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A Guide To Social Media Marketing For Restaurants

Elana Kroon
Elana Kroon

Sep 5, 2021 4:19:00 PM

With a whopping 4.33 Billion active users, social media is slowly taking over the world. To put it into perspective, that constitutes 91% of the total internet users across the globe. Given that this number has gone up by 13% in the last year, it’s safe to say that social media marketing is here to stay. 

What makes social media such a popular platform? It’s the wide reach and connectivity. It helps you stay connected with others across the world in the easiest way possible - at the touch of your fingertips. It’s simple, accessible, and free to use.

Even beyond personal connections, social media has become a primary source of information about brands and products. Oberlo’s research found that 54% of social browsers use it to research products before purchasing them. Think about it, how did you find out about the product you bought last? Chances are a lot of you have answered “Facebook” or “Instagram.”

The numbers have made it clear - social media marketing can no longer be ignored by businesses, especially restaurants. Social Media Today found that 30% of millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence. So if you’re not paying attention to your restaurant’s social media accounts, you’re most definitely missing out on customers. 

>> Learn how to grow your restaurant brand with social media

Why is social media marketing important for restaurants?

  1. Widespread reach
    Compared to traditional marketing channels like tv ads, billboards, brochures, etc. a good social media strategy allows restaurants to market their brand to a much wider audience with minimum effort. If done correctly, a single post on a social media platform can reach thousands of potential customers and create widespread brand awareness.


  2. Engaging platform
    Compared to traditional marketing channels like tv ads, billboards, brochures, etc. a good social media strategy allows restaurants to market their brand to a much wider audience with minimum effort. If done correctly, a single post on a social media platform can reach thousands of potential customers and create widespread brand awareness.

  3. Cost-effectiveness
    Creating an account on any social media platform is completely free. As you move ahead, there will be additional costs like hiring a manager, creating content, and running ads. However, the initial investment is zero. This makes social media the perfect platform for restaurants that may not have a very high marketing budget and want to make the most out of their resources

  4. Attract more customers
    With over 4 billion users, a huge chunk of your target audience is likely on social media. By not being an active part of it, your restaurant is missing out on the market share of people that use social media as a source of information before making dining decisions. This is especially applicable when your target audience consists of millennials and gen z customers, as they make up the majority of social media users.

Which Social Media Channel Should you Use for your Restaurant?

It can be tempting to want to hop on to every social media channel possible. However, that’s not always the right strategy. Instead of spreading your resources thin across multiple platforms, choose a couple that suit your business and allow you to reach your target audience. This will enable you to dedicate ample time and effort to the right channels and get results.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to picking social media platforms for your restaurant. It’s a case-by-case situation, what works for someone else might not work for you. Here are a few factors you should consider before choosing a social media platform:

  • The type of restaurant. Are you running a fast-casual restaurant or a fine-dining one? The former is more suited to more casual platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, while the latter may do better with platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This is because the majority of Instagram and TikTok’s users fall between the 18-34 age range, while Facebook and Twitter are more popular with people above the age of 24. 
  • Your target audience. Factors like their age, geographic location, and gender effect which platform your customers are present on. For example, The Digital Global Report found that Facebook’s ad reach was highest in India, while Twitter’s was highest in the US. Dig deep into your ideal diner to find which social channels they prefer and dedicate your efforts towards the same. 
  • What your competition is doing. Look for brands in your own industry that are performing well on social media and have a large amount of following and engagement. Getting an idea of what’s working for them can help you understand what does well with customers around you. However, It can only be used as an indicator of consumer behavior trends. As we mentioned earlier, what works for them might not work for you.

Once you’ve done your research, you can pick the social media platforms that best align with your business goals. 

All data mentioned below has been derived from the Digital 2021 Global Overview Report

  • Facebook
    One of the oldest players in the game, Facebook is an all-rounder social media platform for businesses. It’s also the most popular social channel, with over 2 billion active users as of April 2021, with 56% of male users and 44% of female users. Facebook includes many business-friendly tools that help in generating sales, like Facebook ads, Facebook shopping, direct booking, etc. that make it a good choice for restaurants.
  • Instagram
    Based entirely on visual content, Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for restaurants as it allows them to display delicious menu items in all their glory. As they say, “you eat with your eyes first”. Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media channels and has gained 66 million users within the last quarter. Widely popular with the younger crowd, the majority of Instagram’s users range between 18-34 years old. In recent times, Instagram has transformed from a photo-sharing app to a great marketing tool that allows businesses to display their products, set up a digital storefront, allow direct bookings, and share important information with their users all through one platform.
  • TikTok
    One of the latest players in the market, Tiktok has shaken the social scene with its video-based approach and has attracted 732 million users in a short period of time. Like Instagram, it’s most popular with the younger generation. The visual approach makes it a great platform for restaurants to share their story with users. Tiktok is slowly catching up to other platforms in terms of its business use. More and more restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon and using it to connect with their users, like Chipotle and Dunkin Donuts.
  • Twitter
    Another legacy social media platform, Twitter is most popular for its hashtag approach that allows businesses to take advantage of trending topics. Its user base, with 396 million active users, is smaller compared to the previously mentioned platforms.

Grow Your Restaurant Brand With Social Media Learn how to create a successful social media strategy for your business. Download Now

Tips for Building a Successful Social Media Strategy For Your Restaurant

  1. Identify your target customers
    As we mentioned before, the social media platforms a business uses and the type of content it creates is significantly dependent on the people it wants to reach. Know your customers well enough and find out what they are looking for when searching for a brand on social media and develop your strategy accordingly.
    Digging deep into your CRM system is a great way of understanding your customers better and creating a clearer picture of your target audience. Data points like age, gender, breakdown of new vs repeat customers, and customer order history are just some of the factors from your CRM that can help you identify your restaurant’s top customers.


  2. Create high-quality content
    Your posts on social media represent your brand and are often the first encounter potential customers have with your restaurant. This makes the quality of your content one of the most important factors for social media marketing success. These platforms are overcrowded with brands - fun, engaging, and excellent content is what can help you stand out from your competition.

  3. Be consistent
    Diners tend to follow hundreds of brands on social media, the way to catch their attention is by repeatedly reminding them about your brand by posting consistently. Use every style of content possible, like Instagram stories, reels, Facebook stories, etc. to make sure that you are able to reach as many people as possible. To add to that, social media algorithms favor accounts that are active over those that aren’t. This means that consistent posting increases your chances of being visible to your customers.

  4. Capitalize on trends
    New trends are popping up on social media every day. Give these topics your own twist to take advantage of the increased exposure that comes with them. However, don’t try to jump on every trend that comes your way. Choose the ones that align with your brand style and tone. 

  5. Show your human side
    It’s easy to get lost in posting promotional and ‘sales-y’ content about your restaurant. However, the best way to connect with your audience is by showing them that you’re more than a business. Sharing about the people behind your restaurant, some BTS snippets, and other ‘non-promotional’’ content helps people to see your brand as a relatable account and enables you to build stronger relationships with them


  6. Add a book now button
    Some social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow restaurants to generate sales directly from their social pages by adding a “book now” button. All you need to do is be enlisted with one of the supporting reservation platforms, like Eat App, and you can allow people to reserve their table straight through your profile.

    Learn how to enable direct bookings from your Facebook page here

  7. Engage with your audience
    As social media is all about connecting people, engaging with your audience is crucial to improving your strategy. Communicating with them by asking questions, requesting feedback, and asking for suggestions helps create two-way dialogue and makes people feel heard by your brand.

  8. Analyze your strategy
    Social media is constantly evolving. It’s important to keep track of your performance and see how these changes are affecting your strategy, what’s working and what’s not working, and taking action accordingly. Only upon analyzing will you be able to understand the type of content that works best for your restaurant

Examples of Successful Social Media Campaigns by Restaurants

  1. Share kitchen BTS
    Winnipeg bakery Jenna Rae Cakes gives its followers a look into their kitchen by sharing snippets of how they make their popular treats. These posts have proven very successful for the bakery, helping them gain thousands of views on their content.

  2. Highlight your team
    Miami-based dbakers Sweet Studio introduced their staff with a fun and engaging Instagram reel that helped people connect with their brand in a personal way. One person commented, “I went to the bakery for the first time on Saturday and had a wonderful experience💗 The staff members and treats were fantastic! Thank you💞”. Seeing the team highlighted encouraged her to share her positive experience with others.

  3. Run a competition
    Dubai-based fine-dining restaurant Bombay Borough ran a Father’s day giveaway on their social media that encouraged people to engage with the brand and receive an incentive in return. With this strategy, they capitalized on the existing Father’s day trend and used it to boost their brand awareness.


  4. Use a social media influencer
    London-based Dumplings Legend restaurant collaborated with social media influencer @clerkenwellboyec1 to promote their limited edition dumpling pop-up. This allowed them to capitalize on Clerken’s huge Instagram following and create awareness for their event.

Grow Your Restaurant Brand With Social Media Learn how to create a successful social media strategy for your business. Download Now


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