Marketing a restaurant presents unique challenges to any business owner. While print media was once the favored platform, social media has become increasingly relevant in recent years.
Advertisers can now use Facebook to generate impressions at costs as low as 27 cents each, offering seemingly limitless potential.
On the other hand, the ubiquity of the platform means that more and more restaurants are advertising on Facebook every year, and you may be in danger of blending in with the competition.
These strategies will help you reach the largest possible audience and build a stronger customer base for your restaurant.
1. Start with Ad Targeting
One unique opportunity offered by social media marketing in general, and especially Facebook, is the concept of ad targeting. This allows you to direct ads toward specific groups of people based on factors such as demographics or previous interest in your business.
With ad targeting, you know you’re not wasting money by putting your brand in front of people who aren’t interested.
Ad targeting also allows you to monitor which users have visited your website, giving you the chance to follow up with a Facebook ad. You can also use it to analyze trends about your existing audience in order to reach out to similar people who may also be interested.
More than two-thirds of Americans use Facebook, so your audience is out there waiting for you to reach them!
2. Create an Enticing Image
Visibility is one thing, but the most successful restaurants are able to demonstrate through their social media profiles that they’re a top destination.
You should include pictures of happy, satisfied customers along with a few of your signature dishes. Curating a beautiful page involves setting your restaurant apart from the others.
This could also involve things like great reviews, industry awards, or other notable pieces of information you think customers would want to see. Your value should be as prominent as possible, catching the eyes of your audience members and drawing them to the best aspects of your restaurant.
You should also make your address clearly visible to people nearby.
4. Enable Direct Bookings from your Facebook Page
Facebook now allows restaurants to enable direct bookings through their profile with a new "Book Now" button. Once a restaurant is partnered with one of Facebook's official reservation partners, like Eat App, it can receive direct bookings by connecting the "book now" buttons on the Facebook page with the booking widget. This new tool provides restaurants a great opportunity to capitalize on their social media followers.
Learn how to enable bookings on your Facebook page here.
4. Take Online Orders
It’s great if you can get users to come to visit you, but it’s even better if you’re able to make them order directly from Facebook. It’s a feature many restaurant owners aren’t even aware of but can be a quick and easy way to boost revenue directly from the platform. You’ll first have to add your menu to your Facebook profile using the menu tab plugins.
Taking online orders also involves setting up your restaurant to be capable of monitoring and responding to those orders.
Make sure you have enough people working to account for both traditional customers and those ordering online. You should also create a prominent call to action that leads directly to creating an online order.
5. Boost Your Most Popular Posts
If you have a steady stream of content on your Facebook page, you’ll likely have some posts that don’t garner as much interest.
But when you post something that your customers and followers really engage with, you should do everything you can to capitalize on that success.
Boosting a given post involves making it visible even to Facebook users who don’t follow your page. This can let you reach people who may be interested in the type of food you serve or have other aligned interests that you weren’t reaching with organic posting.
You should consider this option for any popular post that prominently features your brand.
6. Engage Your Users with Personal Content
Every restaurant has the same basic information posted on Facebook, but you can see great results by going the extra mile and providing even more engaging content. Running a gift card giveaway for your customers, for example, can promote interest and bring them back to use the credit.
This is even more effective if you make a picture tagging your restaurant a condition for entry.
You can also share content posted by your customers to further promote engagement. Keep your eyes open for posts that tag your restaurant and consider sharing them from your own page. This shows that you emphasize engagement with your customers and care about their experience.
Diversifying your content makes your profile more attractive to potential followers, especially compared to other restaurant pages which are typically full of ads. Constant promotional content will turn them off and make your page seem generic and unappealing.
7. A/B Test All Advertisements
Facebook gives you extremely powerful tools to monitor the success of your marketing approach, and these can also be used to help continue improving your tactics.
No matter what type of campaign you’re running, you can always split it into two similar ads and then test them against each other.
Successfully utilizing the potential of A/B testing takes time, but it can have a substantial impact on your conversion rate. Above all, continual testing will help you keep in mind that you should always be attempting to adapt and fine-tune your strategies regardless of their current success.
8. Build Separate Campaigns for New Customers
The Custom Audiences tool allows you to build groups based on their interest in your restaurant, but it’s equally important to market to those people who have never heard of your brand. Using the Lookalike tool, you can create a list of targeted users who match the description of your existing audience.
The best way to approach this strategy is by keeping it simple. Let this new audience know who you are, what you offer, and what sets you apart from the competition. But don’t expect to immediately generate the same levels of interest.
This audience takes more time to convert compared to those who have shown interest, but targeting them can provide a steady funnel of new customers well into the future.
Facebook marketing can seem complicated and overwhelming at first, but it truly provides you with all the tools you need to reach short- and long-term success.
Start with these simple tips to get an idea of how to best leverage the platform, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your own ideas once you’re more familiar with the system.