FOODSERVICE BUSINESS

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RESTAURANTS: FIVE BEST PRACTICES TO HELP YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

In 2021, most restaurants are aware of the importance of having a presence on social media. Without social media for restaurants, the 45% of diners who say they've tried a restaurant because of a restaurant's social media post would never find your restaurant.

However, without a dedicated staff member with a social media marketing background, many owners and managers (and sometimes servers and other staff members) are throwing posts at the wall to see what sticks.

That's why we put together a list of the five most important best practices to keep in mind when posting on social media for restaurants:
1. Know your customers
Not all customers are on all social media platforms. For example, most restaurants are quick to sign up for Facebook, which is perfect if you're targeting boomers or those between 25-34. Those age groups account for the largest groups on Facebook.

On the other hand, if you're looking to target older millennials or Generation X, Twitter may be a better bet, as 44% of Twitter users are between 30-49 years old. If you're looking to reach 18-24 year-olds, TikTok could be your best option.

While most people are on multiple social media platforms, taking a step back and observing the customers already coming into your restaurant will help you figure out which social media platforms will work for you. Then you can work smarter, not harder!
2. Keep It visual
Just like Google, all social media platforms use an algorithm that determines which content is shown to most users. The goal of this algorithm is to help people find the content they'll most enjoy … while keeping them spending more and more time on the social media site.

Now, you may be tempted to think that long, blog-style content would be the most popular because it would take longer to read. In reality, the opposite is true, with the best length for a Facebook post being between 25 and 55 characters. While some social media platforms allow longer text, being clear and concise is universally important on all platforms.

And while short text is more engaging than long text, it's ultimately visual posts that get the most engagement and reach. Video posts do the best (with live video getting the most engagement), but even posts with an image of your delicious menu items will be more beneficial than just a straight text post.

If you'd like to learn more about the optimal posting practices for a variety of social media networks, we highly recommend checking out this guide from Social Media Today.
3. You might not need to post as often as you think
Time and time again, we've seen small businesses go all-in on social media … only to get burned out a month later. And we get it: trying to manage all of the most popular social media platforms with regular and unique content is a lot, and you already have so much on your plate.

While knowing which platforms your customers are on will help you work more efficiently, so will knowing how often to post. Fun fact: it's not as often as you think! Hubspot found that Facebook pages with less than 10,000 fans (aka, many restaurants) experience a 50% drop in engagement if they post more than once a day. Posting anywhere from 3-7 times a week is ideal, and creates much less stress for you.

Instagram gives you a bit more flexibility, but about three posts a week is ideal. However, you can post up to twice a day without hurting your engagement.

In contrast, it's advised to post on social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Tiktok multiple times a day. With YouTube, you can get away with as little as once a week.
4. Create content that resonates
One of the easiest ways to create content that resonates is by posting a variety of content. After all, we all get bored of seeing the same thing over and over again! For example, Syndicate Bar & Billards and The Alchemist Cafe shared current menu items and promotions.

You can keep things fresh (but easy to manage) by creating a content type schedule that you stick to every week. If you know going into your week that you'll need one graphic review post, one video talking about the special of the week, one behind-the-scenes video, and two posts that will feature photos of menu items, then you can gather that content at the beginning of the week and schedule it out using a tool like HootSuite or Buffer.

Another way to post great content that resonates is by sharing content from your best advocates: your happy customers! People have loved to post pictures of their food on social media as long as social media has existed, so share that content. After all, people are a lot more likely to believe your customers when they say your food is delicious than they are your chef. That's why word-of-mouth marketing will always be king!
5. Interact with your customers
One of the most important things you can do is interact with your customers. Not only is it great to share their posts, but you should at the very least like their comments any time they post on your content. It's even better if you thank them or start a conversation!

It's so important that 71% of people are more likely to recommend your restaurant to others if you've responded to them quickly on social media.

Don't just react to the positive posts though. As much as sharing and engaging with positive content from your customers is important, responding to negative content is more so.

No matter what type of business you run, it's inevitable that you're going to come across a disgruntled or dissatisfied customer. One of the worst responses you can give is no response! You don't want to drag the interaction out on social media, but you do want to make sure your customer feels heard and seen, and that you communicate the next steps for a resolution.
Next actions
Social media is one of the most important free tools that restaurants have in their marketing arsenal. Use it well, and it can be a prime source of new visitors to your establishment!

If you're looking for ways to promote new menu items (like delicious pizza) to your social media followers, check out these tips for promoting new menu items!

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