“Nowadays, it’s about sharing, and sharing what we eat is free marketing for restaurants.” – Photographer Bonnie Tsang
As social media becomes an even more regular and accepted part of our lives—personally and professionally—it’s time that restaurants embrace it as a viable marketing tool. In terms of value, a well-groomed online presence with enticing photography, a unique voice, and a willingness to engage with customers can do wonders for your restaurant marketing strategy.
For restaurants hesitant to make that leap, stop for a second to consider this: Your restaurant is already on social media. Even if you haven’t taken steps to set up accounts, your customers most likely have already established a presence for you on sites like Yelp or by sharing photos and details of their experience on their own pages.
So rather than hide from this growing trend and allow your customers to control your brand’s identity, wouldn’t it make more sense to gain control by taking an active role in developing and establishing your own online presence?
What a Good Idea
“There’s no question that referrals and social buzz are a far more important and organic source of marketing than waiting for the big review.” – Bill Chait, Sprout Restaurant Group
Whether you’ve already established your social identity or you’re just getting started, there are a number of marketing tips and tricks you can employ to improve your online branding efforts. Here are some of the top restaurant brands doing this right:
1. Taco Bell
In searching for top restaurant brands on social media, Taco Bell almost always makes the list. With an average of a million followers on each of their platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube), and a steady stream of video and photo content flowing through their feeds, customers and soon-to-be customers are getting a healthy dose of taco-loving content on a regular basis.
Lesson of the Day: Master the platforms that make sense for your restaurant and keep the content coming through on a regular basis.
Starbucks tends to make the news every year because of the hubbub around their holiday cup designs. Really, though, they should be receiving praise year-round for their classy, high-resolution photography. You can catch them on pretty much all major platforms (from Twitter to LinkedIn, Pinterest to YouTube), but where they really shine is Facebook andInstagram.
Lesson of the Day: Amazing photography can go a long way on social media.
Applebee’s has a very distinctive voice on social and they know just what their customers are looking for: great deals. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, chances are good you’ll find amazing close-ups of their food in combination with special offers, so you can enjoy their food for less.
Lesson of the Day: Customers always love a good deal; don’t wait until they’re in-house to find out what you’ve got going on.
4. The Grilled Cheese Truck
The Grilled Cheese Truck, a chain of food trucks mostly based on the West Coast, has a really strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Twitter is arguably the most successful of all their platforms, with an average of 17 tweets a day (many of which are retweets of their customers’ photos): more than enough activity to keep a solid presence in followers’ feeds.
Lesson of the Day: Remember to regularly show your followers some love. It shouldn’t be about you, you, you all the time.
If you want a side of humor with your meat, then Wendy’s is the social brand for you. YouTube and Twitter offer customers (and general fans of the brand) a really good taste of what they’re offering. Funny videos, Twitter spats with Burger King, and a focus on the ingredients are just the start.
Lesson of the Day: It’s all about personality with Wendy’s. Whether you eat their food or not, chances are you’ve laughed at least once at something they’ve done on social.
Regardless of how large or small your business, getting your restaurant marketing efforts starting (or ramped up) on social media needs to be a priority this year. Your audience is there and waiting for you.
Don’t have enough time to spend on your digital brand message? You can start to have more time once you spend less on your daily operations management. Check out our restaurant management software modules for more information.