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Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

January 16, 2023

If you want to stay informed and connect with your customers, then utilizing social media is essential. With the help of social media, not only can you engage more people but also convert them into loyal clients. So don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to grow your business!

Formulating an effective social media strategy is a must when it comes to restaurant marketing. This can range from simply sharing photos of specials and promotions across all platforms, or investing in high-performing channels for more targeted promotion strategies. Either way you decide to go about it, your restaurant will benefit significantly from having such a plan in place.

Struggling to figure out where to begin with your restaurant’s social media marketing strategy? Looking for creative ways to promote your eatery on various platforms? Don’t worry — we have the answers. 

Why Is Social Media Important For Restaurants?

So what can social media restaurant marketing offer my business? At its core, it’s an essential element in building and expanding your customer base.

Social Media has been a game-changer for the way we communicate and engage with one another, as well as how companies in all types of industries connect with their customers. This is especially true for restaurants that wish to stay competitive: having an active social media presence isn’t just beneficial – it’s essential!

As restaurant customers become more and more digitally inclined, developing an online presence that stands out has never been so important. With this in mind, your digital identity should be able to accomplish the following:

  • Provide information and open communication with customers
  • Give your restaurant the opportunity to be found online
  • Allow you to share your food and recipes visually online
  • Add professionalism and legitimacy to your restaurant

In this day and age, it is essential for your restaurant to use social media in order to maintain an open dialogue with guests as well as a successful marketing strategy.

How Restaurants Use Social Media

Restaurants have tapped into the potential of social media, utilizing their platforms in entertaining, informative and creative ways. From Facebook to Instagram & TikTok to Twitter – here’s a comprehensive list of all the amazing things restaurants are doing on these platforms:

  • Post high-quality food photos
  • Post seasonal, daily, or weekly menus
  • Share customer content
  • Communicate with customers
  • Share recipes
  • Show behind-the-scenes photos and videos
  • Highlight employees like chefs, servers, bartenders, and others
  • Share changes in hours or additional locations

How do I make the most of my Instagram?

Social Media Today revealed that 30% of millennials won’t go to restaurants with a poor Instagram presence. The influence of Instagram on consumer decisions is only getting bigger, which means your page’s reputation can be just as essential as your website. Your profile setup and aesthetic are fundamental elements in making sure you have an appealing profile for potential customers!

Your Instagram bio should be an inspired combination of clarity and creativity. After all, your account’s visuals will do the talking for you- so no need to go overboard with descriptors! Consider it a version of a LinkedIn profile: concise yet intriguing. A great example is from @ParadisoDallas in Dallas: “Seasonal Fare inspired by Southern Europe’s coastal approach to dining offering lunch, dinner, & weekend brunch”. It’s simple, concise, and yet captivating.

When setting up your Instagram account, make sure you choose the business option. While a business and creator account are similar, we would recommend choosing the business option – not only because you are one but, you will be able to add location options, create sponsored ads, add contact options, and more!

Lastly, you need to maintain a consistent aesthetic in your account. That does not mean every photo or reel has to be professionally done. It just means it needs to be consistent. Think about your brand and go from there. Are you a seafood restaurant with a lot of turquoise and white? Or a moody steakhouse? If users see something that is consistently visually appealing they are more likely to engage more (and book a reso).

When planning what to post, think of the color schemes that go well with your theme. When you find an aesthetic you love, set up a consistent editing process and use it for each post. One of my personal favorites is Lightroom. Again, your photos don’t have to be perfect – consistency is what is key. And, when choosing UGC to post, look for photos that fit into your aesthetic. Last but not least, use a scheduling app that allows you to preview your grid before posting like VistaSocial, Planoly, or Later.

Here are a few of my favorite restaurant instagram accounts:

How should I use Facebook?

Having a Facebook page for your business is essential. Unlike Instagram, managing and keeping up with your Facebook page doesn’t require quite as much effort–you don’t need to be aesthetically savvy, use hashtags or post as frequently. Facebook is a great platform for reaching an older demographic as well as running social ads.

Just like Instagram, you will want to set you page us as a “Local Business or Place”. Most users go to Facebook for information so you will want to be sure your location, contact information, website, and hours of operation are always up to date. It is also important to include an online ordering link and/or a reservation link. The best way to use Facebook, for a restaurant, is to post announcements (specials/promotions), hours of operation and share articles in which your restaurant was featured.

Of course you can post the same content that you post on Instagram. But, we recommend never posting the same content on the same day. It’s really important that the content be unique for each platform.

What is TikTok and how do I use it?

Over the last three years, TikTok has revolutionized short-form videos and continues to expand. If you’re looking for a way to get your business out there into the public eye, it may be in your best interest to hop on board this rapidly growing platform – after all, 74% of users have confessed that they had been motivated by TikTok visuals and content to learn more about a brand or product!

TikTok is a great platform to showcase your menu and, most importantly, share your brand’s personality with everyone! Video content is a fantastic way to engage with customers and be vocal about who you are as a business. Here are some pro tips on how to make use of this platform:

  • Debuting new menu items
  • Showcasing your dining experience
  • Participating in TikTok trends

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail the perfect TikTok right away! With practice, your skills will improve quickly. For inspiration and motivation, take a look at what other restaurants and businesses are doing. There are countless ideas on this platform so take it seriously – who knows? You could be the next restaurant or business trending on TikTok! That being said, if you don’t have the capacity to take it on, don’t sweat it. It would be better to manage one social media platform well than manage 3 poorly. Take on what you know you can handle and add on when you’re ready.

Here are some fun TikTok accounts to follow for inspiration:

Social Media for Restaurants