Marketers are continually telling us Social Media is very important for promoting your business but what are the practical things you can do to make the most of these tools (social media, not the marketers)? Specifically, how can you utilise Instagram and Facebook to maximise the benefits to your restaurant?
Instagram is a social media app that allows users to share photos and short videos online to other users. If you add a #hashtag it will be linked to any other posts on the same topic. It can be as specific as your brand name e.g. #eddierockets OR more general like #bestburger #eatclean or the ubiquitous #foodporn. Instagram users seem to love taking and looking at pictures of food. If you’re in the restaurant business, this can be a very effective way of getting new customers. As long as you’re doing your work right in the kitchen, there are several ways to use Instagram to help you boost your business – if your food is bad, the types of posts customers will upload to Instagram will have a negative impact on the business. Some restaurants take the route of stopping customers from taking photos of their food but that approach will alienate some of them and encourage them to post negatively. If you embrace it and have confidence in the quality of your food it will be a boon for the business.
Top Instagram Tips
1 – Your Own Photos
Anyone with a smart phone can take high qualities photos of your food – someone in your business will have an eye for a good image and they can cheaply and easily upload pictures of your tastiest and best-presented food. The better your food looks in your pictures, the more likely customers are to come out and try it.
2 – Pics Win Prizes
Offering prizes for Instagram pictures of your restaurant or food is a great way to involve your customers with your brand. Gift cards or free menu items are examples of ways of rewarding your customers for choosing to post about your business. Make sure they hashtag your brand to generate publicity and attract new customers. These Instagram promotions don’t always have to be photos of your food; they can focus on decor or involve selfies of your customers enjoying your restaurant. Dunkin Donuts this year had a competition where Instagrammers were asked to post photos of a sandwich they were eating with a ‘Dunkin Donuts upgrade hashtag’ – those who were picked received vouchers.
3 – Show Behind the Scenes
Customers these days are more interested than ever before in what goes on behind the scenes. Instagram is the perfect platform for showcasing the people and methods you use in preparing your food. Obviously, your kitchen will need to be clean and well run – but it would be anyway, right? Showing your staff at work will also humanize your brand.
4 – Reward Free Publicity
Customers, no matter how many followers they have, who post pictures of your food and your business give you free publicity. Clearly, if you see Rozanna Purcell eating a burger in your restaurant make sure to get her to post a picture to her 168,000 followers. You could offer a discount or a free side order to anyone who tags your name, this will increase the chances that they will actually do it. Even something as small as sharing their post will generate goodwill and make the customer think well of the brand. Comodo, a Latin American restaurant in New York, produced a crowd-sourced picture menu on Instagram. Patrons took pictures of the dishes they ordered and uploaded them with the hashtag #comodomenu.
5 – Daily Special
Instagram is a great way to promote your daily special or LTOs. Make sure to ask your customers to follow your account and then you can post a picture of your special looking it is best before the lunchtime rush. This makes it likely that you’ll get regulars coming in to try the latest offering.
All of the Instagram tips mentioned above can be mostly applied to Facebook as well and indeed many Instagrammers have their IG and FB accounts linked so the photos they post on Instagram will show up on their Facebook timeline too.
Top Five Tips for Using Facebook for Your Business.
1 – Optimise Your Posting Times
It’s important to think about the frequency and the content of your posts. If you post too often people reading it might come to see it as spam, too seldom could mean not getting noticed.
Different times of the day have higher engagements than others – the highest traffic comes between 1 pm and 3 pm – lunch and just after.
However you need to consider the suitability of your message being posted at these times and adapt according to when you think your customers want to hear from you – e.g. weekend and later evening posts might work better for fast food businesses, when people are thinking of getting a takeaway – or offering lunch deals just after lunch might not be the ideal time to get interaction.
What is the best time of the day to post? 1 pm to get the most shares, 3 pm to get the most clicks.
2 – Generate More Interactive posts
Think of images and video as these get 39% more interaction. Take pictures of good-looking plates of food to attract some engagement. Also, keep it short and sweet – posts with 80 characters or less get 27% more engagement.
3 – Use Online Tools
Finally ask the experts – Facebook provides free online support and tutorials on how to set up and manage your Facebook page.
4 – Set Up A Vanity URL
A vanity URL is a custom URL for your Facebook page. It makes your page look more professional and easier for the user to remember.
Standard URL – https://www.facebook.com/frydays.diner.3/?fref=nf
Vanity URL – www.facebook.com/FrydaysDiner
Steps to Create a Vanity URL
- Login to Facebook, with the account that administers your Facebook Page.
- Go to your page [About] tab.
- Click on [Page Info].
- Click on [Facebook Web Address]
- Click on [Create a web address]
- Enter your business name as the URL so now it looks like facebook.com/FrydaysDiner
- Check availability, if not available make small changes so it looks as similar as possible to your business name. Page URLs can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”)
5 – Your Logo Is Your FB Profile Picture
For branding purpose, it is recommended that you use your logo as your Facebook profile picture. This will be the image that users first see and associate with your page, make sure it is a professional, clean version of your logo.
At its smallest your profile picture appears at 43×43 pixels, to recognise your picture at this size it must be very identifiable, avoid busy background and noise. Upload a square photo 180 pixels wide and 180 pixels tall. You can use a free web tool such as www.canva.com to resize your logo to correct dimensions.
If you’re thinking about getting your business set up for marketing but this seems like you don’t have enough time for it. If you’re set up for Online Ordering, why not get set up for Managed marketing services?
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