See an ROI with Your Restaurant Social Media

With the wide variety of social media options, knowing where to start is nearly impossible. Whether you have one account or many, there are key aspects to focus on to ensure you get a high return on investment (ROI).  If you are hesitant about social media, keep in mind that about 50% of diners are active in existing social media platforms. Social media really is the name of the game and can provide a high ROI when approached with care. 

Currently, social media is free, easy, and convenient. It is a balancing act that should be strategic and consider the amount of energy and time spent on it. Here is a more in-depth look at key aspects and how social media management can have a high ROI.  

Choose One Method of Social Media  

Whether you are new to social media or a personal expert, it is always a best practice to choose one platform and stick to it. Focus your efforts on posting regular information, specials, new menu items, and the like. Of the more than fifty platforms, the top runners in social media today include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and SnapChat.  

Take the time to set up your restaurant’s profile completely, including your logo, address, phone number, email address, hours, and menu. The more information you include upfront helps build trust and further interest.  

Choosing the Right Platform 

If you are not sure which platform to use, think about your target demographics. Gearing toward the Millennials? Go for SnapChat. Know that diners will be over 35? Facebook may be a better choice. Another way to help decide is by researching your competitor’s social media presence.  

Here is some additional information on the top runners mentioned above:  

  • Facebook – nearly all social media users, regardless of additional platforms used, are members of Facebook. This option is great as a basic website substitute, and an excellent way to market your restaurant. Facebook can be used for all types of information and is easily shared between users, who often share, like, and recommend what they see to their friends. 
  • Instagram – a fast-growing platform for visual content, either photos or videos. About 65% of users are between 18 and 34 years old.  This is a perfect platform for restaurants with highly photogenic and specialty dishes. Keep in mind, you will need someone skilled in food photography. 
  • Twitter – for those who want to keep on top of the newest information of their interests or ‘followed’ pages. Twitter can be either text, images, or a mixture of both. Like Facebook, Twitter has a very active community of users who retweet and comment on tweets.  
  • Tumblr – a site for users to join communities and explore cultural conversations. Typical users are younger and quite likely to be a ‘fan’ base, rather than general users seen on Facebook or Twitter. 
  • SnapChat – users post short videos, photos, and edited photos to update their followers. Posts have a 24-hour limit, so very regular posting is necessary to keep up with the crowd. 

Additional information about social media platforms and what to post can be found in this previous article.  

Focus on Spontaneous Posts That Are Relevant to Customers 

To be successful in your social media efforts, your highest ROI will be to post regular, relevant information. From daily specials to photos of tasty plating, to events and holiday hours, your opportunities for creating posts will be innumerable. Some may be impromptu photos of happy customers (with permission), or staff working on a dish. Relevant posts are much more likely to be shared, commented on, or emoted on (like, happy, love, etc.).  

The best part of posting a quick image with a short description is that it takes very little time. Literally two minutes of your time could provide more ROI than the ad you put in a local foodie magazine. To keep things spontaneous, be sure to post at different times of the day and mix up the types of things you are posting.  

A strategy sure to provide ROI is new and fresh posts. Particularly keep in mind:  

  • Photos are popular among users, and essential on some platforms. Any pictures should be bright, clean, and appeal to users’ senses. This will inspire emoting, sharing, and reposting.  
  • “Special of the Day” is acceptable if it is truly a new special every day. 
  • Posting holiday event information at least three weeks in advance, then reminders at two weeks, one week, and one or two days before, as well as the day of the event. Keep these posts to the point! Also, be sure to post images after the event, which typically stirs additional interest in future events. 
  • Special holiday hours/closures the day before is a good practice. 
  • Be aware of local events and engage customers by offering a ‘mention this post’ discount during the event. 

Know Your Customer Base and Posting Results 

While you will have a good idea of your typical customer base, you may be surprised at who your social media customers are. Take some time to dig into your followers, sharers, and re-posting customers. This is a kind of market research, and will answer the following types of questions:  

Understanding Post Performance 

  • Which posts received the most feedback, shares, or emotes? 
  • Did certain types of posts perform better? 
  • Did any type of post perform poorly consistently? 

Understanding the Social Media Audience (Customers) 

  • What is the age range of followers?
  • Where do followers come from?
  • What are their interests?
  • Which of your competitors do they follow? 

All this information can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that there are sites and apps to assist in understanding all these things more easily. Then, in combination with your POS data information, you can customize details in your menu and customer experience to further your success. 

Over time your restaurant’s social media voice will become natural. There is some planning involved for events or specials; however, the extra time is worth every cent. With the information above and linked articles, your restaurant’s social media presence will be up and running in no time!

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