7 Social Media Pointers For Restaurateurs
According to Global Web Index, 42% of us worldwide are spending more time on social media as a result of Covid-19. As your customers continue to spend more time on social media, it is essential to be there for them by providing assurance, support, and transparency. That being said, you may be short on time and helping hands right now, so we’ve put together this blog post on quick and easy social media pointers to get you started.
There are loads of platforms out there, and we’re only breaking down a few of the biggest ones below, but that doesn’t mean you need to use each and every one. Pick one, like Instagram (more on that here), that aligns with your goals and target demographic and wait until you get your footing before throwing another one, like Twitter and/or LinkedIn, in to the mix so you can focus on honing your skills and creating quality content in a way that works with your schedule.
Facebook is the number one platform for adults (over 2.9 million monthly active users in Ireland), with the majority being those aged 18-49, closely followed by those 50-65. Instagram is the second most used and fastest growing platform among Irish adults with over 1.8 million monthly active Irish users. The photo and video sharing platform has a younger audience than Facebook, with a core demographic of those between 18-29, followed closely by those ages 30-49. Twitter allows you to reach any business or customer by tagging them in a tweet and can be great for building relationships with new and existing customers but requires real-time monitoring. Twitter’s growth is on the decline at 1.23 million monthly active Irish users, with the main demographic being 18-29 followed by 30-49. LinkedIn is a professional networking site with over 2 million monthly active Irish users. It’s great for B2B with an older demographic; those aged 25-49 make up the largest group of users. TikTok, a still relatively new video-sharing platform and one of the most downloaded apps of 2019, is used daily by over 90,000 Irish users over the age of 15, with the majority of those being between 16-24. It consists of making (up to) 60-second videos that favour the weird, funny, and creative. If you or someone on your team is great behind the camera, it may be worth giving it a go!
Not all consumers’ anxieties are easing with the lifting of restrictions, so use your social media presence as a way to provide assurance, support, and transparency. In relation to your own business, ensure clients clearly know you’re open and how they can get in touch. Are you offering takeaway? Will your business deliver or offer kerbside collection? Do you offer contactless payment? Have your hours changed? How can they best contact you (phone call, online ordering, WhatsApp, DM, etc.)? What measures are you taking to protect your staff and customers from Covid-19? The list goes on, but put yourself in the customers’ shoes. These are just a handful of the questions they may have, so let the answers to these questions drive your social media content. Providing tips and support for your customers, especially in this ever-changing landscape, can ease their minds and help them adjust to this new norm.
A common myth about the Instagram algorithm is that it punishes you for not posting often; therefore, many believe we need to post every day on social media, maybe even multiple times per day. But this isn’t exactly true. As social media expert Neil Patel puts it:
“If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post. This means that the best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain.”
So make the algorithm work for you by posting to social media in a way that fits in to your weekly schedule—and then sticking to that schedule week after week.
Your menu offerings taste as good as they look, so don’t hold back in showcasing these mouth-watering dishes. If you don’t know how to use the Adobe Suite, then free apps like Canva can help you to add text to communicate important messages to your customers. You don’t need any pre-existing skills to use this app, with loads of features and templates in the app to help you design a beautiful image or touch up an existing photo. And, as mentioned above, consistency is key. Try to incorporate those same fonts and brand colours reflected in your restaurant, on your menu, and on your website to bring your business’ social presence to life in a way that’s immediately identifiable as your own brand.
Videos perform well and more easily grab consumers’ attention as they’re scrolling through their feeds. Demand their attention and make them stop scrolling with a quick video (think: 60 seconds or less) which can be posted or simply used as an Instastory. Instastories are casual, so there’s no need for high-quality, professionally shot camera work. This also gives you the added benefit of having fun and connecting with your audience by bringing some of your personality to light, and we could all use a reason to laugh after three months of lockdown! In fact, according to Global Web Index, 68% of those surveyed in Ireland approve of funny/light-hearted videos or content to entertain people. Who knows—once you get the hang of it, you may find your video content is ideal for TikTok!
A few simple video pointers: sound, lighting, and camera stability are key. Even if you’re filming from your phone, use natural lighting, don’t block the microphone, and get your hands on a tripod.
Ephemeral content like Instastories and Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours, and as they’re shorter lived and less formal, there’s less pressure to create the most stunning video and photo content. Get creative with your Instastories and let these complement your standard posts. You may even draw more eyes to your latest post by sharing it in your stories using a “new post” sticker. Use other stickers like polls and questions to find out what your customers are liking or what they want to see more of. For example, you could poll your audience to find their favourite takeaway order and use their answers to help pare down your menu or give you an idea of the type of content that will likely perform well on social media. You may also choose to host a live Q&A to answer your customers’ FAQs. A strategic plan for Instastories can help you plan your content going forward.
Picture this: You’ve crafted the perfect caption to accompany the gorgeous shot of your popular takeaway dishes and even used the most relevant hashtags to pull in more organic reach. Someone immediately comments on your post to ask if you’re still open. Two days later, you check in to see how your post performed and see this comment. The customer who asked the question probably isn’t wondering if you’re still open two days later. She wanted to know if you were open two days ago. Don’t miss out on potential business opportunities by neglecting your social media presence. Social media moves quickly, so check your social channels frequently and respond to any queries, comments, and private messages. Start a conversation if you can, and engage with your audience to show you’re invested in them. If someone asks a question, be sure to answer them. Like their comments and respond to them. It only takes a few minutes, but it can make all the difference.
Having a stellar social media presence isn’t just about showing off your business and promoting its amazing goods and services (although that is certainly part of it!). It’s about listening to and connecting with others and, well, being social (see #7). As in any social situation, be authentically you. It’s what makes you and your business unique and will help you stand out from the crowd, so don’t be afraid to both embrace and showcase your business’ personality! You’d be surprised how quickly your passion for your business can spread across social media. And to help spread the word, ask friends, family, and staff members to share and engage with your content. They’re likely already doing so, and this will help your content reach a wider audience.
Overall, 83% of people think the reopening of restaurants, cafes, and bars is important to them, so help communicate with your customers every step of the way. Social media is an excellent platform to do just that, so keep your customers informed, entertained, and don’t shy away from connecting with them (and other businesses!) while you do so.