marketingRestaurant Industry Insights

Tips and Trends for Making Social Media Marketing Work for Your Restaurant

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the benefits of social media marketing. As an industry that relies on word-of-mouth and positive reviews, this marketing strategy can have a significant effect on driving new and repeat restaurant customers. One study found that 45% of diners tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post made by the restaurant. In addition, of the survey respondents who actively engaged with restaurants on social media, almost 75% said they were more likely to visit or order food from those establishments they had an online relationship.

A well-established social media platform that actively engages with customers and potential guests can greatly influence diner’s decisions. Let’s explore a few of the latest trends in content marketing and how to engage with your soon-to-be brand-loyal guests.

Who’s Your Target Customer, and Where Do They Live?

We know that most of your target customers live within a three-mile radius of your restaurant. But where do they live online? The most popular social media platforms for restaurants are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Each caters to a varied and unique audience. 


Facebook has long been considered the biggest social media site, with billions of active users. This platform tends to attract users between 25-34 and is the go-to for many looking for information regarding your restaurant. Facebook also offers comprehensive business pages and provides the opportunity to engage with customers, present and future, directly.


Instagram boasts the highest engagement rate of any social media platform. It’s also the image-based platform that enables restaurants and their customers to post delectable and ‘Instagrammable’ images of your food. Older Gen Z’s (age 18-24) are neck-and-neck with the younger millennials regarding the use of Instagram

According to SocialMediaToday, 69% of millennials take a picture of their food, and 30% avoid restaurants without a strong Instagram presence. Dirty Bones in London shared this with SocialMediaToday, “More people are using Instagram to help them decide where to eat, so as a restaurant group, it’s key for us to make sure that people are getting the best possible shots of all our dishes and drinks.” 


Going viral on TikTok is just about every restauranteur’s social media dream. Bon Appétit reported on Madison Shapiro, a woman who noted that a New York restaurant was drawing some attention because of its $28 skirt steak dinner and unlimited fries. She and her sisters posted a short-form video that hit a million views. That day, the restaurant owner looked outside to find over 100 people waiting in line to eat at his establishment.  


Twitter’s text-based platform allows you to “tweet” up to 280 characters. These can be liked, retweeted, and replied to, allowing for responsive customer service and direct communication with your clients, as long as someone is engaged in and monitoring the account. Consider tweeting up to 2-3 times daily, updating users on specials and happy hour, and appreciating your followers. In addition, post visual content and promote your Twitter handle in your restaurant and across your other social media platforms.

Engaging in Social Media

While marketers vary in the number of posts you should aim for each week, the general guideline is to try for at least three posts per week on most platforms. Ideally, your restaurant would post at least once a day. Determine what times of day your posts perform the best, and then implement a consistent social media calendar.

That said, the quality of your content matters more than the frequency of postings. After a bit of regular engagement, you or your designated team member will be able to determine what types of engaging content get more comments and shares. 


How do restaurants use social media marketing?

Here are a few strategies that restaurants use to create engaging content:

  • Share high-quality videos and photos of what’s happening behind the scenes in your BOH. 
  • Make sure your brand is recognizable across all content. Is your voice fun and playful, helpful and empathetic, or sustainable and fresh? Ensure your voice carries across every post.
  • Use content generated by your guests. Re-post any that you find online, and make sure you credit the originator.
  • Highlighting your restaurant employees offers a personal touch and can establish an emotional connection with your guests, a critical component of a successful brand.

What social media should a restaurant have?

At a minimum, every restaurant should have an active Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok account. If your hands are full or the thought of engaging on social media is slightly terrifying, consider a social media and content marketer or turn to one of your staff that undoubtedly knows the ins and outs of today’s online community.

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