Surviving COVID-19: Your Guide to Social Media Engagement for Restaurants
Are your restaurant’s social media pages lacking the engagement you need to drive more sales? Now more than ever, your customers are indulging in social media consumption. There’s never been a better time to grow your audience online and engage with potential customers due to lockdown mandates and everyone being at home. If you’re looking for advice to grow your followers online and create engaging social media posts for your restaurant, then this guide is for you.
Which social media platforms does your restaurant need?
Your target customers are already on social media; here’s where to find them.
Facebook: Clientele between 45-65 are on Facebook more than any other platform.
Instagram: Instagram is now owned by Facebook, but is best used to target users from their twenties to early forties.
Twitter: Most Twitter users are there to promote their offerings, but this is a great place to find new influencers and share posts that use promotional hashtags.
TikTok: As the fastest growing platform in the world, TikTok’s users are mainly the younger generation. Snapchat used to be the place to reach young adults faster than any other platform, but TikTok’s video-sharing platform has taken that crown.
Snapchat: Most Snapchat users are between 16-22 years of age, and companies can now connect with Snapchat users to influence them while they are at the age where they build brand loyalty that will last a lifetime.
Tripadvisor: While not a typical social media platform, this Washington DC restaurant has had colossal success with TripAdvisor’s platform and has seen its social media engagement rise as a result.
How can you create stunning graphics for your social media posts?
Nothing stops someone from scrolling through their social media timelines, quite like eye-catching graphics. Don’t let creating new graphics for your restaurant’s social media pages intimidate you. We have the tips you need to create stunning imagery that will stop people from scrolling and get them to engage with your online content.
Take Great Photos of your Restaurant’s Food – Your lighting and setup can turn your restaurant’s food photography from bland to grand. Bathe your dishes in natural light, or use studio lighting to get the best results. You can find lightboxes for under $30 to help you highlight your dishes without distracting background imagery. Highlight your best-selling dishes in stand-alone photos, and add colorful garnishes to get the most of our your food product photography. These tips will help with your online menus as well, encouraging customers to order online.
Edit Photos with Free Tools
Free editing tools like Canva can help you turn photos into stories that tell your restaurant’s mission, advertise promotions, and have the perfect dimensions for each social media platform. Pick from templates such as Instagram stories, FB ads, Pinterest graphics, and even new ways to create and edit videos.
Incorporate your brand’s color scheme and watermarks into all social media posts to increase brand awareness. Customers want to purchase from brands they recognize, so if you haven’t created a color scheme and plan for branded content, there’s no better time to start than while growing your social media following for your restaurant.
Don’t Forget the Videos
Videos get more engagement than any other type of post, and they can be repurposed for multiple social media channels. Take videos of your staff taking extra precautions to ensure your customer’s safety, live feeds of your cooks in the kitchen, and happy customers picking up their to-go orders during the pandemic. If you’re having trouble coming up with new video content, try leaving a smartphone in the kitchen and let your kitchen staff show off their expertise by posting live videos while they work.
What simple steps can you take to grow your following on social media?
Growing a following on social media isn’t something that’ll happen overnight for your restaurant, but these easy-to-utilize tips will put you ahead of the competition and have your followers excited to engage with your posts.
Contest Posts: Running contests on social media is a great way to grow your restaurant’s reach online and engage with new customers. A photo contest asking customers to post their favorite photos of meals, pictures of dining in the restaurant, or sharing a favorite memory while dining with you skyrocket engagement levels.
Holiday Promotions: Easter is this weekend, and Earth Day is right around the corner. Creating a special menu and promotion for a holiday gets people excited to celebrate with your restaurant. Don’t forget about lesser-known holidays like National Coffee Day or National Donut Day. Lookup what holidays incorporate your restaurant’s selection and start your new holiday promotions today, don’t forget to share, share, share on social media.
Charitable Posts: Did you know you can add a donate button on Facebook posts for a charity of your choice? They have a vast selection of charities you can choose to support, and people are looking for a way to serve others while COVID-19 is affecting most of the world.
Influencer Shares: Reach out to influencers with a large following in your area to collaborate and have them share your posts in exchange for a discount or advertisement fee.
Join Local Groups: Groups on Facebook help you reach people locally. Add valuable content and interact with other group members to be seen by more group members.
Make People Laugh: Right now, people are in panic mode, but you can be a breath of fresh air if you make them laugh. Be sensitive to the current situation, but add some light humor to your posts.
Recipes: While people are stuck at home and missing their favorite dishes from your restaurant, you can be a beacon of hope by showing them how to make their own versions. Try adding a video of your chef’s preparing recipes to these posts for the most engagement.
How can you create compelling copy for social media posts?
No matter what platform you’re posting on your social media posts should be relevant, engaging, valuable, easy to read, and worth sharing. Your headlines need to convince your audience to respond to your call to action, and ideally, share your message with their friends and followers.
Make sure your posts have a call to action, something like “order now” or “sign up for loyalty rewards now,” at the end of your post works great. Think of the goal of expanding your social media reach when coming up with a call to action for your posts.
Hubspot is an excellent resource for call to action examples if you’re looking for inspiration.
This article was written by our friends at Lavu