Restaurant Marketing Ideas: A Social Media Strategy That Works

Social Media Restaurant Marketing Ideas

If you’re in the restaurant business, you already know that truly valuable restaurant marketing ideas are hard to come by.

Yet, social media is an incredibly powerful vehicle to get more people walking through the door that most restaurant marketers and owners don’t grasp fully.

Not only will social media help to create tremendous awareness for your business, but it’s also a great way to fuel engagement and get people buzzing about your restaurant.

If you’ve “been there, done that” with marketing your restaurant on social media and didn’t get the results that you’d hoped for, don’t give up!

Give this 5-step social media marketing strategy a try.

Outlined below is our highly effective 5-step approach to successfully marketing your restaurant on social media, complete with several unique restaurant marketing ideas:

Step 1: Build a targeted following of food lovers.

People LOVE to engage with content–especially images–surrounding the topic of food on social media.

Considering that most people love food, talking about food on social media is an easy and relatable way to build a connection with your online followers.

There are 2 basic ways that you can build a targeted following of food lovers: organically or through paid social media advertisements.

The Organic Approach

Business owners are drawn towards the organic approach because it won’t cost your restaurant a dime.

With organic marketing, you invest the time to create engaging, high-quality content that is interesting enough to make your target audience want to engage and follow your restaurant.

Through the use of hashtags and following your target audience first, you can amass a large following on social media, especially on Twitter.

For example, you can use Twitter’s advanced search feature to find lovers of food near your restaurant and follow them first.

How does it work?

Head to Twitter and do a search for “I love food.”

marketing ideas twitter search

Click “more options” and make sure the following are checked.

This query will not only show you the accounts that have I, love, and food in their bios, but will also show you the accounts near you.

restaurant marketing ideas

From there you can follow all of the people, near you, who like food.

People who like restaurants

Best part of all, it’s free to follow on Twitter!

Aside from being free, there are other upsides to taking the organic approach, such as the ability to position yourself as an industry expert by actively engaging with this audience of foodies.

If you have the time and/or resources to dedicate to an organic marketing approach, it definitely is worth your while.

It can help to humanize your business and quality leads.

In fact, in the early days on LYFE Marketing, we focused solely on the organic approach for our clients and it worked great for getting results.

The Paid Approach

Some businesses don’t want to put in the time that it takes to organically earn their way into their target audience’s newsfeeds.

For faster results, businesses have the option to take the paid approach.

When going this route, businesses can grab their audience’s attention with paid social media advertisements that stand apart from a cluttered newsfeed.

Restaurant Facebook Ad Examples

There are all sorts of targeting tools that your restaurant can use with paid advertising to reach a very specific audience, and we will dive more into this later in the article.

While there is no right or wrong approach to take, typically a combination of organic and paid advertising efforts will allow your business to be most effective in reaching your audience and producing results.

Step 2: Create and post content that keeps your followers drooling.

As a rule of thumb, 80 percent of your social media content should be interesting and compelling enough to make your followers want to share it.

House stracciatella, radishes, olives, toast. #snacks #ontonight

A photo posted by rolfanddaughters (@rolfanddaughters) on

The remaining 20 percent should be content specific to sell to your audience.

So what constitutes the 80 percent of “interesting content” that you should be sharing on social media? Here are some great restaurant marketing ideas for creating this type of content:

  • -Share glorious images of decadent truffles topped with delicately shaved Parmesan. Basically, share images that make your audience want to reach through their computer screens and gobble them up.
  • Share humorous images of food that are relevant to your restaurant.
  • Host a social media contest that encourages your fans to share images of their “drool-worthy” food from your restaurant on social media in exchange for the opportunity to win a gift certificate to your restaurant.
  • Share tips for making recipes that are relevant to your restaurant and cuisine.

And restaurant marketing ideas for the remaining 20 percent of brand-specific content?

  • Persuasive CTAs that invite your followers to learn more about your restaurant
  • Discounts that your restaurant is offering
  • Recognition or award that your restaurant has recently received

If you want to keep your followers drooling over your content, you never want to focus too much on promoting your restaurant on social media. Instead, understand what your audience is really interested in and use your content to respond to those needs.

Step 3: Advertise to those who know you best.

Naturally, your existing social media followers are most familiar with your restaurant, and they’ll be more likely to convert than strangers.

With this being said, you need to advertise to those that already know your brand!

The easy way to do this?

On Facebook, boost a post!

Facebook marketing for restaurants

You can find the button near the bottom left of your posts.

From there – choose “People who like your Page.”

Facebook Targeting

Choose your budget and let the ad run.

Sidenote: Learn how to run super successful ads by reading this blog.

If you want to get even more specific with reaching your existing followers, you can use Facebook to create an ad campaign that allows you to target followers with certain demographics, interests, broad categories, and more.

Step 4: Retarget people that have visited your website, but have yet to convert.

Very few people will convert after just one visit to a website.

To help keep your brand top-of-mind, one of the smartest restaurant marketing ideas is to take advantage of retargeting.

Retargeting, also referred to as remarketing, is a social media advertising strategy that serves ads to the people that have visited your website, but have yet to convert.

We recently dedicated an entire article to how retargeting can improve your Facebook marketing ROI, and we walked you through the steps to setup retargeting on Facebook.

And this article: What is Retargeting and Why Every Business (Including Yours) Should Be Using It.

So, what is the remarketing and how can you start to implement it?

facebook retargeting

4 easy steps to understand remarketing:

  1. Someone visits your website but doesn’t make a reservation
  2. When the visitor leaves your site they will see an ad from your restaurant on Facebook reminding them to make a reservation
  3. The recent visitor clicks on the ad and is redirected to your website
  4. The visitor makes a reservation

Twitter and Instagram also offer the ability to setup retargeting campaigns.

And google allows you to retarget on over 2 million websites.

All in all, retargeting is a powerful and highly effective way to show unique ads to people that have visited your website before in an attempt to bring them back to your business so that they’ll want to engage with your brand again.

Step 5: Advertise to a lookalike audience.

What in the world is a lookalike audience?

In Facebook, you can create audiences and advertise to the following:

  • Customer emails
  • Website visitors
  • Phone numbers

If you have created a Facebook custom audience, Facebook will look at the profiles of all of the people included in your Facebook custom audience and will create a new lookalike audience of Facebook users that share similar interests and demographics.

Yes, Facebook will find other users that are similiar to your potential and current customers.

The identified Facebook users in your lookalike audience would be much more likely to be interested in your social media advertisements than if you served them to just anyone.

Creating a lookalike audience is very simple with Facebook’s Ads Manager, and here’s how you do it:

  • Open Facebook Ads Manager and select “Audiences”
  • Choose “Create Audiences” and select “Create a Lookalike Audience” from the dropdown menu
  • Specify your source (Custom Audience or Facebook Page, for example)
  • Specify the geographic location of where you would like to find similar people for your lookalike audience
  • Determine your desired audience size
  • Click “Create Audience”

You can think of a Facebook lookalike audience as a “safer” way (or even a shortcut) to expand your targeted audience and get better results with your social media advertisements.

In summary, if you follow these 5 steps for marketing your restaurant on social media, you are bound to see results.

And the restaurant marketing ideas that we’ve shared with you in each of these steps is just the icing on the cake.

While this 5-step strategy is highly effective with restaurant marketing, it can also work very well with a variety of industries.

To learn more about our recipe for a successful social media strategy, download our free ebook that talks about this 5-step strategy in wayyyy more depth.

At LYFE Marketing, we partner with businesses of all sizes and from a wide breadth of industries, including restaurants, to create, manage, and deliver top-performing social media campaigns.

Please contact us to learn more about how your business can leverage social media platforms to connect your brand, product, and service to thousands of people.