When it comes to marketing a restaurant the bottom line is: You can never rest on your laurels. You must always assume that the next best thing is right around the corner or that your loyal customer base is not as devoted as you hope it is. Even if you are everyone’s go-to dining establishment right now, success can be fleeting unless you nurture it – through advertising, promotion, and marketing.
Facebook: A Restaurant’s #1 Priority
Social media in general and Facebook in particular are all about making people feel connected – to you and to your business. You want them to know you, like what you’re offering, be interested in your message and, ultimately, to want to visit your restaurant.
Restaurants can use Facebook to connect with customers and increase sales with its newer features like live streaming and photo editing, as well as its user-friendly reservation system that can be tailor-made for individual restaurants. These functions can help you boost your brand and build a strong online presence, all with an eye to attracting customers and driving sales. All this costs close to nothing… although the time investment may be considerable at first. Nonetheless, it is time well spent, as growing your business is always a top priority. Even if you’re technologically challenged, setting up your restaurant’s Facebook page is simple, as we outlined right here on an earlier post.
The Facebook Route to Your Website
Current trends in restaurant marketing are aimed at more than just keeping you alive; their goal is to keep your restaurant at the forefront of the public’s awareness without letting up. Creating an online presence – through a well-designed and interactive website and a super-active Facebook page – is the key to success, so start now. Creating an effective website gives you a stage on which you can show off your business; it is a place that is all your own.
Your website and Facebook page aren’t mutually exclusive, however; customers should be able to access both easily. Ensure that your website’s URL is prominent on your Facebook page and encourage your customers to click on the link that brings them to your website. Your website is a place to use photos to your advantage, to offer an online reservation system, and perhaps sell restaurant gift cards and other restaurant-related paraphernalia. By making the transition from Facebook to website as seamless as possible, you’re allowing potential customers to see all sides of your business in an easy and interactive way.
Facebook Live: Perfect for Restaurants
Facebook Live is a relatively recent offering from the social media giant that allows users to stream live video right on their Facebook page. Facebook Live is a great marketing tool for restaurants, as it lets owners attract viewers and customers through, for example, cooking demonstrations, virtual tours of the kitchen and dining room, interviews with key staff members, and live-streamed special events. This cool feature lets users get up close and personal with your restaurant, whetting their appetites for more, even before eyeing your menu and savoring your signature dishes.
Facebook Image Editor: A Restaurant Owner’s Dream
Photos are vital for successful restaurant marketing, in particular on Facebook, as nothing captures the essence of a restaurant and its food like a picture. Every Facebook post you publish should have a high-quality photo included; so, to begin building your photograph library, start taking pictures now. With its Image Editor feature, Facebook is essentially taking a page out of Instagram’s book by letting users upload photos directly from their phone and then allowing them to edit them right on their Facebook page.
With the Facebook photo editor, you can crop and filter photos, and add descriptive text. You can also play with the color to make your food tantalizingly attractive, or add a few amusing “out takes” to keep your target audience entertained and engaged. Organize these photos in Dropbox or Google Drive so that you can find them easily. Take loads of pictures and use them over time with your weekly or daily posts.
Facebook Can Help You Expand Your Email List
Establishing an email list is one of the best ways to market your business directly to your customers. With a “call to action” on your restaurant’s Facebook page (which doubles as a sign-up button), you can encourage customers to register for your loyalty club, newsletter, or other promotional offers. If you’re just starting out and need help building the email list, free services like MailChimp will help you gather names and integrate the list with your website and your Facebook page.
Facebook: The Opportunity to Reach Out
Facebook is a two-way street: it gives you and your customers the opportunity to interact and converse. When you post on your Facebook page, remember that you’re directing your voice to your customers… and you want to hear from them as well. Ask your customers to share their experiences, and any positive stories about dining at your restaurant. When you post (with a photo, of course) about a particular dish, ask diners to talk about their favorite menu offerings and to send pictures, if possible. People want to be part of your success and they want to know that their opinions are heard, but they may need prompting. Ask questions and reach out; being proactive and communicative is the key to success.
Use your Facebook page to post special offers and group deals. Offer an incentive to followers who “like” your page, and distribute coupons to those who share your deals with friends. Introduce contests and promotions on your page to keep people engaged and coming back. If used wisely, your followers will grow exponentially and you will be amazed by the power of social media.
Create a Strong Facebook Presence to Market Your Restaurant
The beauty of using Facebook as a restaurant’s marketing tool is that it lets you find your voice and be heard. Be hands-on with your followers – ask for their input, respond to reviews (good and… less good), and engage potential customers (and veteran clients) with coupons and contests. Be consistent and be ever-present: aim for one post per day (certainly at first). Load your Facebook page with attractive and exciting photos of your restaurant, your food, and your happy customers. Stay tuned to this site, as we’ll be explaining Facebook’s great Check-In feature and how it can help market your restaurant. Be attentive to your Facebook page as a key marketing strategy, and your business will grow along with your list of followers.