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Social Media Marketing Tips For Restaurants

We are truly living in a digital age these days. Pretty much everything is online, and more and more businesses are getting a social media presence. If you run a restaurant, you may be wondering why you need to be on social media. After all, you may already have a website for your restaurant, and maybe even paid advertising. Can one more channel really help? But a robust social media campaign for your restaurant is essential in this day and age.

With sites like Facebook boasting 2.934 billion daily active users and over 1 billion users on Instagram and TikTok, chances are if you have customers, those customers are on at least one of these social media platforms. That means if you aren’t on social media, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to market to those customers.

But it’s not enough to just have an Instagram or Facebook page. To truly make the most of these platforms, you need to post regularly, and you need to post the right kind of content to engage your audience. If you’re looking to launch a social media marketing campaign for your restaurant, here are a few tips you’ll need for success.

Find Your (Brand) Voice

Does your restaurant have a brand voice? If not, it should. To determine brand voice, ask yourself, what voice do I want my restaurant to take? Is it serious and sophisticated, or cheeky and playful? If your business were a celebrity, would it be more of an understated George Clooney, or would it be a fun Kevin Hart? Once you have determined your brand voice, make sure you stick with that voice. From marketing emails to social media posts, your brand voice needs to be consistent, so your customers can nail down your brand.

Need help determining your brand voice? Elmntl’s restaurant marketing team can help you find your voice and make sure your communications are consistent with that voice.

Set The Mood Board

Example of a restaurant Instagram grid
Example of a restaurant Instagram grid
Client: 21 Main at North Beach

Next, you’ll want to create a grid or mood board of images that evoke the feel of your restaurant. Use vibrant photos of food, user generated content (UGC), and other images that you think represent your brand well, or have your marketing team assist you.

A mood board or grid can help your marketing team visualize what you want your customers to see when they visit your social media page. It also helps your social media team to create more accurate posts for you and get a better understanding of your restaurant brand.

Pillars of Your Community

Do you know your brand pillars? Brand pillars are simply ideas for content types that will be promoted on your social media channels. Things like specials, menu items, cocktails, upcoming events, recipes, retail products, employee spotlights, and even your restaurant’s blog.

Once you know what brand pillars you’d like covered, your social media team can focus their posts on these pillars each month, so you’ll always cover what you need to have covered, and nothing you don’t.

Hashtag #HashtagStrategy (Get it?)

What is a hashtag strategy? After all, anyone can add any hashtag to their post without a strategy, right? The problem with adding random hashtags is that nobody may be looking for those hashtags, so they might not be as useful as you’d like them to be. On the flip side, if you choose a hashtag that is too popular, your posts can get swallowed up in a sea of posts and never reach your target audience.

Hiring a marketing team to work with you to develop robust hashtags that will get your restaurant noticed can save you lots of time and effort- time you could be using to run your business. Elmntl can help you determine a Goldilocks hashtag strategy that’s not too small, not too big, but just right.

Using UGC

Example of user generated content from an influencer for a restaurant campaign
Example of user generated content from an influencer for a restaurant campaign
Client: The Halal Guys

UGC, or user generated content, is content published to social media by your customers. 

  • Did a customer celebrate a birthday at your restaurant and tag you in their story? Share it! 
  • Did you find a photo geotagged at your restaurant location with a group of happy customers or a delicious looking meal from your kitchen? Tag the author and share the post on your own social media.
  • Is there a trusted local influencer that has a big following in your desired demographic? A paid partnership with an influencer not only creates brand awareness, influencer UGC will get your message across to a wider audience, and often for a very reasonable rate. You can even boost influencer content for greater visibility. It’s still UGC, but it’s UGC with a purpose.

How important is UGC? According to Nielsen, a staggering 84 percent of consumers say that peer recommendations are more trustworthy than advertising. This means that sharing content from real people could actually get more engagement than a professional photo you posted yourself.

The trick to using UGC is knowing which images are worth sharing, and how often you should be sharing them, something your marketing team will be happy to assist you with.

Paid Ads

Example of a social media paid ad for a restaurant
Example of a social media paid ad for a restaurant
Client: The Halal Guys

There’s no denying that paid ads work. Whether you create a post specifically to run on Instagram or Facebook, or you boost a post that performs well, a paid ad campaign is a great way to attract new users and increase sales, and to keep your current customers engaged.

Paid social media ads for your restaurant allow you to use social media data to determine your best audience, making your ad spend more effective and accurate, so you’re only targeting the demographics you want on the platforms they frequent.

The Extras

While these are just some of the basics of getting started creating a restaurant social media campaign that fits your goals, there are many other extra services that you can consider once your account is created. For example, an influencer campaign or contest is a great way to get your name out there and attract new customers. Your marketing team can help arrange special events like these once your social media presence is established.

To learn more about using social media to market your restaurant, please contact the marketing team at Elmntl for more information.


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Wiley Koehler

Wiley Koehler

Data Analyst & Ads Specialist

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