“The average guest takes pictures for 10 minutes before ordering anything,” according to Madelyn Markoe, owner of Media Noche.
And as you might have assumed, they’re not taking those pictures just for posterity, but to share the essence of their dining experience with their friends, family and followers. Tens of millions of people are already on social media, and if your bar or restaurants isn’t tapping into this juicy market of consumers, you’re really missing out.
In this Bar & Restaurant Social Media Guide; we’ll cover the social media basics for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share some of our favorite, out-of-the-box examples.
But First– the Bar & Restaurant Social Media Guide Numbers
- 59% of millennials review menus often to very often
- 69% of millennials take pictures of their food before eating it
- 30% of diners avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence
- 49% of consumers learn about food through social media
Suffice it to say that millennial-aged people and younger not only LOVE sharing their restaurant and beverage experiences, they also use it to research where to go and what to eat in the first place.
Facebook Marketing for Restaurants
The first platform we’re going to cover in this Bar & Restaurant Social Media Guide is Facebook. Many social media platforms have come and gone, but Facebook remains the OG social media platform. According to Toast’s 2019 Social Media Report, 91% of restaurateurs use Facebook to promote their bars and restaurants.
Focus on Engaging with Your Followers
Specials are great, but customers want to and expect to be able to interact with the restaurants and bars they follow on Facebook
Know When to Post Content
A breakfast spot likely will not need to post content or their latest menu item at 8 pm, whereas a hip bar probably won’t be up earlier than 11 am to post their new cocktails. If you’re a full-service restaurant, you’ll probably want to test the best times to post but keep it within your customers’ hours of operation.
Take Advantage of Facebook Events
This is a super-convenient feature for bars and restaurants to utilize, especially if your business hosts events regularly. If you’re just starting out, hosting a series of free events can be a great way to hit the ground running while also building out your brand.
Video Content Still Matters
Yep – we’re still in that era of video content. There have been several platforms devoted specifically to video content, but Facebook is still a great platform on which to use it. Kit Kat Lounge uses video in a few different ways: to debut new menu items and to show off just how much their customers love them.
Instagram Marketing for Restaurants
Next up in this Bar & Restaurant Social Media Guide is Instagram! Now Instagram is where your restaurant or bar can visually shine as a brand. Like we mentioned before, 69% of customers take pictures of their food before they eat it. So you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the best pictures of your own food AND sharing customer content as well.
Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag
There are more than 35 million combined hashtags for #restaurant and #restaurants and almost 25 million hashtags for #bars on Instagram.
Even specific food groups are incredibly popular on Instagram. #Pizza has 47.6 million posts, #CoffeeShop has 12.1 million posts and #Sushi has 27.5 posts.
Strategically using hashtags is a great way to get your brand noticed, in this increasingly noisy, food-loving world. Do your research on some of the most popular hashtag posts and proceed accordingly.
Share Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a great way to offer sneak peaks at content that you might not feature on your feed. You can use them as a way to give more info about your business, post secret menu items and showcase all the ways that make your business unique.
Bankhead Seafood, for instance, uses the Stories feature to showcase their menu, food, media mentions and reviews.
While the Cheesecake Factory used their Stories in a more static way to share that they make their food from scratch every day.
Get REALLY Good at Photography
Because of its inherent visual nature, image quality matters more on Instagram. And don’t just think about your Instagram feed as one great pic here and there, you’ll want to consider how your feed will look holistically, because that can tell a great story too.
Take Buffalo Wild Wings Feed for example, whose feed consists mostly of flat lay shots of their wings and burgers, beautiful shots of drinks served at the bar, and customers enjoying their food or excitedly getting ready to enjoy their food.
Twitter Marketing for Restaurants
Now Twitter isn’t as big a player in social media marketing for restaurants and bars as Facebook and Twitter– only 39% of restaurateurs use Twitter to promote their restaurants, according to this 2019 report. Still though, this is a platform you’ll want to keep an eye on especially because of its viral, on-trend nature.
Have Fun – Showcase Your Brand’s Personality
Out of all the social media platforms, Twitter has become a favorite for sharing pithy, witty captions, some that often go viral. Wendy’s is probably one of the best brands to emulate IF that’s your restaurant’s personality
Cheesecake Factory, on the other hand, took advantage of a recent social media viral trend called, “Everything Is Cake.”
So maybe you’re not Cheesecake Factory, but if you’re a small, locally-owned restaurant known for its great dessert cakes, why not jump on this trend and have fun promoting your food?
To Hashtag, or Not to Hashtag?
Yes – but only when and where it makes sense. You don’t want to use as many generalized hashtags as you would on Instagram. Instead, focus on hashtags that celebrate certain events, food or drink types.
Here Buffalo Wild Wings celebrated the first baseball game of the 2020 season with a great tweet that got a lot of engagement.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
If you’re new in town or struggling to gain traction, then social media marketing can help your business get off the ground.
It’s not just about having these profiles and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach– tailor your content for each platform that you’re posting on.
Do your research on hashtags, engage with your fans and followers, and most of all, have some fun with it. People WANT and EXPECT to interact with your brand on social media, so you’ll want to be sure that you have some personality behind your posts.
What To Do If It Feels Like Too Much
If you’re convinced that social media is absolutely essential for restaurants but it still sounds like more work than you’d like to do, we get you.
Maybe you didn’t get into the restaurant business to spend your days on the computer. Maybe your passion lies in menu development or in franchising. If this sounds like you, let’s get connected and we can take care of social media for your restaurant. We assign a real human being to you and they act as part of your organization, creating new content, replying to reviews, and making sure you are more active online than your competitors. It’s a true “set it and forget it” solution and we’re ready to help you get back to what you really love doing. Get started with Social High Rise today.
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.