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Benefits and Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing

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Social media marketing has quickly become one of the most effective marketing strategies a brand can use. Over 80% of consumers reported that social media significantly impacts their buying decisions. Over the last 18 years, the dramatic growth in interactive digital channels has skyrocketed social media marketing to reach more consumers than television and radio marketing. In March of 2022, there were 4.6 billion social media users globally. That's over 58% of the world’s population and results in a 10% user increase over one year alone. It’s safe to say the social media industry is constantly growing and evolving! 

Marketers are taking advantage of the upwards trend in social media by incorporating this form of digital marketing into their strategy. The use of social media marketing will provide a significant competitive advantage that can deliver rapid and more effective results than traditional marketing. If you’re not already using social media for your restaurant, now’s the time to start!

What is Social Media Marketing?

By definition, social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media to build a company’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. Not only does it provide companies with a way to engage with new and existing customers, but social media marketing also offers purpose-built data analytics that allows marketers to track the success of their efforts. Social media has changed the ways of marketing forever because of the three core marketing areas it covers: customer data, interaction, and connection. 

Customer Data: Social media platforms have built-in services that share valuable customer data and analytics. This information can be used to produce actionable insights and ideas for experimentation. Basic identity data can be used to identify your customer demographic and target audience. You’ll also be able to access engagement and behavioral data which can help determine how well a campaign is doing and what needs to be changed. The information provided through social media will give the insight needed to develop a well-designed marketing strategy and boost marketing outcomes. 

Interaction: Through direct interaction and non-direct interaction (passive “liking” posts) on social media, businesses can leverage free media word of mouth as advertising. Engagement between existing and potential customers on social media can positively impact a consumer's decision. About 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a critical influence in their purchasing decision. Media interaction is valuable because of its measurability!

Connection: Social media is the perfect place for restaurants to connect with existing and potential guests! The growing platforms and unique algorithms serve as a way for brands to get their name further out into the public. Users may be scrolling through their feed and see a post for a restaurant they’ve never heard of before. With a proper marketing strategy, you can easily catch their attention and secure a new lead!

5 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
1. Drives Traffic

Social media is an excellent tool for creating awareness. The fastest way to reach your guests is by posting on your accounts. One post can be automated to release at a set time, and be distributed to all of your followers and more with the click of a button. Guests may even turn on post notifications so you can reach them even faster! Restaurants can place links in their bios to drive traffic to their website and other online resources. This marketing method can be used to promote events, campaigns, new items, and much more!

2. Increases Popularity

Sharing photos of your meals online has become a common trend. When your restaurant has a social media presence it allows guests to recognize you. Something as simple as being tagged in a guest's photo will increase the number of people who see your page. The beauty of social media is that content is easily shareable! Many restaurants have hosted online giveaways that boost their engagement and popularity as well. Guests will share your posts for all of their followers to see, therefore spreading your brand's name to a larger audience. 

3. Reach Target Audience

Each social platform has an algorithm that drives posts to people who would want to see them. This makes reaching your target audience a piece of cake! With a well-balanced strategy that markets your brand toward the ideal audience you’d want, you’ll be able to reach them. Utilizing proper hashtags and social media groups is also a way to place your brand in the right location. Guests will be able to find your restaurant organically. 

4. Create Leads

Consistently creating engaging and entertaining content will attract guests to your restaurant. Engagement with customers is easily accessible through social media. Building a relationship with a potential guest can be done through interactions on your posts or even through direct messaging. By building a relationship you’ll gain their trust and encourage them to support your restaurant. This will drive traffic towards your website link and create potential loyal guests!

5. Improve Customer Service

Viral posts on social media have the power to make or break a business. Oftentimes customers will share their experience at a restaurant with their followers. Restaurants have the chance to combat any negative reviews by providing exceptional customer service online. Employees can be trained for these situations and devise a customer service strategy to best support their guests and fulfill their needs. Monitoring guest posts about your restaurant will allow you to prevent a negative review before it goes viral. 

Restaurant Social Media Marketing Statistics
  • 89% of U.S. diners have a social media account (Source)
  • 62% of U.S. diners log in to their social media account several times per day (Source)
  • 42% of diners have interacted with restaurants on at least one social media platform (Source)
  • 72% of customers have used Facebook to make restaurant decisions, based on comments and images shared by others (Source)
  • 71% of customers say they’re more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly on social media (Source)
  • 57% of social media mentions about restaurants were praising quick service (Source)
  • 99% of Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to use social media to choose restaurants than Baby Boomers (Source)
  • If you include images in Tweets you’ll get 150% more retweets (Source)
  • Client spend increased by 40% or more for restaurant brands who engaged with followers on social media (Source)
  • The most popular restaurant hashtags in 2020 were #restaurant, #food, and #foodie (Source)
What Social Media Platforms to Use

Every business has different focuses that will impact which social media platforms are right for them. Here are the platforms most commonly used in the restaurant industry:

Instagram: This platform is the most effective for restaurants because it’s all about visuals. People are more inclined to scroll through images daily rather than articles, menus, and more. Instagram users may even make your content for you! When they share their aesthetic photos of your food all you have to do is repost them! Engagement with your audience is made simple on Instagram. Their story feature offers interactive polls and questionnaires that will keep your guests entertained and provide valuable feedback. One of the newest features on Instagram is its reels. Reels are short videos that customers can scroll through just like the photos on their feed. This feature will come in handy for restaurants that may want to eventually move onto the platform TikTok (a video entertainment app) and would like to try out video content first.

Facebook: Restaurants can implement an effective marketing strategy on Facebook by building a strong online presence and connecting with their guests. This platform is best for driving traffic to your website because it allows you to share links within your posts. Facebook also offers group pages which can be useful for reaching a specific target audience and connecting guests with each other. Just like Instagram, both photos and videos can be posted on Facebook, but the main advantage it holds is the ability to write longer captions! Be sure to utilize hashtags and location services on the app!

Twitter: Posts on Twitter, known as tweets, can go viral very fast! While there is a limit of 280 characters per post, this is a great platform for engaging with your audience and posting entertaining content! The platform lets users repost others' content by retweeting them. This shares the post to their audience as well as the audience of anyone else who retweets it. That’s why Twitter is so effective for creating viral posts! Social media is a cost-effective way to market your restaurant!

 

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