As a restaurant owner, you likely know how much of an impact social media can have on your restaurant’s traffic. Although it can be overwhelming to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media, hard work can reward you with increased restaurant traffic.

One of the simplest ways to improve your restaurant’s online presence is to focus on local consumers. Try these fast and straightforward tips to increase your social media presence – and restaurant traffic – today.

1: Target Your Posts Based on Geography

Targeting your restaurant social media posts to reach only the people in your area, also known as geo-targeting, is an easy and effective means of improving your social media presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media advertising platforms give you the leverage to limit your audience by country, state, or even city. Each social media platform has its nuances when it comes to geo-targeting.

Facebook ads allow you the ability to create paid geo-target promotions to reach a wider range of audiences. With Twitter’s “promoted tweet” feature, you can target extremely specific locations with the only caveat being you must pay to promote and target your tweets. Instagram’s targeting can be done using location-specific hashtags, e.g. #downtownboston, #abq, #hellskitchennyc, to research which hashtags are trending in your area.

When it comes to geo-targeting, testing different audiences is a great way to hone in on your optimal crowd. We recommend starting with unpaid posts on Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, as the risk you face is shallow. Once you have found your optimal geo-targeted audiences, you can use paid campaigns to drive your sales.

2: Mentions, a great Inter-persons Promotion

A successful way to use social media is to create a social media-based promotion where the customer can “like” your restaurant’s page, or mention your post to receive an in-store promotion. Not only is this an excellent incentive for social media users to try your restaurant, but it is also a great way to gauge how effective your social media campaigns are. Paired with geo-targeting, this can be a powerful digital marketing tool to increase restaurant traffic.

Whenever someone name-drops your brand or hashtag online, it leaves a digital footprint about such a brand; although it could be positive or negative, the important thing is to understand how it works. Every single mention is an opportunity to engage with your audience and shape the publics’ perception of your brand.

Here’s an example: upload a Facebook post accompanied by a tantalizing picture of your promo item with the phrase “Mention the ‘BrandName 2 for 20 specials’ deal and receive two steak entrees and an appetizer for only $20, this week only.”

3: Use Hashtags to Create Social Buzz

Hashtags can provide a whole new level of social media interaction and interest for your business. By targeting your posts with popular hashtags, you can reach customers searching for restaurants in your area. This marketing strategy works by merely by adding location-based hashtags to your posts such as #NYC, #restaurantaustralia, or #downtowndenver.

Once you have done a bit of experimenting and found your #sweetspot, branch out by creating your own personally branded hashtags. Including a hashtag of your restaurant name or a weekly promo will create consistent interest.

Commonly, restaurants post images to Instagram or Facebook accompanied by a hashtag specific to that day e.g., #TacoTuesday or #WineWednesday. This method can generate anticipation for daily specials from week to week.

Instagram allows users to search by hashtag. As a result, you will have access to all users’ images if they include your restaurant in a hashtag. Also, you will begin to notice that regulars who post pictures will bring in friends who have seen their Instagram or Facebook feeds.

Example: A popular restaurant in Nashville, AMOT Eatery, has mastered hashtags and created an increased following based on them. Each Tuesday, the restaurant posts a picture of some delicious food, along with a location-based hashtag (#EastNashville), a business-specific hashtag: (#amoteatery), and a weekly promotion hashtag (#TapasTuesday). The hashtag posts do not take more than a few minutes a day but create social media excitement that many establishments can only dream of.

Lavu Pro Tip: As you brainstorm hashtags, turn to your restaurant management system and create a relevant hashtag named after your best-seller.

4: Post your specials DAILY

By posting a daily special, you can entice hungry people that follow you on your various social media pages to come to your restaurant that day. Using this technique, along with geo-targeting, can bring in a swarm of ravenous lunch and dinner customers.

Try pairing your daily special posts with a photo of the specific dish, as this can add an element of interest from your potential customers. Invite your eat-in customers to follow your social media profiles by printing your profile name or URL on your menus and gift cards.

You could also employ the use of influencer marketing to promote your restaurant. Influencer marketing involves paying popular accounts or pages on various social media platforms to advertise your restaurant to their audience.

Example: A hungry office worker down the street from your restaurant is daydreaming about where to grab lunch. He casually scrolls through his Facebook newsfeed and sees a photo of your lunch special either from your or an influencer, and he’s immediately sold and probably inviting his work friends to lunch.

5: Post Regularly to Maintain Consistent Interest

Regular, consistent posting is critical to maintaining an active audience on your social media page. The more followers and regulars you gain, the higher the expectation is for you to post regularly. For instance, be sure not to skip #TacoTuesday if you have chosen that as a weekly post.

From a more technical standpoint, the algorithm Facebook uses to determine which posts show up on your customer’s Facebook feed relies on how consistently that person interacts with your posts. Therefore, the more consistent and constant your posts are, the higher the probability your customers will interact with your posts.

You will consistently show up in a customer’s feed if users frequently like, comment, or share your regular posts. If you stop posting, or your frequency of posts is highly varied, you risk not showing up on a customer’s feed at all. By creating and maintaining a consistent social media presence, your audience will be looking for your posts. This way, you will reach a large audience already familiar with your locations.

6: Respond to Reviews

People love to review online, especially when they have an outstanding or horrible experience. Even more importantly, people love to read reviews when choosing a local restaurant. Pay attention to what people are saying about your restaurant on platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and Zomato. A good rule of thumb is to respond to reviews within 24 to 48 hours.

The best response to negative reviews is to apologize and request an opportunity for redemption. Every restaurant has good nights and not-so-good-nights, and you may be able to save a customer by admitting fault and offering to resolve the situation. Enhance your restaurant’s online image with a running dialogue between you and your customers.

Try these quick and simple techniques today to increase your social media presence. Dedicating just a few minutes to your social media accounts daily can create a customer base to last you (and your restaurant) a lifetime.

Conclusion

Social media marketing helps a business to improve communication with existing as well as potential customers. Once a restaurant takes to social media platforms, individuals interested in what your restaurant has to offer, get the opportunity to interact with your business.

They can express their feelings about the food and services provided by your restaurants as well as request for more of your products. Also, the ability to leave feedback is one feature of social media that all business needs and should effectively capitalize on, in the most constructive way possible.