Admit it. You’ve salivated at the sight of food on your social feed. Who doesn’t? Food photos make you hungry, there’s no denying that. If you’re a restaurant, why not use that to your advantage?
Social media is becoming more visually focused with the growing popularity of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. While word of mouth still rules when looking for a new place to grab a bite, social media can amplify the recommendations that your customers provide. Below you will find some simple yet very effective restaurant social media tips.
1. Using The F Word
Yes, Food Porn. It’s sexy, it sells. Seeing deliciousness on a plate has a profound effect, especially when you’re on an empty stomach. Making a conscious effort to take high-quality photos of food is key for any restaurant looking to grow via social media.
Restaurants like Pincho Factory have primarily used social media to promote their brand and it’s led to amazing results. With over 19,000 Facebook likes and 15,000 Instagram followers, Pincho Factory has built a social brand that is highly engaging. They’ve done this with a meticulous approach to their food porn strategy, emphasizing the tasty aspects of their dishes with carefully crafted photography.
Having professional food photos is great to legitimize your online presence and associate your brand with quality. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where smartphones offer high resolution pics at your fingertips. It’s truly a matter of capturing your food in a way that is both natural yet professional. Not to mention, the photos should speak for your restaurant’s brand and style. The visual aspect of your social presence is arguably the most important when it comes to impressions and perception.
2. Engage with your Customers
A restaurant is nothing without loyal customers. Building that loyalty involves fostering a relationship beyond the food you serve. You’re trying to create an experience, something memorable and lasting. Engaging with customers through social media gives you that opportunity by being more authentic and genuine.
People love snapping pictures of their food to share with the world. This is a prime opportunity for restaurants to jump into the action and see what your customers are sharing. You can search for mentions, hashtags, or check-ins at your restaurant and show them your appreciation. Whether it’s reposting their image or just commenting, it’s important to acknowledge them in some way.
Creating a custom hashtag for customers to use is also a great way to get them to engage with you. Showcase the hashtag by listing it on the menu, in flyers, promos, email, etc. This way you can direct the conversation and create a centralized place for customer-driven content. Some ways to incentivize the use of your hashtag is by featuring those photos on your website, social media, etc, or creating some sort of promotional contest.
3. Take Them Into the Kitchen
Behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage always tells another side of the story. Whether it’s bloopers at the end of a movie or backstage preparations at a concert, people love seeing what’s seemingly exclusive and uncommon.
Mixing your food porn photos with some BTS images is a solid combination for social content. There are many ways to incorporate BTS into the mix. Highlight a staff member. Showcase the preparation process for a certain dish. Show customers any upcoming menu items or renovations. It all comes back to making a connection with your consumers beyond the plate they may order.
Customers are also becoming more health conscious, so showing them pictures of the ingredients and cooking process can be a plus. If your restaurant prides itself on healthy fresh food, then show it!
4. Connect with Local Foodies
Social media has created a platform for influencers to spread their message, especially in the food industry. The “foodie” community is huge on social media, and that’s great news for restaurants. This means more people talking about food and sharing their experiences.
Forming a connection with local food bloggers can lead to lots of potential exposure. Whether you are featured on their social profiles or mentioned in a blog post, it’s a great way to get in front of other food-obsessed individuals. To many consumers, these influencers are a trusted source of information and being associated with them can validate your restaurant.
The challenge here is not only finding these influencers but making sure they are a good fit for your restaurant’s brand. Searching for “food bloggers” on Google is not going to cut it. Search for relevant hashtags, analyze your competitors followers, research food-related events – you should come across some influencers in that process. Finally, make sure there’s a balance between the quality of their content and the quantity of their followers. Don’t get scammed into partnering with someone that has “25K followers” but gets 12 likes on their photos.
Hosting an event at your venue and inviting some of these bloggers can also help you decide what foodie you should connect with. This will allow the bloggers to see the restaurant, try the food, and have the full experience. In turn, they will likely share that experience with their followers.
Food for Thought
While some of these strategies do require planning and time investment, the outcome will outweigh the effort. Following these tips can help you create a social presence that speaks for your restaurant, and gives customers a reason to post about it and keep coming back.