Not sure what the best social platforms are best for your restaurant or function centre? In this post we break down what you need to consider when choosing the right social platform (or platforms) to achieve success with your marketing.
With reach and engagement being harder and harder to get on sites like Facebook, it’s important to consider all options when searching for the best social platforms for you. And the reality is that you need to consider more than one. It’s not usually as simple as just posting to one social network and hoping for the best.
Here are a few tips for the main platforms that you should consider to find your best social platforms:
Which are the Best Social Platforms?
Here are a few of the key things that each platform works best for, what type of business they are suited for and how you can best use them. Then take into consideration whether it’s the best social platforms for you and how your business runs.
Think about whether you have the staff to manage more than one platform and which are the most important for you. The best social platforms for each restaurant or venue is unique and everyone is different.
With over 2 billion users it’s likely your customers are using Facebook and it’s usually the No 1 option (from these best social platforms) for most restaurants:
- Facebook is built around visual content, particularly images and video
- Customers can easily check in at your location and leave reviews
- The message function is great for bookings, customer service and engagement with your customers.
- Facebook ads are highly targeted and can bring great results for local businesses. The ability to target based on demographics and interests and online browsing history can mean that you can get very specific about how you target your ads. Use Easil’s Facebook Ad Templates to create a Facebook Ad easily and quickly:
A word about Facebook Ads.
Yes, Facebook organic reach is dropping more and more and yes, ad space is getting crowded… so the prices are going up. But… local ads are still continuing to do well.
Running a targeted ad for the few days leading up to an function or event can be very powerful, as is running an ad for brides looking for a function centre over time. Anyone with a physical place of business is in an excellent position to leverage ads – and get found for more event bookings!
TIPS FOR FACEBOOK:
- Encourage Check-ins to Facebook – offer a free drink or appetiser in return for showing the check-in at the bar. Facebook will also encourage those that check-in to write a review, which is a win-win as they are already (likely) to be a happy customer if they check-in, and you didn’t need to ask for the review, Facebook will!
- Share User Generated Content (content posted by your customers) with permission.
- Ensure your location information is up-to-date on your Facebook page to ensure that people can easily find you and check-in.
- Post a lot of video on Facebook, as it is the one thing that is likely to get organic reach at the moment (especially live video). You can also repurpose the content (ie square or vertical video) to Instagram or Instagram Stories.
Trip Advisor is the world’s largest travel site and millions of travellers (and locals) around the world use it to find, book and review restaurants. It might not be the thing you think of when you think about “best social platforms” but having a good Trip Advisor strategy is important for most restaurants in this digital age.
TIPS FOR TRIP ADVISOR:
- Be proactive and encourage your guests to leave reviews.
- Respond to all reviews – positive or negative, but especially the negative ones. These tips from Review Pro on responding to negative reviews are stellar. Follow their advice!
- Be careful offering incentives for reviews. It can violate the terms for review sites. But.. you can thank the people that leave reviews. It’s one of the best ways to turn them into brand ambassadors.
- Experiment with other review sites – Facebook, Yelp, Google etc. It may be that your audience is more comfortable leaving reviews in other places.
With over 800 million users, Instagram is one of the best social platforms for restaurants and function centres.
Instagram is highly engaging and perfect for venues as it’s very visual and built around images and video. And let’s face it, people love taking photos of their food, drinks and merriment!
TIPS FOR INSTAGRAM:
- Post quality images with natural lighting and interesting angles.
- Always (always!) add the location to your images when posting, because people can then find you via geotagging and local search.
- Unfortunately you can’t add links to Instagram posts, so make use of your bio link – it’s the one that people will click through on so make sure it matters! Use it for your website or an event page. If you have over 10,000 followers you can add links to Instagram Stories too!
- Share User Generated Content with permission. Use a tool like Tack to get permission to share posts from your customers and don’t forget to tag them. People love to be acknowledged.
- Share behind the scenes, new menus, events and more with Instagram Stories. Don’t forget to use location hashtags when you post.This helps not only your followers see your story but potentially other people if your story is included in the story for that location by Instagram.
- Create Instagram Stories (use these templates) and Story Highlights. These are albums that contain your instagram story content around a particular topic. Find out more about how to create Highlight albums here including some free Instagram Story Cover Templates from Easil.
HOT TIP: Read our post on How to Use Instagram Stories for Hotel or Venues and you’ll be creating engaging stories in no time!
Snapchat is a highly engaging platform yet it can be intimidating to businesses as it is not as intuitive to use as other social platforms, and it has a younger demographic. However, if your ideal customer is 25 or under then you really should consider Snapchat.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be creating loads of content on Snapchat to benefit from it! Here are a few tips:
TIPS FOR SNAPCHAT:
- use geo-filters and tags available via local search and local users of the app. It’s actually not that expensive to launch a branded geofilter that users can add to their snaps. A local geo-filter becomes available when someone uses the app around your restaurant or venue. You can use them to promote a location, venue, event or just allow your customers to have fun! Find out more on Snapchat’s website:
HOT TIP: If you do set up a geofilter for your venue, make it fun and engaging (just slapping up a logo doesn’t really cut it with Snapchat users as they like to get creative). It could be about the message or maybe an image that becomes part of their selfie – get creative! You can create:
- community geofilters are filters with the name of your town, suburb or city. If there isn’t one, do your community a favour and create one! Most of these are ongoing filters available to the public.
- personal geofilters – these are for birthdays, celebrations or weddings. If you are a wedding venue, encourage your wedding clients to set one up for the wedding. They pop up for a short period of time around the event.
- business geofilters – these are more about your venue or restaurant. Again, don’t restrict yourself to a logo – get creative! If you have an acount on Snapchat ask them to use it and snap you for some sort of incentive. You don’t have to be actively using Snapchat yourself to benefit from Geofilters but it’s more fun if you do! You just need an account to apply and you can create your own!
For many restaurants Twitter might not be the no 1 platform but it’s still worth considering. It’s benefit is in the ‘real time’ nature of posts, so any events happening currently or breaking news can be great for Twitter. It’s also great for customer service and conversations that you can join in on. Here’s some tips:
TIPS FOR TWITTER:
- Use Twitter for listening and conversation. Join in on conversation around local hashtags for events, your local town/city/suburb and geo-location.
- Use Twitter for customer service. People will often use Twitter to ask questions, give advice or give feedback.
- Use humour. Twitter is famous for having some hilarious exchanges so if you are engaging with customers on Twitter, don’t be afraid to be funny! Wendy’s a fast food outlet in the US is famous for this.
- Use Twitter search filters to find conversations happening around your brand, venue or event. You can search by location, words, phrases, hashtags and more.
- Use hashtags for events or your venue – so that you can not only find conversations around them!
- Chat with followers and influencers – Twitter is all about 1:1 conversations
- Share content about your venue as well as about local events, people and partner businesses, as well as relevant news.
A great example of using Twitter for listening and conversation is Hilton Suggests. They listen to conversations in local areas and join in to offer help to travellers and diners. It’s also a great account that has now become more about giving insider tips for people exploring new cities. The team at Hilton Suggests share their favourite travel suggestions. They don’t “push” Hilton but by giving advice and tips, often it results in Hilton bookings!
Here’s an example:
Twitter might not be your main platform but it’s definitely worth considering, even if just to keep up with what is being said about your local area, city, town, or venue!
Pinterest is often not the first thing that mind when you think “best social platforms” to focus on for restaurants and venues, but it is an important site none-the-less.
Why? Firstly because even if you are not marketing your venue on Pinterest, your audience might be. All that they need to share your content are some great visuals on your web pages or blog. Secondly, the very fact that not a lot of restaurants are prioritising Pinterest means that you are at an advantage if you do a few simple things.
The other thing to remember is that Pinterest is less of a social media platform and more of a search engine. People are searching for all sorts of things on Pinterest including cocktail menus, events and more!
Here are some tips:
TIPS FOR PINTEREST:
Here are some types of boards and images you can share on them to get found on Pinterest:
- Tablescapes, table-settings and styling. Pinterest is all about styling and if you have an event set up and ready for guests, capture it first with a stunning image. Share these images on an SEO-Optimized board for events. Your ideal customer might be on Pinterest and searching on Pinterest.
- Event Venue – create a board about your venue or restaurant for hire and share all the aspects of your venue from the menu to the styling and decor.
- Menus – share the menu for your restaurant and keep it updated.
- Recipes – Recipes are huge on Pinterest. Take advantage of this by showcasing your cocktails or signature dishes. Maybe your next new customer will find you based on a search for cocktails! Check out how the Californian Pizza Kitchen create boards about pizza pairings, pizzas, sides, salads and kitchen hacks!
- Local Events – think outside of your own venue and share local events in your area on a Pinterest board. Being the business that shares local content is smart. Guess at people also find when they find local information? They find YOU!
- Themed Holiday Boards – search volumes are high on Pinterest around particular holidays like Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day. Why not create your own board of content around that theme, including any events you have on or menus tailored for the holiday theme. Searches for this type of content will drive traffic to your website. Where are your customers hanging out?
Linkedin has a lot of hidden advantages for marketing your restaurant. Think about it, wouldn’t it be highly possible that your ideal audience is on Linkedin – professionals, job-seekers, foodies, local organisations, and people who need meeting and event venues.. they all use LinkedIn.
Here are a few tips for leveraging LinkedIn for your resetaurant or function centre:
TIPS FOR LINKEDIN;
Try these tips for your restaurant or function centre:
- Join LinkedIn groups for professionals and businesses in your local area. Being active in groups is a great way to highlight your business and who you are. Look for local and regional (even national) hospitality groups to join.
- Post about company news like new team members, events you are hosting or if you are donating or sponsoring an event in the community. Mix this with posts about your new menu or events. Just because LinkedIn is a professional site, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Asking your audience to name your new burger can be just as powerful on LinkedIn as on Facebook.
- Share content from a range of sources such as blog posts about your industry, articles about the local area and business related content that your ideal customer might be interested in. If you specialise in weddings share content about wedding receiptions. Be the source of great content!
- Publish visual content such as videos, photos of your menus and events. LinkedIn now supports native video so you can add video to your LinkedIn feed without it being published anywhere else (like YouTube) first.
- Jump into LinkedIn on a daily basis to read some posts and engage with your network. Make an effort to engage with people that represent the local community groups, businesses, businesses groups or event planners that you would like as customers.
- Consider LinkedIn Ads. They can be very targeted and you an use them to reach potential event companies, event planners, business groups or customers. Target your ad by company, location and more!
Where are your ideal customers hanging out?
Now that we have had a look at the platforms, there’s one more thing that will help to drive your decision – look at where your customers are and what they are looking for on social media. Answer that question and you’re well on your way to deciding where to focus your time.
When finding the best social platforms for your restaurant, function centre or venue it’s best to start looking at the actions your potential customers could be taking. They might be:
- Searching for restaurants on Trip Advisor or Yelp
- Engaging via location: Checking in to places they love on Facebook, adding geotags on Facebook or using geofilters on Snapchat.
- Looking at hashtags or location tags around your venue in Instagram Stories.
- Searching google for “Best Restaurants” blog posts.
- Logging into Facebook and checking whether their friends have been to a location or looking at check-ins from their friends.
- Writing reviews on Trip Advisor, Facebook Pages, Google Reviews.
And so on!
The thing to remember here is that the customer is in the driver’s seat. The best thing you can do is to make sure your content can be found – first and foremost.
How Should You Best Spend Your Time?
Yes, Facebook is huge and for most restaurants and function centres, it’s important to be on there, but it could be that your target market is on Instagram or maybe they are leaving reviews on Trip Advisor.
Consider all of your options and where your time will be best spent when choosing the best social platforms for you. This will be heavily weighted by where your customers are hanging out and the type of content your team can create.
SCENARIOS TO HELP YOU DECIDE:
- You have staff on your team that love taking photos – Instagram will be a good fit.
- You have younger team members that “get” Snapchat – consider making it part of their role to manage your Snapchat account. Train them like you would with any marketing role, but give them room to be creative.
- You have barely any time and staff to create content. Consider focusing on User Generated Content, Facebook Ads and encouraging check-ins for Facebook and/or Instagram story hashtags and location stickers.
- You only have time for one platform, choose one for you to post content on and then encourage check-ins on 1 or 2 other platforms.
Can you see how the tips above can be mixed and matched? It’s a process of experimentation and elimination. Try a few, find out what works, pick a core platform to focus on and start from there!
What is your “core” platform out of the best social platforms? (ie the one you spend the most time on?). What platforms or strategies will you consider now on that platform or some other platforms that will help boost your marketing?