Social Media Do’s & Don’ts for Restaurants
Increasingly, restaurant guests are choosing where to dine based on an establishment’s Instagram feed. According to a recent study, 45% of restaurant patrons have tried a restaurant because of a social media post made on the establishment’s feed and 21% have claimed that a poorly done post dissuaded them from dining at a place.
What about the other platforms? Yes, you need to maintain a Facebook presence, but it does not have the impact with younger diners that Instagram does. Depending on your target demographic, you can spend more or less time on this platform. Twitter is great for food trucks with changing locations or other types of businesses with frequent news to post – otherwise you don’t need to have a Twitter feed
Do create a visually dynamic feed with high quality photos. Ask yourself, would the photo you are posting entice you to visit the restaurant? Is it consistent with previous posts? Does it contribute to the story of the restaurant?
Instagram Feeds need to reflect the personality of the restaurant and its staff. Do include photos of the team behind the restaurant - often photos of chefs, key team members and owners do extremely well.
You are looking for reach and engagement, not likes. It’s important to monitor your analytics - click on “Insights” (under each individual photo) to see how a post is doing. Likes are great but reach tends to be at least 10 – 12 times the number of likes. Reach refers to who actually sees the post as not everyone who sees it will like it. You can also see who visited your profile – aka wanted to know more about your restaurant. Which brings us to your profile…
Do make sure you profile description gives potential customers a clear idea of who you are, where you are and either links to your website or your reservations service.
Do hire experts to run your feed. Make sure they have demonstrable success building feeds for restaurants, increasing engagement and also include photography in their services.
Don’t buy followers. People can tell when a feed has bought followers – posts with just a few likes on feeds with thousands of followers reflect poorly on the restaurant.
Don’t forget video – videos can get higher engagement from viewers. Short videos and gifs work best.
Don’t forget to utilize Instagram Stories for capturing the moment, promoting a special or reposting media coverage and influencer visits. Have fun with the stories and use graphics or text to add personality. Stories are great for immediate calls to action but keep in mind that they will disappear after 24 hours unless you add them to a Highlights channel.
There are a lot of companies that do social media for restaurants so make sure to ask lots of questions. Who on the team will run the feed and where are they based – ideally they are local and understand your market. Will they reply to comments and questions from users in a timely fashion? Inquire about their past successes – case studies are good, endorsements from current or prior clients even better. And make sure you get reports on a consistent basis showing the feed’s growth, engagement % and more. The proof is not in the pudding but in the data, which demonstrates where the ROI is, making Instagram a key component to your future success.