Restaurant Success Tips

Professional restaurant reviews and public relations events can increase the visibility of your restaurant, but these days, it’s your social media presence that counts. A study from Deloitte finds that social media informs 47% of consumers’ buying choices, dining included.

It’s not just consumers that are monitoring your social media branding and presence, either. Google includes your social follows, likes, and shares connected to your website in their page ranking algorithm. Boost both your social media presence and your website SEO by tackling Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Most restaurants and bars have picked up on the trend; nearly 40% of all casual, family, and fine dining establishments have a robust social media presence. If you are confused by social media, have an aversion to it, or don’t have great results, there’s no better time than the present to become an expert.

Below, we share all you need to know about using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to build your social media presence, generate more sales, and stand out from the crowd. Gain more social media exposure to boost your presence and get the most out of a free form of advertising.

The Differences Between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

First things first, you must understand the differences between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as social networks.

Repurpose your blog posts and other creative content for each social network to increase your presence online.

As a general rule of thumb, never, ever post the same text for all your social media accounts. While you can post the same photo, the caption and frequency of your posts must be different. Below we break down usage specifics:

How to Best Use Facebook

Facebook is the ideal social platform for:

  • Check-ins
  • Promotions
  • Generating customer relationships
  • Customer service

Facebook is an active community, so you can show more of your restaurant’s conversational personality here than on Instagram or Twitter. Avoid sales like language in your Facebook marketing campaign and focus more on providing your followers with valuable information, such as:

  • Daily specials
  • Upcoming events
  • New changes

Post no more than twice a day, although you are recommended to post only once a day. Interactions will drop-off if you overshare on Facebook.

Take a look at Facebook Groups and Events local to your restaurant, and use them to network and reach more people online. Joining events as a Facebook business page shows your customers where you’ll be and gives event attendees a chance to check out your restaurant.

Lavu Hot Tip: Register your restaurant as a “Place” on Facebook so guests can check-in. Their friends and followers will see the check-in on their newsfeed, and inspire them to visit your restaurant another time.

How to Best Use Instagram

Instagram is one of the hottest selling tools for retail companies and restaurants. With compelling photos and an engaged audience, you can turn your Instagram account into a high-functioning, sales-converting machine.

Use Instagram for:

  • Photos
  • Short videos
  • CoContests
  • Promotions
  • Hashtags

Post daily on Instagram up to two or three times, although it’s recommended to only post once a day unless your content is extremely appealing. Otherwise, you will just annoy your followers.

Lavu Hot Tip: Create a unique hashtag for your restaurant to include in every post. Soon your customers will pick up on the hashtag and use it, too. When your unique hashtag is selected, followers will be redirected to a gallery of photos that include your hashtag.

Don’t forget to geotag your restaurant in every photo!

Drive more engagement and follows on Instagram with this easy dessert tip.

How to Best Use Twitter

Twitter requires ongoing maintenance, so only use Twitter if you can assign someone to stay on top of your account vigilantly. In the Twitter-verse, expediency matters a lot, and you don’t want people to complain that you are not fast enough in responding.

Twitter is best used for:

  • Promotions
  • Customer Service
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Connecting with reporters and influencers

You can tweet three times or more a day, with engagement only slightly decreasing after the third tweet.

Lavu Hot Tip: Use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets in advance. (It’s free!)

How to Run a Facebook Ad for Your Restaurant

Facebook ad campaigns are an excellent way to increase foot traffic to your restaurant or bar. Facebook ads allow you to:

  • Boost your posts
  • Advertise an offer
  • Direct people to your website
  • Promote your business page

Facebook gives the option to target a specific audience by location, age, and, even, by interests. This gives you the freedom to target a brand new audience or target a specific group of people over extended periods of time.

For instance, if you are in a college town and school is about to begin, you can post advertisements on Facebook that attract new and returning students. Just create a target audience group between the ages of 17 and 25 with interest in your city’s college, and your ad will appear in front of Facebook users with the maximum likelihood of visiting your restaurant.

Ad copy doesn’t have to be direct sales copy, either. On Facebook, informational content is the most effective. Start sharing recipes with your community instead of a promotion, and you will attract more loyalty and interest over time.

For more on how sharing recipes on social media boosts your marketing strategy, check out this article from Lavu.

Connect with Influencers

Who exactly are influencers? you might be wondering. Essentially, it’s anyone with a big online presence:

  • Professional newspaper or magazine critics
  • Food bloggers
  • Instagram influencers (They tend to have over 10,000 followers on Instagram.)
  • Public figures

Having a public figure with two million followers post a photo at your restaurant would do wonders for your visibility. But the chances of that happening are slim. Instead, you’ll be better off focusing on food bloggers and writers. Studies show that 81% of US consumers trust blogs for consumer advice and recommendations, and 61% made a purchase because of a blog recommendation.

To engage with your local community of influencers, do your research on who is leading the dining conversation online. Then, send out personal invitations to every influential writer for a night at your restaurant. You can turn it into a Night for Writers, inviting the whole group to mix and mingle or invite them to come to your restaurant on their own or with friends. Whichever way you choose to go, make sure writers write about your restaurant afterward. Their followers will notice the post or article and come to your restaurant in no time.

How to Use Hashtags to Promote Your Restaurant

Hashtagging is simple once you know how to use hashtags. A hashtag is kind of like a virtual shelf, where similar objects from different companies will be grouped together in one, easy-to-find place. When someone selects a hashtag, he or she will be directed to a new page showing photos that include the hashtag.

There are two types of hashtags:

  1. Unique
  2. Niche

Unique hashtags are ones that you would create for your restaurant or bar. Such as, for your restaurant, for a contest your restaurant is running, or even for a special promotion you have coming up.

Niche hashtags already exist, so you won’t be creating anything new. Instead, you will be riding the popularity of niche hashtags with the intention of appealing to a specific demographic.

They could be geographical, industry-related, or event-driven. Select niche hashtags that have over 5,000 tags but less than 30,000 tags. By staying within this range, you can guarantee high visibility without getting lost in a sea of similar tags.

Also, avoid hashtagging on Facebook. Instead, hashtag almost exclusively on Instagram, and occasionally on Twitter.

Post High-Quality Visual Content

Social media users are demanding visual and attractive content, so aim for posting professional-looking photos and videos every time. Fortunately, you don’t need to invest in a professional camera or be an expert in graphic design to do that. There are a number of mobile phone apps to help you improve the quality of your visual content:

  • VSCOcam
  • Afterlight
  • SnapSeed
  • Fused
  • Canva

Restaurants are chock-full of interesting visual moments to capture and share online:

  • Signature dishes
  • Your chefs hard at work
  • Attractive cocktails
  • Special events
  • DJs or live bands
  • Guests

 Use the advice above to make your restaurant stand out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your restaurant has personality, and social media lets you show it off! With these social media tips, you will soon build a loyal community, attract new customers, and have an irresistible social media presence.