10 Examples of Awesome Restaurant Social Media Marketing
By: Kendal Austin
Jul 12, 2018
Social media is a crucial aspect of modern restaurant marketing. Whether your restaurant is active on social media or not, chances are your guests are talking about your restaurant online So why not be a part of the conversation?
For many restaurant operators, managing a social media presence is just another item on their increasingly long list of to-dos. For others, social media plays an important role in their restaurant marketing plans. It is from these masters that you can learn and derive motivation to kickstart your social media marketing.
According to the 2019 Restaurant Success Report, 91% of restaurants use Facebook for marketing. Instagram is the second-most popular option this year, used by 78% of surveyed restaurateurs.
Here are ten best practices and examples to inspire and apply to your own restaurant social media strategy.
What: Sweetgreen has quickly built an iconic restaurant brand on fresh and sustainable food ideology. Their clean and modern aesthetic is consistent in everything they do — whether you’re on their mobile app, ordering in-store, or following them on social media. Sweetgreen maintains a constant use of only lowercase letters on social media, which is consistent with their app, logo, and website. The same vibrant photography that features their fresh ingredients is used across all of their marketing materials. They even have their emoji game down pat. The Sweetgreen brand is recognizable even when their logo isn’t on the screen.
Why it's awesome: There’s no doubt that Sweetgreen thought long and hard about their social media strategy. It’s also likely that they hired an experienced agency to help. But even without professional help, it’s possible to create consistent messaging and imagery for your business. This allows your brand to become more than just a place to eat food, enabling guests to relate to your business and interact with you outside mealtime. Use social media as an extension of the guest experience, and you can solidify brand loyalty through guest’s mobile devices.
What: The managers at Paris Creperie are great community managers. They’re constantly monitoring their Yelp business page, and they have a great history of responding to both negative and positive reviews.
Why it's awesome: By addressing negative reviews and showing appreciation for positive ones, the Paris Creperie team has created a transparent and friendly persona online. They're not afraid to talk about their flaws and make a public attempt to improve upon them. The managers use any negative reviews on Yelp as opportunities to learn about their business and to turn naysayers into brand advocates. Even if you're not able to address every review on your Yelp page, it's a good idea to address your disgruntled customers and try to turn that relationship around.
What: When restaurant-goers use the #MyPieology and #Dakzen hashtags or tag either restaurant in a post, they get a chance to be featured on the brands' social media pages. Both restaurants are constantly sharing customer photos on all their social media channels.
Why it's awesome: Pieology and Dakzen are turning their customers into valuable brand ambassadors by showcasing their comments and photos to the world. By acknowledging these posts and encouraging customers to use their branded hashtags, both restaurants are creating social proof for their brands and generating a backlog of shareable content. Utilizing user-generated content is a great way to stay active on your channels without having to create the content yourself. Plus,it’s fun for fans to see their photos and smiling faces on your feed. Sometimes restaurants will get lucky with people organically sharing their love for food, or maybe they have a super “Instagrammable” space, but anyone can encourage diners to share their experience by creating and maintaining a hashtag that’s easy for people to remember.
What: Outside of the awesome content your customers help generate, there are also food influencers with larger audiences who can help spread the word about your food and restaurant
Why it's awesome: Food is extremely visual, and food that makes a statement in-person is likely to do so on camera. Most major cities have multiple popular food accounts that feature local restaurants, and many of them have over 100K followers you can tap into. For example, searching "Boston food" on Instagram will bring you to accounts like Bostonfoodies and Boston_mouthful. By reaching out to these food influencers (invite them to an event or bring them in for a meal) you can tap into their extended reach, and maybe find your next regulars. You can start connecting with food influencers by following and interacting with their content. Who knows, maybe building that relationship will turn your famous cheese-pull nachos into a viral sensation.
What: Monteverde won Chicago Eater’s Restaurant of the Year because of their unapologetically adventurous Italian food and support of local fans. They used social media to spread the word about their nomination and directly asked patrons for their support. Clearly, it worked.
Why it's awesome: You work hard to develop a relationship with guests when they’re in the restaurant. Social media is an opportunity to capitalize on and continue to build those budding connections. If you've delivered a knockout experience and guests are connected with you online, followers will be happy to support the business. Bonus points to Monteverde for sharing other people’s posts on Twitter, creating social proof that they’re a great spot.
What:Mei Mei was founded by three siblings and has since developed a positive reputation for their award-winning food and staff, one that’s as close as a family. Mei Mei has played into this important aspect of their success, putting their staff at the center of their brand.
Why it's awesome: Profiling the people behind your restaurant is a great way to build relationships and add personality to your brand. Whether or not your team is winning awards, posting pictures from "behind the scenes" or sharing funny anecdotes about the staff can make followers feel more connected to the business and the people that make it all possible.
What: Restaurants like Which Wich Superior Sandwiches improve engagement on social media by asking fun questions and encouraging responses. Followers are more likely to remember the content of the post, like the fact that Which Wich now offers Ultimate BLTs, if they interact with it in some way.
Why it's awesome: Social media is about more than just telling your followers what's happening at your restaurant. It's also about listening to them and joining in on conversations. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a great way to create a conversational dialogue with your customers. Questions like "fill in the blank," "what is your favorite item?" and "what item would you like to see on our menu?" inspire followers to engage with your posts and interact with you rather than scrolling past.
What: When social media was abuzz after a vicious Nor’easter named Stella hit Boston, Upper Crust Pizzeria chimed in on social media using an already trending hashtag (#openinBOS) and a photo of their team bundled up with a local weatherman.
Why it’s awesome: Jumping on topics that are already trending on social media is a great way to increase exposure for your posts, especially if you have a clever take on the topic. In addition to locally trending topics, there are a number of national food holidays like National Pizza Day that can help you get your audience excited about your restaurant. Opportunities like these are a great chance to showcase your brand voice and give your followers a chance to celebrate with you.
Everybody loves free coffee. Cafe Landwer drives diners in by offering a free cappuccino with every entree. Cafe Landwer is one of many restaurants that uses Yelp to promote special offers, deals, or freebies to customers.
Why it's awesome: Yelp averages more than 178 million unique visitors every month, across its mobile, desktop, and app versions, making it an amazing social media marketing tool for restaurants to tap into. We talked about managing reviews on your Yelp profile (see #2), but adding deals to your Yelp page is a quick win for both your restaurant and your fans.
What:B.GOOD released a series of videos that feature new menu items for Summer 2019. One of the videos features Executive Chef Linh Aven and Rocky Stubblefield as they cook and talk about the history of B.GOOD's new partner, Stubb's BBQ Sauce.
Why it's awesome: This B.GOOD video is a great example of personalized video marketing that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant and its core values. But you don't need a production team or a huge video budget to do this on your own. Getting footage on your phone of your staff prepping food for an event or filming an interview with your executive chef about their inspiration for the new menu is more than enough to make a splash on social media.
Starting and maintaining a vibrant social media presence can seem like a daunting task, but it all comes down to people. Social media platforms provide you with a direct line of communication to existing and potential customers. Use these examples of restaurant social media marketing as inspiration to kick your business's plan into shape.
Set them up and knock them down. The right marketing will get customers in the door and the right restaurant technology will help provide a great experience.
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