How are you using social media at your restaurant? The answer to that question could mean the difference between a hugely successful restaurant and one that’s struggling to stay afloat. Two resources that can help you get ahead of the social media game are a restaurant social media marketing plan and a social media policy. Read on to find out why both are important, and how to use them to optimize your restaurant’s online presence.
Restaurant Social Media Marketing Plan
When you’re creating a marketing plan for your restaurant, social media should be a top priority. A single compelling Instagram post showcasing your food can attract your customers and keep them engaged. Social media also allows you to geo-target your audience for maximum results. Instead of casting a wide net, you can be specific to the people you want to reach. The same applies to demographics — for instance, a quick-serve restaurant might prefer to do targeted outreach to young adults on social media.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing
If your restaurant has a social media presence (and it should!), you have a built-in way to market your restaurant and engage directly with customers and prospects. A social media post will attract comments from your audience. If they like and share the post, they will expose your restaurant to a wider audience. You can reach even more people if any of your posts go viral.
When used right, social media channels can be beneficial to your restaurant in several ways:
- They provide information to your customers and open up lines of communication.
- They allow you to share your food photos, restaurant photos, and even recipes.
- They let customers know about specials, new menu items, and other restaurant announcements.
- They give your restaurant an opportunity to be discovered online by interested prospects.
- They add legitimacy and professionalism to your restaurant.
- They give you an opportunity to address negative reviews.
Using Social Media Platforms to Market Your Restaurant
The importance of social media platforms in marketing your restaurant cannot be overstated. Whether you’re running Facebook ads, promoting a short video, or holding a photo contest, social media brings your restaurant closer to your audience. The options for using social media to market your restaurant are seemingly limitless. You can:
- Post beautiful photos of your food
- Showcase user-generated content from your customers
- Share menu items
- Offer loyal customers gift cards and coupon codes
- Communicate with customers regularly
- Spotlight employees such as servers, chefs, and bartenders
- Show behind-the-scenes videos and photos
Tips for Successful Restaurant Social Media Marketing
A successful social media marketing campaign entails more than just posting beautiful food photos. Once you have created your social media accounts, you need to develop a plan to promote your restaurant. In addition to posting on a regular basis, be sure to do the following to achieve strong results:
- Create a visual identity for your restaurant: A visual identity will make it easy for people to associate your restaurant business with your colors, whenever they see them. The same colors you use for your physical restaurant and online ordering site should be present on your social media accounts.
- Establish your voice: Apart from visual identity, you should have a clear voice in your messages. If your brand is sassy or cool, make sure that same tone is exhibited on social media. The idea is to have a consistent voice across all different platforms. Choose the right hashtags and phrases, and create content that will resonate with your customers.
- Define your audience: It would not make sense for you to launch a marketing plan without first defining your audience. Determining who your audience is and how to reach them is extremely important in social media marketing. While Instagram is more effective for an 18-25-year-old demographic, Facebook may be ideal for an older demographic, such as 35-50-year-olds. Once you’ve defined your audience, you can tailor messages that will appeal to its members.
- Research your competitors: A good way to understand the market is to study what your competitors are doing. When you understand your competitors, you’re better poised to apply relevant strategies as part of your social media marketing plan. Consider the kinds of content your competitors are posting and the content types that have the highest engagement. Use this information to establish benchmarks for your marketing efforts and shape your content.
- Define your content: The kind of content you post has a direct effect on how your audience reacts. Social media platforms allow you to post user-generated content, sales posts, or brand posts. By posting each of these content types at regular intervals, you’re likely to have a positive outcome. For instance, sales posts are ideal if you’re offering discounts or promoting a special. On the other hand, user-generated content can be effective in getting feedback from customers and building their loyalty. Brand posts include any content that is unique to your restaurant, such as employee shots and behind-the-scenes videos.
- Consistently engage your audience: Your social media marketing plan will not be complete if you’re not engaging your audience on a regular basis. Customers want to know that they are valued, and their views matter. You can engage with them by responding to their questions and having honest discussions online. To ensure that your audience is always engaged, set aside at least 30 minutes every day to go through your channels. This could also be an opportunity to discover what people are saying about your restaurant.
A social media marketing plan is more of a necessity than an option for any restaurant hoping to succeed. With such fierce competition in the restaurant industry, only businesses with smart, forward-thinking strategies stand out. Once you’ve made progress on executing your strategy, you’ll be able to look back and take pride in all you’ve accomplished by building a strong social media presence — and all the sales you’ve made as a result!
Get the Restaurant Social Media Marketing Plan
Restaurant Social Media Policy
Social media is unquestionably an essential means of communication for restaurants. Both your employees and your customers are talking about restaurants online. In our era of social networking, a social media policy is important for effective online interaction between your restaurant, any of its employees, and past, present, and future customers. Using a social media policy template for restaurants will ensure that your policy is appropriate and covers all the necessary elements.
A social media policy will allow your restaurant to define its processes and procedures for handling online communication. For instance, after a negative interaction with a customer, an irritated server may air her grievances on social media. Although it’s common for people to complain online, she may be misunderstood, and she may accidentally escalate the situation.
With a clear social media policy, such a situation can be avoided.
Why You Need a Social Media Policy for Your Restaurant
A social media policy highlights the why, when, and how to use social media as an employee of your restaurant. It’s critical in governing the conduct of your employees online, and it makes for positive interactions rather than reputation-damaging ones. Such a policy ensures that the people in your restaurant are representing your business in a positive light.
Some of the benefits of having a social media policy are:
- It provides guidelines to employees on social media interaction.
- It details what entails inappropriate social media use while at work and thereafter.
- It addresses the use of social media by employees on behalf of the business.
How to Create a Social Media Policy for a Restaurant
When creating a social media policy for your restaurant, you need to adequately cover issues surrounding the use of social media. The scope of the policy may include an acceptable code of conduct for the employee and personal use of social media at work, among other factors. Employees must understand how they should represent themselves, what their responsibility is when it comes to social media, and what they are restricted from doing.
One of the ways of confirming that your policy covers all the pertinent issues is by using a social media policy template for restaurants. The template is designed to make the process of creating a social media policy easy. It clearly identifies the issues that need to be addressed and the proper language for communicating your policy. Apart from making your job easier, the template can be a useful tool whenever you want to update or revise your policy.
Once you have your social media marketing plan and policy in place, your restaurant will be in a much better position for a brighter future!