In the First Part of our Definitive Social Media Guide For Restaurant Owners we’ve talked about how social media can be effectively used to market a restaurant and what each social networks

Now let’s look at some types of posts you should post, how text descriptions should look like, why are the hashtags important or which types of contests work.

Tip #1: Post great photos of your food

It sounds obvious, but it’s super important. Make sure the photos you post are high quality – not only technically, but also from the composition perspective. Photos from above are most popular: place your food on the table, stand on a chair and take a photo. Make sure you’re directly facing the food on the table. It’s also very vital to include some decorations – whether some herbs, nice plate, etc. Another important aspect is the light – it’d be great if you were near the window during the day – natural light is the best. Professional camera isn’t really required, good smartphone will be enough.

Tip #2: Photos of employees working

It’d be odd to post just photos of your food- don’t be afraid to include photos of your employees too! It’s a good idea if they smile and look at the camera from time to time: this will make people feel good and familiar with your restaurant and next time they visit they may even recognize your employees – whether it’s chefs or waiters. Your employees can make photos themselves, it only takes a minute.

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We are baking!

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Tip #3 Photos of your ingredients

More and more people are concerned about the quality of food they’re getting in restaurants and prefer the ones with fresh and organic ingredients. Snap a photo of your fresh ingredients once in a while to show potential customers how well are your ingredients stored and how fresh they are.

Note: We cannot stress highly enough how important is to have a great quality photos – not only because they attract most attention (and likes!) but also they represent your brand and you certainly don’t want out of focus, too dark or bad composed photos to make potential customers question the overall approach and image of your restaurant

Tip #4 Text descriptions

Never post just a photo – write some interesting or funny description too!. Use uppercase letters when needed. Don’t make it too long though – people don’t like to read huge paragraphs of text. You also have to use emojis that became very popular lately and make the text more interesting. Just compare this:

We have a new pizza called Tropicana and costs $10. Come check it out

with

🍕 NEW PIZZA ON THE MENU ALERT 🍕
🍍 Tropicana 🍍
😲 Come check it out today! 😲

See the difference?

Tip #5 Hashtags

Using hashtags in your description can help other people interested in the hashtag topic find your posts (and restaurant!). Use some general hashtags like #food #pizza and so on to get some likes but also don’t forget to use local hashtags so the locals can find you. Let’s say you have a restaurant in Tribeca (NYC neighborhood). The appropriate local hashtags would be #tribeca #soho #financialdistrict #lowermanhattan #nyc. Don’t be afraid to also use hashtags of nearby neighborhoods like we’ve used #soho and #financialdistrict which are the neighborhoods very close to Tribeca. Using hashtags is especially important on Instagram

Tip #6 Contests

Contests are a great way to get people to share or comment on your post. It’s not difficult to make one – just establish some rules, like: “leave your favorite food in the comment below” and offer a prize “… to get a chance to win 15 free pizzas” The better prize you offer, the more interesting it will be for people to compete. Not all social networks are well suited for this type of contests though, so let’s look at each of them in more detail:

Facebook: Facebook is the best when it comes to this. You usually have 2 choices: tell people to either comment on your post or to share it in order to get a chance to win. When they comment on the post, their friends will see the posts they’ve commented on on their feed (unless they’ve chosen not to see friend’s comments) which means a great exposure for your brand. When they share the post, it’s more certain their friends will see it.

So naturally most people will choose to ask people to share the post right? There’s a catch though: People are less willing to share contest posts (they don’t want to spam and look bad in their friend’s eyes) but it’s not usually a problem for them to comment on a post (not realizing their friends will probably see the post they’ve commented on either way).

So it’s really up to you which strategy you’ll choose. As always, our suggestion is to try what works for your particular restaurant: try to run both, compare the results and go with the more successful one in the long term.

Instagram: As you know you cannot share Instagram photos of other users and your friends won’t see it when you comment on some photo. It may seem like there’s no way around this. Guess what, there is!

Ask your followers to include your brand in their Instagram Story. As you know this kind of post disappears after 24 hours, so you (and your followers) have to act fast! Let’s say you post at 8PM on Monday about your contest where the people have to include your brand in some way in their Instagram Story (like to write their favorite food and tag your profile) and comment on the photo with contest info. The winner will be picked at 7PM on Tuesday (it has to be less than 24 hours so you can check whether the winner you’ve chosen from comments really posted a story and tagged you). The benefit is that people will see your brand in Stories of their friends they follow.

If you just want to make your followers happy and make them engage with your restaurant, try something like this

Twitter
Based on what we’ve learned about Twitter previously it’d be difficult to run some kind of contest on Twitter and achieve good results.

Tip #7 Fill out your profile

Right after you register on social networks, fill out the profile. Try to fill all the information – not only it will make your restaurant look more credible but it will also help people to learn a lot about your restaurant just by visiting your profile.

Final conclusion

Social networks can help you to market your restaurant basically without spending any money. Just follow the tips and principles mentioned above, get creative and also don’t forget to have fun, because that’s what social networks are mainly about! It will take some time until you make some serious audience, but remember that it will get only easier – the more fans you have, the less difficult it will be to get more.

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