In this era of convenient online delivery options, internet requests for takeaway meals keep increasing dramatically. And according to Statista, UK households use around ￡5 per person every week on takeaways. And social media, with its combined aspects of two powerful forms of promotion: word-of-mouth and online advertising, is changing how customers find their food.
Restaurants and takeaways need social media to:
- Be present where customers visit most
- Be consistently visible to potential customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Build credibility
Social media is how consumers share information and see information. A first-time customer might have seen something posted on a restaurant’s business page or even from a friend who posted about their meals and services. Either way, social media has become a powerful engine for driving sales to any restaurant or takeaway business.
The Complete Guide to Social Media for Restaurants & Takeaways
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide to social media marketing for restaurants and takeaways:
- Why your food service business needs social media to thrive
- The steps to take to initiate an effective social media marketing strategy
- More insights for attracting new and existing customers through social media
Restaurants & Takeaways Need Social Media Marketing
Many people ask why restaurants need social media. After all, you can see a restaurant or get word from friends about its existence before choosing to check out their food. But that’s just part of the customer demographic. Here’s why your business needs social media:
To Be Present Where Your Customers Visit Most
The average person on the internet spends most of their time on social media more than the total time on Google, YouTube, and Yahoo combined. You need to be visible where your customers are, and therefore, social media should be a priority in your marketing strategy.
(Source: Digital Restaurant)
To Be Consistently Visible To Potential Customers
While sharing offers physically or on your website is useful, it isn’t entirely effective in this distractions-filled world.
But regularly posting on your social media profiles reaches them seamlessly as they visit the platforms. If they forgot about your brand, they’ll easily remember it after seeing your posts. It keeps engaging them before their purchasing time.
This is evident in these revealing statistics:
- 75% of people purchase a product or service after seeing it on social media.
- Nearly 20% of them need to see a post about what you’re selling 2 to 4 times before making the purchasing decision.
Tapping into this demographic is extremely beneficial, especially after staying at home has become the norm.
(Sources: Sprout Social)
To Increase Brand Awareness
Businesses have a way of looking identical if they don’t apply brand-specifying tactics. However, with social media, you can show off your unique qualities in different ways, from designs to your voice. As people acknowledge and share their unique experience with your business, you gain a significant position in their decision making.
Social Media Presence Builds Your Credibility
Your professional social media profile alone shows people that you’re still operating, and they can trust you to provide the services you claim to. As you gather a following, earn reviews, and build connections visible on the internet, you gain authority over your competitors.
Starting Up Social Media Marketing for Restaurants & Takeaways
To get started with social media marketing, you need to know the fundamental steps first. Even if you’ve been on social media for a while, the following steps can help you build your presence in a more streamlined manner.
Create Accounts On The Best Social Media Platforms
Your customers spend their time on different social media platforms. To target most of them, you need to create profiles on the most popular spaces they’ll likely care about your business.
Here are some of the best social media platforms for restaurant and takeaway marketing:
As the biggest social network platform online, Facebook is a must-have for restaurant businesses. It has numerous customers with connections that can promote your business even without your interaction. Moreover, it has numerous marketing options to take advantage of.
Here’s what you can do with a Facebook business page:
- Fill out your business details
- Connect and interact with prospects and customers for free
- Utilize the Facebook advertising program
- Boost your Google rankings
- Learn about your customers in detail
- Track progress in your social marketing strategy
- Set up multiple restaurant locations
Using your Facebook business page, your restaurant and takeaway customers can:
- Leave reviews
- Reveal they were at your restaurant location by checking in with their smartphones
- Visit your website and other internet locations
- Check the menu and services you offer
- Tag your business in posts
From customers to new prospects, you’ll find someone interested in your business on Facebook. Since it’s quite straightforward, to begin with, it’s one of the best platforms you can focus on.
Here’s a video on how to create a restaurant Facebook page in 5 minutes:
Since this platform is mostly picture-based, Instagram is an incredible space for promoting your services with high-quality food photos. Their visual appeal gets instant likes, and as a customer sees them regularly, they’re more likely to make an order.
- Categorize your food. Using Instagram tags, you can identify your menu down to the tiniest details a potential customer might search for.
- Customers can tag you. And show other people where to get the best meals.
As long as your restaurant and its food are picture worthy, you’ll build a loyal following on Instagram.
This social networking platform has revolutionized how people find businesses, and your restaurant should not miss out on its promotion capabilities.
With Foursquare, a customer can check into your restaurant using their smartphone, and their family and friends can view it as a recommendation.
Before you become popular using Foursquare, you can provide your customers with an incentive so they can check-in and promote your business. After, you can engage with the existing customers to retain a loyal following.
Check out how Foursquare can benefit your business with this quick video:
Although many don’t realize it, YouTube is a social media platform as well. And it’s the second most used search engine. So, picture how much you can benefit from using this site.
You can set up your restaurant YouTube channel and occasionally post relevant videos. For instance:
- Events. If you have a collaboration with another chef, you can upload the event on YouTube for easy future reference.
- Insider information. You can show the “behind the scenes” of chefs making their customers’ favorite dishes.
- Influencers. You can let your social media influencer show others their experience with your restaurant or takeaway services.
All these marketing tactics not only promote your business for the short-term but also create a loyal customer base for years in the foodservice industry.
This space is perfect for short and punchy marketing lines, stimulating videos, images, and a profile that portrays your brand in a few words. Twitter is one of the best social media platforms you can use to interact with your customers casually.
With a twitter restaurant account, you can:
- Use local tweetups to bring prospective customers to your physical restaurant location.
- Interact with your followers with Twitter Chat.
- Use Twitter Cards to enhance user experience.
- Reward your loyal followers and new ones with special deals.
Determine The Social Media Platform You’ll Focus On
Some restaurant owners focus on too many social media platforms and end up overwhelmed due to the ample focus they need to direct on all of them.
It’s best to choose those which your customers mostly visit and focus your social media marketing strategies there.
You can use two to three social media profiles you already have. If you’re yet to set up any, you can start with Facebook, which is popular across all customer profiles. As you expand, you can diversify and get active on other platforms.
Establish Your Brand Personality
Think about your restaurant’s unique feel. How would you want people to view you?
A personal feel like that of Ozone Coffee Roasters, where three casual-looking people in jumpsuits, a cup of coffee in hand, and a big laugh on their faces is one of the branding styles to love.
You can also go with a cause you fight for like the way Morito Hackney Road reveals theirs with graphics “Eat Out to Help Out” on their page profile.
You can establish your brand by:
- The profile pictures you put up
- Revealing stories behind certain special meals
- Showing the faces of the people behind the services
- Identifying with your charity efforts
One of the best ways to win customers is to show them what you identify with most. If they relate, they’d rather seek services from you than go to any other restaurant.
Post Relevant Content
Creating professional profiles on social media is just the start when doing social media marketing. Content is king, so you need to consistently post relevant status updates, photos, videos, and other content pieces to win new customers and retain existing ones.
But to maintain engagement on your business social media, you need to establish a streamlined content strategy. Here’s how you can do it:
Identify The Types Of Content To Create
Not all content is the same, and you can’t randomly put up posts if you want to successfully impact people. Here are types of posts to create:
- Promotional: This type of content is advertisement-like, showing an intention to convert your audience into customers.
- Brand awareness posts: From stories about who you are to funny memes, these posts reveal your restaurant personality. They’re engagement posts.
Most businesses share numerous promotional posts thinking of it as the best way to attract customers. But too many sales posts overwhelm your audience, and they may not feel like they’re part of your community but that you only care about sales.
Therefore, create different types of content that resonate with your brand, not forgetting to include personal ones like a holiday wish from your business or funny memes that would relate with your audience.
Create A Content Library
You shouldn’t always wait to scramble the internet or strive to take photos any time you want to post. You can collect photos on a whim, but doing so in advance is crucial.
During slow hours, request photos of meals from your staff and create videos of experiences with participants’ permissions. You can store them in places like iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox. This way, you can source the most relevant content for particular posts.
However, do not simply snap photos or create videos without thinking about their quality. You need content that’s social media-worthy, inciting your followers to share it with their connections as much as possible.
Here are some tips for social media restaurant photos and videos:
- Make your visuals with the high-resolution setting. Take shots with the highest quality you can with the best equipment you have.
- Take photos from different angles to get the best shot.
- Enhance brightness to attract the eye.
- Use filters for creative finishes.
- Use design to spice up visuals with punchy text. You can utilize Canva design tools to come up with your own.
Determine A Posting Timeline
Although killer content may feel irresistible to instantly post, it’s best to wait for the perfect timing. Social media feeds are full of updates, and you don’t want to fall on the bottom of the list during busy timelines. Moreover, you should aim for meal times where someone will likely want to visit your restaurant or request a takeaway delivery.
So, what’s the best time to post on social media for a restaurant?
- For Instagram, NapoleonCat recommends posting around 9 a.m., 10-12 p.m., and around 8 p.m.
- TrackMaven advises that restaurants should post on Facebook from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., especially on Tuesdays. They also say that the best Twitter posting time is after lunch before 3 p.m.
While these companies spend ample resources to source these answers for restaurant owners, they also advise you to work around common practices you see from your audience.
After experimenting with these proven timelines, you can try others and observe the engagement results for future improvements to your social media marketing strategy.
Develop A Following
All the above steps might play a role in bringing in followers, but you also have to do some work to reasonably hasten the process. Building a social media following for a restaurant can be done in two ways:
As a business, you need to follow certain people to achieve the connections you need. You can do this by following the most relevant or influential in the foodservice industry
Here are accounts to follow on social media:
- Food bloggers
- Competitor followers
- Likers of restaurant-relevant tags
- People who post food photos in your area
Avoid spammy following and keep increasing your numbers gradually. However, you can wait for a week and unfollow those who haven’t followed you back. It either means they aren’t active, or they don’t think following you is relevant.
You want to look professional even when your account is young. Therefore, following 2000 accounts while you have 300 followers would make your business seem irrelevant as opposed to ensuring a respectable margin. After all, you can attract more followers with engagement.
While it’s useful to accumulate followers, it’s pointless to have a huge following with no engagement. You’re better off with a small following that’s interactive than a large one that isn’t.
But more often than not, your content is the source of engagement. You need to post insightful, engaging, and shareable content to invite all kinds of interactions. You also have to respond to your audience questions and comments as well to make them feel valued.
Here are social media engagement strategies you can use:
- Ask questions about your service and other information you wish to know.
- Incite opinion with debates.
- Incentivize engagement by promising rewards to activities like contests.
- Provide offers like discounts on certain meals.
- Give them useful information like recipes to use at home or tools to use for cooking.
Engaging your existing audience is a surefire way to increase the numbers. Therefore, regularly focus on interacting with your followers and ensure consistency with your brand voice the whole way.
Other Social Media Marketing Tips For Restaurants & Takeaways
Apart from the fundamental steps to social media marketing, you need some tips to spice up your strategy. You can pick any of these that resonate with you, your customers, and can be done with resources reasonable to you.
Optimize Your Space To Be Social Media-worthy
You may hear some people say, “This place is extremely Instagrammable” and not understand what that means. But in simple words, making your place Instagrammable means giving it great aesthetic qualities that flatter social media posts.
Tattu Birmingham is one of the most beautiful spaces for photos. This is undeniable as you can see many visitors flocking there not only to enjoy the fine Chinese culinary experience but also get to do photoshoots. Their signature look with cherry blossom trees spectacularly placed in each space with their branches expanding form a stunning scene.
You don’t have to go overboard with decor, but with a few tweaks, you can make a unique statement social media followers would like to stand by. You can work with distinctive wallpapers, tiling, and even signage to express your brand personality and make it the next Instagrammable space.
Involve Social Media Influencers
Social media influencers can take your marketing strategy to a whole new level. Since they usually feature a large following, a few posts about your restaurant or takeaway services on their accounts can bring in a lot more sales and attention than any other tactics
You can offer an influencer experience of your services and let them document it on their social media. This could be someone from your area or a foodie who likes traveling and trying new places. Gordon Gram is one of the most influential food influencers in the UK. With almost 10 million followers, a business can gain a lot of customers by partnering with him.
You don’t have to pick the most influential food influencer or the most expensive one for that matter. With the resources you have, hire someone who fits with your brand, and use their following to grow yours.
Post Collaborations With Other Chefs
Sometimes, your audience wants to see content other than from you. If you can include other people in your marketing strategy, it shows that they’re happy to do business with you, and that strikes confidence in your customers as well.
Collaborating with chefs from other establishments to produce an incredible meal with a blend of your efforts is interesting. You can document this through a short video with relevant tags to enhance traffic. This way, you can also gain customers from the followers of your collaborator.
Use Location-based Social Media Ads
These ads are usually served to a person within a certain location radius. If you use this type of advertising, you can target locals as well as tourists looking to dine or order takeaways effectively.
For instance, if someone’s walking near your restaurant, and they’re browsing Facebook, your ad may pop up for them to see. If it catches their eye and they feel hungry or want a place to sit and use Wifi, they may come to you.
Since other restaurants might be doing this type of advertising as well, you need to find a unique selling proposition and integrate it in your ad. Offers like special meals or rewards for those who come in can be a great traffic booster. Also, remember to focus on a location with high foot traffic since it’s more likely to bring in customers.
Give A Peek Of Behind The Scenes
Sharing quality photos of your work is great. But videos of what happens behind the scenes is even more engaging. It incites trust in your customers and also attracts new ones.
Many restaurant-goers like seeing how their food is prepared. You’re already doing the work so filming it can be done on any day, especially when making some specials. However, ensure that your kitchen looks spotless while showing off the skills of your workers.
You don’t have to make long videos, especially if they’re not for YouTube. Partial 5-minute videos are enough to highlight your most interesting activities.
Engage In Trending Topics
If there’s a holiday coming up or any trending topic your customers are involved in, engage in it. For instance, if there’s an event coming up around your area, tailor your marketing tactics around it.
You can provide specials on that day, free drinks or some other offers to attract customers. You can also post alerts and support updates, making them personal according to your business voice. This marketing tactic is known as newsjacking and is extremely useful on social media.
Respond To Social Media Reviews
Almost every restaurant is reviewed online these days whether they set up the account or not. TripAdvisor and other social media platforms are there to help people find the best restaurant, and your reviews will show why they should or should not come to you.
But even when the views are good, bad, and downright ugly, you should respond to them. This shows that you care about your customers’ experiences and aren’t afraid of criticism. It attracts more and can even make an unhappy customer give you a second chance.
The Decimo hotel managers respond to almost every review on TripAdvisor. They thank their positive as well as negative reviewers for their feedback and welcome them again or provide an email for contact.
Drive Your Social Media Audience To Email Signups
Email signups are one of the best tactics to promote repeat customers. If one lets you have their information so you can send updates, it shows trust and loyalty to your brand. Therefore, take advantage of this and do email marketing on your social media.
You can post a link to your email signup on a promotional post or straight from your social media profile. Attract them to sign up with a discount or something of the sort and continue engaging with them consistently, delivering any offers when available.
Repost And Engage With User Generated Content
User-generated content or UGC is photos, videos, and any other pieces of content showing off your restaurant’s qualities through your customers’ experience. This is a free marketing tactic where you might repost the UGC and credit the original source — even thanking them.
Here are some benefits of reposting and engaging with UGC:
- Your customers are doing all the marketing work.
- You show your customers that you listen to them and enhance your likeability.
- People want to hear praise from their peers instead of the business itself, and this is a great opportunity to provide them with that luxury.
Spotlight Your Staff
Posting your employees is one of the best social media marketing tactics a restaurant can employ. It shows that you care about your staff and appreciate the great work they do. Moreover, this is also a time to show off your qualities in a personal tone without appearing too salesy.
The Aussie inspired London restaurant, Daisy Green Collection, is one of the most famous for showing off their staff. Right on their Facebook profile page, they include a video of everything from behind the scenes food and drink making to serving upper floors by their staff.
Show Off Your Produce Sources
Like showing off your staff, spotlighting your produce vendors is another way to say, “it’s not always about us.” Praising the source of your food boosts not only the humane feel of your establishment but also enhances trust in your customers.
Instead of just stating where you source your ingredients, you can make a video when unpacking to show branding and talk about why you chose to be in business with such vendors. Things like the freshness, organic nature, and other coveted qualities of food ingredients can ramp up your customer numbers.
Once you choose the social media platform to use, set up your profile with your restaurant personality, and post relevant content, you’ll likely build a following. Using the tips provided in this article, you can create and maintain an authoritative social media presence for your restaurant and takeaway business.
But if doing social media marketing on your own isn’t the best decision for your business, you can involve an expert and focus on increasing your sales. A social media marketing specialist can walk you through a streamlined process, better serving your online audience, and, subsequently, helping your business thrive.