7 Things All Restaurants Should Do On Social Media

By Caroline Cox | 4 min read

For our recent State of the Plate report, we wanted to take a deep dive into what’s powering the fast-growing restaurant events business. To do that, we surveyed more than 600 people working in restaurants that host private events to get a holistic view of the industry.

One result we found was that nearly 60% of respondents said that social media posts and ads bring them the most new business. No surprise there. Oberlo data shows that 54% of social media users use it as a way to research before making a purchase decision.

Sure, your restaurant has profiles on all the big social media platforms. But are you sure you’re maximizing your presence? Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to keep your follower game strong.

1. Remain active

These days, it’s not enough to merely have your business present on the main social media platforms. (For most, that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.) People less likely to stumble upon your pages if you’re not updating often. Plus, if they do find your profile and see it’s out of date, they may think your offerings are, too.

This doesn’t mean you need to dedicate a significant part of your daily routine to social media. Rather, it’s wise to carve out a smaller chunk of time (say, once a week or so) to brainstorm about what you want to post and highlight. This could include happy-hour specials, limited time offers, or new menu listings. You can even snap a few shots of your most photogenic food or drink items to post throughout the week or month.

2. Keep your brand look and voice consistent

If the way you caption Instagram photos varies wildly from your tweets, it may be harder to attract the clientele you want coming through your doors. For example, posting lots of memes and emojis on your Facebook page doesn’t exactly make sense for a restaurant with a high-end, white tablecloth aesthetic. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest social media craze or experiment with photo filters. But restaurants with the most effective social media footprints (like our friends at The Optimist in Atlanta) know that maintaining a consistent brand look and voice helps accurately showcase what your eatery is really all about, so people know before they set foot inside. Don’t feel like you need to take things too seriously, though — Instagram Stories are a great place to get creative with your posts.

3. Post thoughtfully

Yes, consistency is key, but don’t feel like you need to post every day just to appear active. By simply firing off a LinkedIn status or tweet, you’re missing out on key opportunities that you could take advantage of through a few simple optimization steps.

Taking the time to include relevant hashtags in your posts, depending on the platform, could do wonders for expanding your reach both locally and nationally. Adding a photo or video to tweets has been shown to increase engagement, and longer Instagram captions have been known to attract more eyes than those with only a short, vague sentence.

4. Make it a two-way conversation

It’s in the name: social media. So get socializing! Taking part in conversations online helps boost your brand credibility, gets you discovered by new people and shows that you’re not just there to self-promote all day long.

While responding to client compliments and comments is a great practice, those with the bandwidth can take things a step further. Look into what industry discussions are being had. You can engage in things like live Twitter chats, interactive Instagram stories, and in community groups on Facebook and LinkedIn when you feel like you have something to contribute to the convo.

5. Let your fans speak for you

Speaking of putting the “social” in social media, this is a great place to leverage your brand advocates to help you tell your story. Active social media users sometimes post shout-outs to brands and businesses they frequent, whether through a check-in or an actual post with specifics on what they loved about their experience.

Thanking those who help boost your biz shows you value and appreciate their feedback. You can even request to repost their content on your own pages. Repurposing a nice feedback quote or a stunning shot of a menu item shows your followers that you’re paying attention to them and care about what they say, whether it’s praise or criticism.

6. Track your strategies

Another great thing about including social media in your marketing strategy is how easy it is to track and analyze your posts. Depending on the platform, you can pull information on how many followers you’re getting, what posts are being interacted with most, and the times and days your audience is checking these platforms.

Those who use Gather can also take advantage of features like custom URL tracking. Putting a custom URL in your Instagram bio, for example, lets you collect leads while automatically evaluating which marketing campaigns are performing best. This helps you get a better feel for what’s working best for your team, so you can double down on those efforts to drive engagement and, ideally, more business.

7. Stay on top of trends

Social media moves fast — and it’s easy to feel left behind. Newsletters from brands like Later and Social Media Today are great resources for bite-size bits of information on the latest and greatest social media trends.

While you don’t have to jump on every bandwagon, experimenting with features like Facebook Live or Twitter polls can offer new insight into your followers that you wouldn’t be able to glean otherwise. Plus, it keeps you in the loop and competitive, so you can stay relevant in this ever-changing industry. 

 

When you get the hang of managing social media for your business, you’ll find that you need fewer posts to make a big impact. By taking a bit of time to be strategic about the content you want to put out into the world, you can build your follower base significantly — and build up your reputation in the process. 

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Caroline Cox
Content Marketing Manager

Caroline Cox is Gather's Content Marketing Manager. She spends her time crafting blogs, thought leadership pieces, case studies, social media content and more, helping empower restaurants and other event venues to streamline their planning process and grow their events programs with success.

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