3 Holiday Social Media Ideas for Restaurants
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3 Social Media Tricks to Make Your Restaurant Stand out This Holiday Season

November 22nd, 2016 Marketing Social Media Written by Wes Parsel

holiday social media blog

Jingle Bells, holiday carolers, chestnuts roasting on an open flame, and 2,237+ unopened emails. The holidays are a noisy time with companies flooding inboxes, mailboxes, and website ad space. Millions of dollars are at stake, everyone is vying for your customer’s attention, and on top of it all — you’re juggling holiday parties, catering orders, and festive get-togethers at your restaurant.

Don’t give up! While the holidays are a busy time for both you and your customers, we’ve got a game plan that will help you grab attention (and business) amidst this snow-flurry of media.

Here are three low-cost, high impact social media tactics to guarantee you stand out this holiday season — and are easy to incorporate into your marketing mix as you plan for the new year ahead.

Want more expert tips for social media success? Download our comprehensive ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Restaurants.”

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3 Social Media Tricks to Stand Out During the Holidays

1. Target Nearby Shoppers with a Snapchat Geofilter

Snapchat has has more than 150 million daily users who spend an average of 25-30 minutes on the app each day. This year Snapchat rolled out a way for small businesses to advertise to this massive audience, with custom Snapchat Business Geofilters. With a Snapchat Geofilter, businesses like yours can submit a fun, branded design that’s stamped onto user’s picture when they’re nearby your location.

Know that locals are usually buying their holiday wreaths and trees at the farm down the street the first week of December? You can put a virtual fence around that area for an evening, a day, or a week so your restaurant’s Snapchat Geofilter shows up for all of the folks that are snapping pics while picking a tree — wishing them a happy holidays from your restaurant, and prompting them to come by afterward for a bite!

The best part: we’ll design and set up a Snapchat Geofilter for our ChowNow clients for a low, flat-rate cost.

How to set it up, with our help:

  1. Schedule a call with a ChowNow marketing specialist.chownow_snapchat_holiday_geofilter
  2. We’ll design a geofilter image that incorporates your restaurant’s logo, and meets Snapchat’s guidelines, like the example at right.
  3. We’ll hop on the phone and together visit Snapchat’s On-Demand Geofilters page, log in with your Snapchat credentials, and submit the image.
  4. You select a location and we’ll draw a virtual fence around the area you want your geofilter to be available to Snapchatters.
  5. Pick the dates and times you want your geofilter to be live.
  6. Pay, then wait up to two business days for an approval email that’s sent to the address tied to your Snapchat account.
  7. We’ll show you where to find the number of impressions from within your Snapchat account.

Don’t have a Snapchat account for your restaurant yet? We guarantee there’s a social media guru in your staff. Ask your hosts, servers, or back-of-house at the next pre-shift. We bet they’d be happy to help get your Snapchat set up and contribute to your restaurant in a new way.


2. Tell Your Authentic Story on Instagram

You know the saying, people eat with their eyes first? What better way to connect with your foodie followers than with a visual slideshow that authentically captures the culinary process and the people behind your most craved dishes.

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows you to take pictures and videos and sequence them together, each one live and viewable to your Instagram followers for 24 hours. 

Check out, for example, Kaya Street Kitchen — a ChowNow restaurant client based in LA that does an awesome job on Instagram and uses Stories to take customers behind the scenes at the restaurant. Take a page from their book, or continue reading below, for some great ideas around what you can do to craft a holiday story for your Instagram followers that gets them in the spirit and breaks through the mundane advertising they’ve grown numb to already.

Instagram storylines for your restaurant to try:chownow_instagram_story_kaya

  • Step-by-step food prep of your most popular seasonal dish
  • One-on-one interview with the chef, or a weekly rotating staff spotlight
  • Promote new menu items and lunch or dinner specials to stir up people’s cravings
  • Limited time promotions: “Get a free drink with your lunch when you screen-shot this and show it to your server!”

If you’re just getting started on Instagram, start perfecting your food-photo skills, then try out an Instagram Story one afternoon when the kitchen gets quiet after lunch rush.

As always, you can schedule a call with us at ChowNow and we can brainstorm Instagram ideas together.


3. Spur Some Healthy Competition with a Social Media Contest

Picture the scene after Thanksgiving dinner. Or the living room on Christmas Day, after all of the gifts have been opened. Everyone’s on the couch. And — like it or not — everyone’s on their phone!

Turn their scrolls into actual engagement with your restaurant by running a simple social media contest. This tactic incentivizes customers to spread love for your food to their friends and family.

Here’s our easy-to-execute formula for a successful social media contest:chownow_holiday_instagram_contest

  1. Pick the social media platform you’re most active on: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? For this example, let’s go with Instagram.
  2. Create a hashtag that’s unique to your restaurant. Example: #HudsonsHolidays
  3. Post an image on Instagram daily or twice a week with the caption “CONTEST: Show us how you holiday! Post your favorite seasonal dish (homemade or takeout) and include the hashtag #HudsonsHolidays in your caption to be entered to win a $25 gift card from us to you. We’ll pick a weekly winner every Friday in the month of December!”
  4. Announce the winner by reposting their image using the Repost app.
  5. Gift this person their gift card prize the next time they come into the restaurant.


Get creative! The bottom line is to spark interaction. If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want to run some ideas past us for feedback, schedule a call — we’re eager to weigh in. And if you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, ‘tis the season. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!

About the Author

Wes Parsel is a member of the ChowNow Restaurant Success team. In his free time, you’ll find Wes riding bikes, baking sourdough bread, and dreaming about his next culinary adventure.



Emily Neudorf

Emily Neudorf

Emily Neudorf is on the Marketing Team at ChowNow and loves architecture, music and of course, discovering great restaurants. She considers Chicago and Los Angeles two of the world’s finest food cities — though the quest is far from over.
Emily Neudorf

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