traits comes in. Facebook allows you to target your ads by sex and age, and, perhaps more interestingly, people with different declared interests. Remember those various interests sections you probably filled out when you first set up your Facebook account? That wasn’t just for fun. Facebook’s algorithms analyze every single click, so if someone in your area happens to Like PETA, they are probably going to see ads for your vegan burger place.
- Utilize LookAlike audiences to give your Facebook marketing an extra boost
LookAlike audiences, as the name itself suggests, are groups of people that have significant traits in common with your page’s fans and people the algorithm deems likely to also be interested in your product. So if you feel like you are gleaning the maximum sales potential from the group of people who already are your fans, it might be time to reach out to others like them. All you need to create a LookAlike Audience is to be the Administrator of your page. Then, follow these steps:
- Go to your Audiences
- Click the Create Audience dropdown and choose Lookalike Audience
- Choose your source
- Choose the country/countries where you’d like to find a similar set of people
- Choose your desired audience size with the slider.
- Click Create Audience
It might take up to 24 hours for your LookAlike audience to be created, but it will definitely be worth the wait!
- Don’t forget about remarketing!
Last but not last, remarketing. Because it rarely happens that someone sees one ad once and automatically decides to purchase a product. Research tells us that on average, a person will have had 7-13 touch points with a brand before they decide to take action. Tallying up these touch points and therefore bringing someone to your door faster is what remarketing does best, as the entire point is re-engaging potentially interested parties. All you have to do is tell Facebook you want your ads to be shown to people who have either visited your profile or website, and then take a step back and watch life on fast-forward. Remarketing can be a little annoying at times –– all of us have been followed around the web for weeks by a product we merely glanced at once. But the results are indisputable.
Well wasn’t that just an entire encyclopedia’s worth of information? Rest assured it was worth the read, though –– the sooner you incorporate these points into your Facebook marketing, the sooner you can make Facebook work for your business.