1. Discount or Coupon Codes
When prospective customers are hungry and want something to eat, they might be unsure exactly what food they want. If they're looking at your online ordering system and see the offer of a handy discount, that could be the inspiration they need to order from you right now!
Discounts and coupon codes are also a powerful way to build direct connections with your customers, meaning they'll go straight to your website when they want to order. This can reduce the costs you pay to third—party online ordering platforms.
The only thing better than a yummy meal is a yummy meal for less!
2. Leverage the Engagement Power of Video
Thanks to high-quality smartphones and powerful apps, it has become super-easy to create captivating videos. The excitement of a sizzling dish, the vibrant energy of a bustling restaurant, or the smiles and laughter of happy customers comes across much more powerfully on video.
You can use video to introduce exciting new dishes, reveal a new restaurant location, or show your staff interacting with satisfied customers. And don't forget to make that video pop. Sound is as important as the picture. Eye-catching graphics take professionalism up a notch. Crafty editing strengthens your overall brand.
3. Social Media is the New Web Search
Ten years ago, web search was the go-to option for consumers searching for a product or service. Today, however, people increasingly live their online lives through social media networks, with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat taking the place once occupied solely by websites.
Facebook, for example, offers more than just a static page to act as a billboard for your restaurant. There's a raft of tools that allow you to manage a powerful two-way dialogue with existing and prospective customers. Customers can find you on social media, inquire about opening hours, and even book a table. Third-party tools can make this even more powerful, not to mention easier to manage.
Nothing says how great your restaurant is better than repeat customers gushing to their friends about how amazing their last meal was. And, with social media, they can act as brand ambassadors for you, sharing photos, videos, and reviews themselves across social media. It's always worth asking customers to share their positive experiences. In many instances, you're getting that powerful marketing result almost instantly as customers hurry to upload photos and videos to their online profiles.
5. Maximise Momentous Occasions
Event-driven marketing can be very powerful. Restaurants can get extra busy around occasions like birthdays, seasonal celebrations, and sporting events. Customers are already revved up for the occasion. It makes sense to leverage this energy by finding ways you can build promotions and marketing exposure for these moments. Run theme nights. Offer promotions. Create special dishes for the occasion. And remember to get the word out via social media, giving customers plenty of time to book a table and share the excitement online.
6. Compo Time!
Some YouTubers have built entire careers out of attempting the famous (and sometimes infamous) eating challenges for which some restaurants are known. But you don't have to go quite as far as a gut-busting challenge. A simple but creative competition can be a great hook for an effective social media campaign. A free bottle of wine, special meal, event ticket, or discount can really build a buzz. And don't forget to use this opportunity to drive traffic across all of your social media channels. Competitions shared on Instagram are a great way to drive more traffic to your Facebook page.
7. Engage with Your Philosophy
All good restaurants have an underlying philosophy and everyone loves a great story. Social media is a great platform for expressing what your restaurant is all about and building a connection with customers. Themed photos, explainer videos, and even online events can all help to make the prospect of eating at your restaurant even more attractive and exciting. When your customers tell their friends about their awesome meal, they'll also get to share the inspirational message that drives your cuisine.
8. Feature Fab Photos from Customers
Everyone loves to have their great work recognized. Sharing and tagging customers' photos (always with their agreement, obviously) gets you free promotion and shows customers how much you care about their experience. Running a regular contest to find the best photos can attract even more attention for your restaurant. Creating bespoke hashtags to work in conjunction with popular existing hashtags is a great way to build out your exposure and engage with your customers.
9. Freebies, Giveaways, and Contests
With today's sophisticated smartphone apps and website widgets, it's quite easy to create sophisticated contests and giveaway programs but you don't have to take things that far at the beginning. Everyone loves freebies and prizes. So, set up some simple but attractive campaigns that will get your social media followers chatting about the chance to win great prizes. At the end of each contest, you can feature the winning customers, again building on the promotional benefits for your business.
10. Fundamentals Come First
As attractive as the many powerful options for social media promotion might be, building your business will always be founded on strong basics. Branding is key. Your social media presence, marketing communications, and even just the surrounding visual design all need to build your brand.
With skill, experience, and perhaps a little luck, your customers and social media base will help you build that brand and the wider awareness of what you offer. But you will need to ensure that the words you publish, the photos and videos you share, and the themes or styles expressed online underpin all of the huge work you put into building and running your restaurant.