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How Social Media Can Increase Sales at Your Restaurant

Instagram and Facebook is free word of mouth advertising. You might be surprised to learn that it's actually more effective than paid advertising and here's why.

Social media is undeniably the best way to promote your restaurant, bar, cafe’ or coffee shop. When your fans share pictures of themselves enjoying their favorite food and drinks from your restaurant on social media all of their followers are being advertised to. Word-of-mouth advertising like this is incredibly valuable. It can’t be bought and it can’t be faked.

You can, however, encourage it by getting setting on social media and posting regularly.

Which Social Media Platforms Should You Choose for Your Restaurant?

There are several social media platforms to choose from, but it takes time to manage each one effectively. It’s best to pick one or two and do them well. Fortunately, the two most popular platforms are also perfect for food-based businesses.

“92% of respondents reported that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member, or someone they trust is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service.”

― Paul M Rand, Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business

Instagram & Facebook

Instagram is perfect for restaurants because it is a visual platform. People love to take pictures of themselves, a gorgeous view and the food and drinks they are enjoying.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing networks. It can drive sales to your restaurant in a way that no other paid advertising can do. Word-of-mouth advertising in convincing because people are influenced by what their friends and family are doing.

Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platforms. It can increases sales to your restaurant by making it easy for customers to find your location, see your menu, and makes their plans with their friends.

Why Social Media Marketing is so Effective for Restaurants

  • It allows you to communicate directly with your fans and build a community.
  • It allows you to engage your audience in an authentic way.
  • It’s measurable. It reveals what’s working and what is not.
  • It helps you understand your audience.
  • It’s authentic “word-of-mouth” advertising.
  • It’s visual and sharable.
  • It builds brand loyalty and helps you stay top of mind.
  • It can help people to fall in love with your menu and share it with their friends.
  • It can help you find influencers to partner with.
  • It can drive traffic to your website which can lead to more reservations and online orders.
  • Most importantly…

It’s where your customers are at.

If all of your customers and fans where at a local sporting event you’d want your promotional materials posted there. Well, the majority of your current and future customers are on Facebook and Instagram. It doesn’t make sense to avoid those platforms.

Share your specials and your menus. You might not be able to put a picture next to each menu item on your menu. However, you certainly can put pictures on your website and social media.

Share your story. Why you started a restaurant and why you keep at it everyday. If you can discover what makes your restaurant unique and communicate that on a consistent basis you will grow a base of loyal fans.

3 Easy Ways to Turn Likes into Happy Diners

  • Offer Something Seasonal or Unique
  • Run a Contest
  • Reward Your Loyal Fans
  • It’s easy to use an Instagram account linked to your Facebook Business page to tell your fans about specials or contests. You can upload a picture from your phone directly to Instagram and have it also be published on Facebook.

This type of engagement will often result in more followers. It is also a great way to build community and increase customer loyalty.

There are so many ways to use social media to bring more people to your website and into your restaurant. I’d love to hear more ideas! Share your favorite types of Instagram posts in the comments. Perhaps we can compile it all into a list so we have ideas for inspiration.

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