Food and eating out has to be one of the most popular topics on social media. There are over 200 million posts tagged #food on Instagram and with over 85 % of people being influenced by reviews and online comments, having a social media strategy has never been more important if you’re a restaurant owner.

Owning a restaurant can be a huge challenge. With around 17% of new restaurants folding in the first year, balancing the sometimes precarious margins, retaining great staff and attracting diners to the restaurant even in the quieter times of the day is vital to ensuring long-term success. Harnessing the power of social media to reach your potential customer base, attract them and keep them coming back for more is a key strategy to catapult your restaurant into a success.

So what should you do?

Here’s our gourmet guide to maximising your social media for your restaurant to ensure it’s a success:

  1. Get out there – you need to be where your customers are, and that’s on all the social media platforms. Set up a profile on each platform and make sure you give your customers all the information they need to be able to find and contact you. Include your opening hours, your location and contact details so that anyone can easily find you and contact you.
  2. Add even more info – Facebook, in particular, is really useful with the amount of information you’re able to upload. You can add menus, “book now” buttons and you can even indicate your busiest hours so people who aren’t regular customers can get an idea of when to book.
  3. Go photo crazy! – the one advantage of running a food-related business is that it’s incredibly visual. All those amazing close-ups on Instagram of delicious meals are sure to tickle your potential customers’ taste buds. Take photos of dishes as they’re prepared, showcasing your specialities. Newcomers to the restaurant will be able to see for themselves the quality and style of the food.
  4. Go heavy on promoting what you do – tell people regularly what’s happening at the restaurant. Tell them about your restaurant “family” of staff, what your inspiration is, what customers have said. It gives your customers the chance to get to know you and what your restaurant is all about before they even walk in the door.
  5. Use hashtags – go for focused and trending hashtags. You can make your posts relevant to that trending hashtag which will boost its reach – eg for #nationalginandtonicday take a photo of a gin cocktail prepared in the restaurant and post it with the hashtag. It keeps you relevant to what’s happening right now.
  6. Go all out on reviews – enable the review facility on Facebook so that diners can tell you (and your potential customers) just how amazing the food was. A great idea to kick things off is to run a competition where all reviews will be entered into a prize draw for a free meal. This will give your reviews a huge boost right at the start. Remember that whilst word of mouth is valuable for attracting new customers, having the back up of reviews and the social proof of active social media speaks volumes too.
  7. Go topical – there are so many holidays, events and celebrations throughout the year that you can create topical posts about. Mother’s Day? Christmas? Easter? Posting specifically around these celebrations will mean that people are more likely to see you, especially as they’ll be searching for those celebrations through their social media at the time.
  8. Stay local – get involved with local activity on social media. In most locations, there will be groups on the different social media platforms that talk about all things local. Get involved. This doesn’t mean just talking about yourself. It means mentioning other local businesses in your area too, engaging in conversation. They’re much more likely to do the same for you.
  9. Look into any local influencers – there are tons of food bloggers out there. Do a little research to see if there are any in your area and invite them to the restaurant in return for a review. If they have a huge following, you’ll be connected to their followers as soon as that blog about your restaurant has gone live.
  10. Time posts carefully – you need to be posting on your social media platforms when people are looking at them. And also at the right time relating to the post. For example, don’t post about Sunday brunch at 5 pm on Friday! The key thing is to think like your customer. Sending out tweets close to breakfast, lunch or dinner times will reach your customers immediately, and could be just the lure they need to pay you a visit.

If you feel like managing all of the above means having to employ another person just to take care of it all then it’s time to enlist the help of SocialBee Social Media. We don’t make a meal of your social media – it’s managed, digested and served up for you, giving you total peace of mind.