Social Media Starter Kit: A Checklist for Restaurants

By ChowNowAug 17th, 2016

Social media presence & marketing is a must-have tool if you’re a restaurant business.

If the wild popularity of the hashtags #nomnomnom or #foodporn isn’t an indication enough, take it from us – a social media presence is vital to growing your restaurant business. Food has emerged as one of the leading trends of the social media movement and has now become a lifestyle.

From Instagram photos to checking into their favorite hotspot, customers love engaging with their favorite restaurants using social media. If you’ve been weary of entering this new platform as a way to promote your restaurant, we’re here to ease your fears. These easy and effective social media tips can increase awareness, engagement and ultimately increase revenue for your restaurant.

1. Don’t Just Stick to One Platform

Stepping out of your social media comfort zone can feel daunting but you may be missing out on valuable opportunities if you don’t establish a presence across multiple social media channels. If you’re a restaurant business that is looking to increase brand awareness, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp are a must. Not only does each platform offer different functions but they also hold a different segment of your target customer. Establishing your brand presence on more than one channel allows you to be everywhere your target customers are, therefore, giving you the power to start a conversation about your brand.

2. Photos Tell a Tasty Story

Social media photo for restaurants
Photos of your food are the next best thing to offering your social media audience an actual sample. Since the internet can’t do the latter, displaying high-resolution and vibrant imagery of your best-looking (and tasting) menu items is extremely valuable to your social media marketing. While some restaurants make the mistake of using their storefront or menu as their primary image, we recommend highlighting the most important reason customers should flock to your restaurant – the food!

3. Join the Trending Conversations

While hashtags tend to get a bad rep, they’re still a powerful way to join your customer’s social conversations. Utilizing hashtags can allow you to inject yourself into the conversation by having a presence under trending topics or identifying conversations where you can offer your expertise. Not only are you marketing your brand in an organic way, you’re also engaging with potential customers and increasing brand awareness.

4. Reward the Check-in

Customer in restaurantNothing spreads the word about your restaurant as organically as encouraging your customers to check-in on social media. While some customers will do this all on their own, it’s wise to offer an incentive – after all, it’s free publicity! Connect the online world with the off-line by offering a discount or free item every time a customer checks into your business. Social proof is a reason why social media marketing works so well – if a social media user sees someone they know and respect checking into a new restaurant, chances are that they’ll be more willing to check it out the next time they’re looking for a new restaurant. We recommend integrating Foursquare or Yelp with your Facebook channel to implement this.

5. Encourage Yelp Reviews Without Breaking the Rules

You may know that Yelp highly discourages soliciting customer reviews and we aren’t asking you to break the rules. However, there are Yelp-approved ways to increase your volume of customer reviews. These include adding a Yelp review badge on your website, featuring the “Find Us on Yelp” sticker at your place of business and including the link to your Yelp page on your email signature. For a more detailed explanation on how to implement these strategies, check out Yelp’s post here.

Social media marketing is a valuable tool that can benefit food businesses by increasing awareness, engagement and traffic in the door. However, if you’ve avoided entering the digital space due to the lack of experience, these tips can get you off to a great start. If you’ve also noticed how food apps are making waves in the food industry, learn more about how ChowNow’s online food ordering system works with your existing social media channels to generate new customers.

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