It's a fact: 45 percent of diners hit the town for dinner multiple times a week, with another 20 percent saying they go out at least once a week. That’s about 60 percent of Americans ditching a home-cooked meal for restaurant-made each week. If you’re a restaurant, those stats probably have your mouth watering.
So, how can you effectively get in on that action without spending a lot on marketing? The easiest and most cost-effective way is through social media. Believe it or not, being a social media warrior and getting foot traffic to your restaurant is not as hard as it seems. All it requires is a little elbow grease, and with anything, a good strategy.
Here are six social media strategies you can use right now to boost sales and get more diners through your doors.
1. Be Complete
Easily one of the most prominent strategies for getting traffic to your door is by having as much information as you can readily available. Local diners are turning to their phones for information on hours, menu, reservations, types of food, etc. and if you can’t answer all their questions upfront, they’ll find a nearby restaurant that will.
Keep track of all your varying restaurant profiles in a master file –– you’ll want to at least hit all the major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor. Ensure that each profile is as complete as possible. Offer your hours, address, phone number and even a few visuals, such as graphics and images to turn a web-surfer into a real-world diner.
2. Directly Communicate With Your Audience
A lot of restaurants forget the “social” aspect of social networking. It should be much more than just throwing posts out there. The goal is to interact and engage with your audience. Even if it’s just an hour a day, comment on other nearby business’ posts, or interact with your audience by responding to anyone who leaves comments or reviews. Remember, you’re representing your restaurant to literally thousands of people, so put your best customer-service foot forward, no matter the nature of the review or comment.
3. Make Use of Messenger Marketing
Messenger Marketing is a key component in your social media marketing strategy, especially as it becomes more automated. Messenger Marketing provides a one-on-one parallel between you and your customer which allows you to build a relationship with them that you can leverage to drive foot traffic.
This actually can be a completely hands-off aspect that has the most potential to drive sales if you employ a Messenger bot. Messenger bots are an automated interaction with your customers that provide a proactive approach to boosting sales outside of your homepage content.
4. Drive Engagement with Conversational Ads
The great thing about paid advertising on social media is that it’s incredibly cheap. You can be exposed to hundreds of thousands of users with only a few dollars a day. The key to converting them to sales, however, is going to be the ad content.
If anything, your ads should allow you to collect information from your audience to send promos and drive traffic to your restaurant. Conversational ads with enticing graphics and promos will allow you to reach more people on their preferred channel, faster and personalize future ads for increased engagement. You can also effectively target local customers and start conversations with potential diners quickly.
5. (Visual) Content is King
Content is king in invoking emotions among your audience, effectively allowing you to build relationships with them. Restaurants have a unique advantage because their goods are not only tangible, but you can easily invoke key emotional responses with visual content … yup, you guessed it. You can spark a craving, hunger, pleasure, desire, etc. with a picture or video of your delicious food.
Set up mini-photo shoots with your menu items and post them regularly, especially if you’re trying to promote specials, such as Sunday brunch or Wednesday Wing Night. Posting mouth-watering visual content on your blog or social networks is a great way to show customers what you offer. Find an image that matches the vibe of your restaurant, or take a quick video or Boomerang to bait them in.
6. Stay Consistent
This is more of an overarching principle than it is a strategy, but you’ll want to stay consistent. What you don’t want to do is post some half-hearted posts to drive engagement, get discouraged by no likes or comments, and go “what's the point?” and let your content go stale.
Staying consistent can easily be achieved by creating a content calendar that outlines what you’re posting each week and what the content should look like. At the same time, you’ll want to be consistent with content and frequency, you’ll want to be consistent with branding. Make sure every piece of content has some sort of visual uniformity for brand recognition and it follows that same tone.