Each year on Twitter, 200 million posts receive the hashtag ‘food.’
88% of people turn to online reviews when choosing a new restaurant or café
Food and drink is one of the top five most popular subjects shared on Instagram.
If you’re not currently promoting your café, bar or restaurant on social media, you should be! Here’s a new menu for you to try – ten top tips for social media engagement within the catering industry. All can be done on a shoestring budget, with no expensive agencies or prior marketing knowledge required.
Create a consistent voice for your brand
As suggested by a social media marketing expert, Mattia Sangianini, “remember social media posts represent your business, not your personal views”. “Developing a unique professional voice when using social media will allow you to build trust and loyalty with followers”, so be sure to some time perfecting the language and tone of voice you use.
Promote online reviews and respond to them, whether good or bad
Encouraging customers to write online reviews through social media is a great way to generate free publicity. Responding to these reviews is also part of the deal – whether good or bad, customers will appreciate you taking the time to thank them or apologise for a poor experience. If a review is less than favourable, suggesting how you’ll make improvements for the future goes a long way.
Special discounts and events
Offering special discount vouchers or exclusive events to social media customers is a great way of growing your following, letting people know that they’re valued and appreciated. You can tailor these to suit the season or cross promote a new menu or event.
Research has shown that the vast majority of people expect a reply to social media messages within twenty-four hours. Become a regular presence on your social media platforms, joining in conversations and debates and responding to queries as quickly as you can.
Enter competitions and ask for votes
If visitors to your restaurant have enjoyed a good experience, they’ll have no problem with becoming evangelists for your brand. Asking people to nominate you for awards of vote for you in competitions is a great way of engaging on social media, and it’s completely free!
Seek customer input and opinion
Developing a new menu? Pizza topping not selling well? Ask customers what they think, and they’ll enjoy the opportunity to shape the decisions that are made. Asking for customer feedback and advice also creates free, original content that you can share easily.
Don’t forget video
Along with sharing written content and images, don’t forget to video share too. Whether it’s a film of your chef creating an exciting new dish or a video that takes customers for a spin around the new décor in your restaurant, video content is cheap, engaging and easy to share. With high quality video now available on most mobile phones, no professional marketing team should be required.
Let your customers do the hard work
If your social media followers are creating content for you, share it! Comments, great reviews, images of people enjoying your cuisine are all fantastic to share between different social media sites and cost absolutely nothing in time, money or effort.
Invest where it counts
Investing in a professional food photographer is a fantastic way to showcase your range of dishes in their best light. Pay per click advertising, on the other hand, may not work well for your business. Think carefully where you invest your social media budget. The obvious choice may not be right for everyone.
Post at the right time
If your restaurant or bar is only open from 8pm, posting at 9am may not be the best strategy (even if that’s when you have the most time to create content.) Try generating a buzz during opening hours – asking customers to be spontaneous and pop down for an impromptu happy hour with half priced drinks. Many social media platforms allow users to schedule content, so you can keep to your schedule with a little advance planning.