As 2023 comes to a close, many restauranteurs are turning their attention to 2024, considering strategies that can take their business to the next level. In addition to planning menus and supply chain optimization, marketing is one of the top considerations. How can they reach out to new or current guests and turn them into brand-loyal customers?
Social media can be one of the top marketing tools if you create engaging platforms. 5th & Cor reports that approximately 45 percent of diners have tried a restaurant thanks to social media marketing.
SMS marketing, which sends text messages directly to customers’ mobile phones, is also highly effective. While some brands hesitate to use this advertising model, it’s important to note that these messages are sent only to those customers who have opted in and provided permission. SMS has an impressive engagement rate, with a 98 percent open rate and a 45 percent response rate. Compared to email, with 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively, you can see the significant benefit this marketing tool provides.
Let’s explore these two strategies and which ones may be right for your brand in 2024.
Social Media Marketing Trends for Restaurants
Staying on top of trends, whether the latest culinary favorites or where your target market hangs out on social media, can seem like a full-time job. And, for many people, it is. But not every restaurant has the staff or funds for a full-time marketing team, let alone someone exclusively engaged in social media.
However, you can direct your efforts to the platforms that offer the best return on time and investments.
- Videos are key: According to Sprout Social, about half of all social media users prefer video content. Short-form videos are considered more engaging than long-form videos, with those under 30 seconds performing exceptionally well. While Instagram and TikTok are the first platforms that come to mind when considering videos, Facebook has also increased its video options with the Watch tab, Stories, and Facebook Live. Live video attracts the highest engagement rate.
As with most media, it’s critical to catch a viewer’s attention in the first few seconds.
- Paid promotions: To attract those initial viewers, targeted paid promotions directed toward your ideal market can drive engagement. These are particularly powerful using Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
- Stay relevant: Staying up to date on relevant topics and current trends can significantly impact the success of a campaign.
- Encourage diners to post pictures: A survey by Stackla found that an astounding 80% of respondents said user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions. Supply your diners with Instagram-worthy presentations and ambiance and encourage them to tag your restaurant in social media posts.
- Engagement: The more engaged you are, the more loyal your guests become. It’s like having a conversation. You appreciate someone who hears what you’re saying and authentically responds.
Social Media Strategies That Worked
TGI Friday’s developed a social media campaign focusing on Instagram video and carousel ads and Facebook local awareness ads. Over 50,000 restaurant visits were attributed to the six-week campaign.
Sweetgreen embraced social media platforms with a witty voice and incredible images that have attracted tons of followers. In their Instagram account alone, they have over 256,000 followers. Chipotle also incorporates a humorous strategy with amusing tweets and trending TikTok videos.
The Bottom Line
People use social media to select restaurants and explore their menus. It’s no longer an option for restaurants but a vital key to their success.
SMS Marketing Trends for Restaurants
Successful SMS marketing is based on timing and targeted campaigns. Sending a text message just as a group of friends or a family is deciding what to do for dinner can offer the nudge they need to decide on your establishment. Sending a special to an office worker right before they take their lunch break can make them think twice about their plans and head in your direction.
SMS automations send text messages automatically. These messages are triggered by your customer’s behavior. For instance, you can send a message to a guest who hasn’t returned in a few weeks, letting them know about a special that aligns with their favorite menu items. Short and concise, they retain your brand’s voice while offering personalized, targeted, and consistent messaging.
This form of marketing is also great for personalized birthday wishes and a special offer for their special day. You can also enhance loyalty by offering exclusive items that make your VIP customers feel especially appreciated.
Messages and posts that are authentic, targeted, and personalized are the keys to successful social media and SMS marketing. If you haven’t yet embraced these strategies, 2024 is calling you to enter the digital marketing arena.