A solid restaurant social media strategy is an essential part of a comprehensive overall marketing strategy. Rounding out your digital presence with strong social media accounts could make or break a sale. The best part? It’s free.

Restaurant Social Media Statistics

A survey by restaurant marketing agency MGH revealed a few insights into how today’s diners use social media to choose their next dining destination:

  • 36% of U.S. diners follow restaurants on social media.
  • 45% of U.S. diners said they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post made by the establishment itself.
  • 21% of U.S. diners claimed social posts could be a deterrent.
  • 22% of U.S. diners said a restaurant’s social post enticed them to return.

Restaurant Social Media Checklist

Just like the delicious food that comes out of your kitchen, on social media consistency is key. There is information that should be consistent across all of your restaurant social media profiles to ensure that your customers can easily find (and fall in love with) your business.

  • Display names

Keep your restaurant’s name consistent across all social media platforms so that when guests look for you, they’ll know you’ve come to the right place. 

  • Social media handles

Again, be consistent and identifiable with your handle. If your restaurant name is already taken, try adding your city name or abbreviation to the end. (ie: if @burgerbar is taken, try @burgerbar.nyc)

  • Profile photos

Just like the two points above, keep this consistent across all platforms. Your restaurant’s logo is the best bet to make sure your guests know it’s you. 

  • Your restaurant’s location

You guessed it – be consistent. If your restaurant has multiple locations, some social media sites only allow for one address, so use the address of your flagship location or most popular restaurant.

  • Your restaurant’s website URL

Each social media platform has a website field, allowing you to direct your guests anywhere online. This space should go to your restaurant website so new followers can learn more about your business. 

  • The “About Me” or “Bio” sections

This should include a brief description of your restaurant so potential customers know they found the right account.

Want more information on how to manage the list above? Download the ebook now: Upserve’s Guide to Restaurant Social Media

Social Media Best Practices During Stay-at-Home Orders and Beyond

Get Your Followers to Engage and Share

Instagram is the platform where restaurants see the most engagement, so try running a contest to boost your reach. The Instagram algorithm loves it when people share, comment on, and like your photo and contests give your followers a reason to do just that. Whether you are trying to drive more people to your online ordering page or announce the opening of your dining room with a gift card giveaway, an Instagram contest is a low-budget method to get the word out.

If you’re new to Instagram contests, check out the example below from Hometown Poké in Providence, RI. They got people to share photos featuring their tag (free brand awareness), had people tag friends in their comments (brand awareness plus an algorithm boost), and had followers encourage their friends to do the same (even more contest entries).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thanks for the tag @tingbarnard ! We’re showing off our masks for @mask_up_ri ! The @cdcgov recommends everyone wear face masks in public settings where social distancing may be difficult to maintain. Now is the time for everyone to try to do their part to flatten the curve. In honor of this, we’re giving away two $25 gift cards.??? ??? Here’s what to do:??? ? Post a pic of you wearing your face mask.??? ? Tag a friend and @hometownpoke. ??? ? Have your friend post a pic of them wearing their mask and tag @hometownpoke.??? ? We’ll announce a winner Monday night and send you and a friend an e-gift card for $25 each.? ??? Stay safe everyone! Thanks for being troopers and helping keep each other healthy. We love you to pieces! ?

A post shared by HOMETOWN CAFE & POKE? BAR (@hometownpoke) on

Post as Often as Possible

Things will still be uncertain in this industry for quite some time. A restaurant that is open one day may have to take a break the next, or worse. The more recent your last post on social media is, the more confidence guests will have that you are open and ready to serve them. Try posting once a day or at least a few times a week to let guests know you are still around.

It can be difficult to come up with content on a regular basis, but the key is not to overthink it too much! A shot of the day’s special, a reminder of your contactless takeout procedures, or even a simple video of you just saying hello keeps you connected to your guests.

Show Behind the Scenes

Give your customers a glimpse of the BOH. We’re seeing a lot of guests commenting on social media with concerns about what measures restaurants are taking to ensure the health of customers when it comes to takeout and delivery orders. Take a minute to post a behind the scenes photo of your BOH and FOH staff in their gloves, masks, and other protective gear and share your sanitizing methods to ease any fears a potential customer may have about ordering out.

9 Fresh Ideas for Restaurant Social Media Content

1. Introduce your staff to your followers

Your staff is a huge asset to your business. Leverage their distinct talents, expertise, personalities, and passions. By sharing posts about your staff, you give your customers a better glimpse into who they are and makes for a post that your employees want to engage with, likely sharing it with their networks. Not only does this boost the reach of your post, but it’s also a great way to provide well-deserved recognition.

Here’s how to create restaurant social media content with your staff:

  • Share a photo of your pastry chef and their favorite dish of the moment.
  • Showcase school pride: How many staff members that attended a local college?
  • Announce your staff members’ outside-of-work accomplishments like graduations, marriages, new babies, and more.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Last night, we celebrated these two sweet angels, Stef and Jesus. Yesterday, Stef was supposed to walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma from Classical High School. Jesus was supposed to do the same at Central High School. Many of us may not remember, but that walk across the stage symbolizes 12 years of hard work and dedication. It’s your life’s work to that point. Symbolism is important and to not have that opportunity is heartbreaking. ? ? Stef and Jesus never once complained when their high schools shut down, when they were banned from seeing their friends, or when their senior year was completely derailed by COVID, and prom, senior events, and graduation were all canceled. They were understanding. They handled everything with grace. They were mature way beyond what many adults give them credit for. When I worry about the future, I think about Stef and Jesus and our other work babies, and then I’m not so worried. They are so hardworking and dedicated and kind and thoughtful. Their hearts are big and full of love. If they are our future, our world will be better than it is now.? ? To Stef and Jesus – we could not be more proud of you. You’ve worked incredibly hard to get here. Congratulations! You deserve to be celebrated. Thank you for making the world a brighter, better place. We love you. ?

A post shared by HOMETOWN CAFE & POKE? BAR (@hometownpoke) on

2. Cross-promote on your own restaurant social media accounts

Do you have a ton of Facebook likes, but just a few followers on Instagram? Use your most popular social media channels to promote other channels. The more touchpoints you can build with a customer outside your restaurant the better, and social media is the perfect way to do it.

3. Show your social media followers what happens behind-the-scenes

Give customers a sneak peek into the inner-workings of your restaurant. The behind the scenes photos you post should paint a bigger picture of how you do what you do.

Some examples:

  • Share a photo of you connecting with a local farmer or vendor.
  • Post your favorite staff tradition, like holiday gatherings, a motivational slogan you use, or a song you all like to sing while cleaning up.
  • Show the preparation that goes into a popular dish with a photo showing the ingredients.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

must be september hearts forever to hope street market

A post shared by @ foodbynorth on

4. Re-share user-generated restaurant social media content

Don’t underestimate your customers. A little digging can reveal beautiful photos they take and stories shared on social media. With their permission, simply ask via a comment if they would allow you to share, retweet or repost their content from your page.

Here are a few places to look for this social media content:

  • Look up your location on Instagram to find photos taken at your restaurant.
  • Conduct a hashtag search with your restaurant name.
  • Conduct a Facebook or Twitter search with the name of your restaurant to see if people mentioned it without using a hashtag.
  • If you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram check out the photos and posts you’ve been tagged in.
  • Ask! By running a restaurant social media contest, you can generate a library of user-generated content, as well as create more brand recognition and awareness.

5. Share your top menu recommendations

Showcase recommendations for your top restaurant menu items. You can post a photo, a collage of photos, or a video describing the dish, to name a few options. This is a great way to encourage your current fans to try something new. 

Get more tips and tricks on best practices for restaurant social media in our free ebook: Upserve’s Guide to Restaurant Social Media

6. Post Announcements in a creative way

While posting announcements is typically a majority of what restaurants share on social media, try to switch it up in a creative way to stand out from the crowd. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Recently get an award? Give yourself a pat on the back! Your most loyal fans will love to join you.
  • Congratulate the newest employee you brought on board, sharing their background and what they’ll be doing at your restaurant
  • Opening a new location? Build the buzz by announcing you’ll be sharing big news soon.

7. Promote seasonal menu items

Each season brings in new waves of ingredients and customers. Showcase the latest restaurant menu ideas with bright, beautiful photos of your new menu items. Your delicious-looking photos will leave customers hungry for more. Be sure to create a sense of urgency by letting your followers know that these items are seasonal and won’t last long!

8. Promote community activities

Share local events you think your customers would care about. Is there a great play going on next door? A holiday lights parade happening this month? Making the announcement come from your restaurant not only helps these local events boost attendance, it will get your guests thinking about the occasion with your restaurant in mind.

9. Have someone new take over your restaurant’s social media account

While we’ve given you eight great ideas so far as to how you can add some exciting new content to your restaurant social media feed, you may want to take it a step further. Think about trying this – give access to one of your social media accounts to one of your employees, a partner business, or even an extremely loyal customer to do an account “takeover.”

This allows your audience to see your restaurant through the eyes of someone new. The fresh perspective is always interesting to hear. Quick note: make sure you outline specific instructions for running the accounts, like basic dos and don’ts, while allowing that person to have enough creative freedom to showcase their individuality.

Restaurants have razor-thin margins. Can you afford to have a weak social media presence?

This ebook takes you through everything you need to know to take your customers from ‘like’ to LOVE in just a few easy steps.

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Written by   |  
Stephanie is a Providence, RI native and eight-year food industry veteran. As Upserve's Content Marketing Coordinator she creates materials that help restaurateurs, managers, and service professionals succeed. When she's not writing, Stephanie is most likely traveling, cooking, or trying new restaurants.