Did you just have a grand opening for your restaurant? Now you’re wondering where the people are. Or maybe you’re noticing that the daily lunch crowd isn’t what it used to be since your competitor moved in across the street. Are you using Facebook marketing for restaurants?
You should be. That’s your easy solution to help you get the word out and fill seats with paying customers.
Whether you’re a trendy coffee shop or a full-service restaurant, Facebook marketing for restaurants is the effective way to get new customers and keep current customers coming back. It’s more than just setting up a business profile. But it doesn’t have to be complicated when you know the best way to use Facebook marketing for restaurants.
Here’s what you need to know.
Why Facebook Marketing for Restaurants Makes So Much Sense
Facebook now has over 2.7 billion users. It’s where your customers are.
Facebook marketing for restaurants is how to reach them in your local area.
Chart courtesy of Statista
88% of people trust what friends and even strangers say on Facebook about businesses. 70% of purchases at local businesses can be traced back to social media.
Whether someone shares what they had for lunch or talks about where they went for their birthday, these Facebook mentions matter.
Over 200 million Facebook posts are tagged #food and 23 million people share pictures of their meals out. Food and drinks out is a major part of the average person’s celebratory days like anniversaries and holidays.
Over 30% of milestones include a specific brand mention. And these numbers don’t even include all the #foodie bloggers out there!
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that according to Toast’s 2019 Restaurant Success report, 34% of restaurant owners assign a staff solely to market their restaurant in social media, ads, and promotions? And from the same report, showed that only 12% of the 1,253 restaurateurs surveyed don’t do social media marketing. It also stated that Facebook is still the most used platform, with 91%, in the food and restaurant industry. It is followed by Instagram with 78% and Twitter with 39%.
It sounds like people are doing all the work for you. But if you’re not building a brand on Facebook, it’s hard to tap into this enthusiasm.
Facebook marketing for restaurants helps you make the most out of this engagement. Turn mentions into more visits, more sales, and even more word-of-mouth chatter.
Encourage more discussion about your deli. Drive more foot traffic into your coffee shop. Get people sharing pictures of your specialty pastries, salads, sushi, or pasta bowls.
Now, let’s look at the easy ways to get this done.
6 Easy Ways to Use Facebook Marketing for Restaurants
1. Engaging with Followers on Facebook
Social media for restaurants is the way to engage with customers and potential customers alike on Facebook. Because you’re driving traffic to your social media profile, you don’t have to pay for every click like you would with an ad.
To get the most out of Facebook marketing for restaurants always start here. Your business profile is your home base on Facebook. It’s where people come to learn more about you. The more engagement you have the more people are drawn to your profile and your physical location.
This is how to set up a strong foundation to start building a presence for Facebook marketing for restaurants.
Create a Business Profile
Start by fully completing your business profile. Make sure all of your pictures are high-quality. Show your food in the best light. Remember, people eat with their eyes first. That’s even more true on Facebook if they haven’t yet tried your food.
Add some initial pictures of your friendly staff and happy customers. Give them an idea of the atmosphere. Share photos of your signature dishes that will make them want to give you a try.
Write a catchy title and description. Add your address so people know you’re in their area. If you received any awards or have a phenomenal health inspection score, include that.
Integrate Facebook widgets with your restaurant website design and any emails you send so that people can easily visit and like your page.
Set Up Your Facebook Menu
Use the menu tab plugin for Facebook to easily take orders online. Allow people to see your menu and order straight from Facebook. But make sure you have the in-house infrastructure to manage online orders. It’s not hard to do. But it’s different from having someone order at the counter. That’s true especially if it’s for a later pickup time.
The menu will automatically fall at the bottom of your list of Facebook pages. But don’t leave this incredible feature languishing at the bottom of the pile.
Edit your page to move it higher up where people see it quickly. Give the revenue-generating tab the prominence it deserves.
Direct your primary call to action button to your ordering system so they instantly see that you take orders online. Direct a call to action from your website to Facebook if you don’t have online ordering capability on your website.
Facebook helps even the smallest diner seem technologically-advanced and relevant with its menu feature. And the best part…it’s free to have!
Get Facebook Reviews
Reviews are a very important part of the buying decision, no matter what you sell. Reviews on your business profile provide social proof where everyone can see how much others like your food and service. This star rating will also appear in the search results in Google, making it one of the first things people see when they look you up specifically or search a category.
First, go to settings to allow people to write reviews on Facebook. As reviews come in, respond to them professionally. If it’s a great review, thank them for being a customer.
If it’s not good, take a deep breath and consider your response carefully. You may feel defensiveness rising in you. But you’ll lose more customers by lashing out.
Don’t make excuses or blame the customer. Do make the customer feel heard. If you can fix the problem either for that customer or going forward, do so. They may even change their review if you play your cards right.
Don’t condone or encourage abusive behavior toward you or your staff. As long as there are other great reviews, one review will be seen as an outlier.
Don’t allow negative reviewers to hijack your page. You may have to ask for reviews, especially at first. Here are some of the best ways to get reviews.
- On the receipt, add a Facebook logo. Kindly ask for reviews. But never ask for likes or positive reviews. This is not perceived well in most cases.
- Pay attention to commenters. If people are saying nice things, tell them how much it would mean to you if they wrote a review and direct them straight to where they can leave one. If people like your place, then they’ll want to help spread the word. It makes people feel important and connected.
- Add a clear call to action on your Facebook page
Build Your Initial Following
Having more fans on Facebook builds trust. Your fans share your posts with other people in the local area and you get more followers. The right followers are valuable to a brand. But many eateries struggle to get that first 1,000 followers.
Here’s what you need to know to do it effectively.
- Never buy followers. Many times they’re fake. And in order for your Facebook presence to grow, you need people who actually like your restaurant.
- Start posting regular content. (we’ll get more into that in the next section)
- Encourage customers to visit you on Facebook on their mobile devices while physically in the restaurant. Inform them of a special Facebook exclusive discount, contest or something else they’ll want to see immediately.
- Run contests to get people excited about your brand.
- Run ads. All restaurants should have a budget for Facebook ads. It’s an integral part of Facebook marketing for restaurants. You’ll grow faster. They’ll pay for themselves many times over with the right strategies (We’ll discuss ads a little later).
Consistently Deliver Shareable Content
In order to get more fans and keep them, consistently share content. You don’t have to write any lengthy blog articles for a restaurant.
There are other ways to promote restaurants using social media and restaurant content marketing. Deliver value to customers with these tips 9 best things for restaurants to share on social media.
- Post at the right time. If you cater mostly to the normal dinner crowd, that’s 1-4PM. If you’re a coffee or bagel shop, posting before the shop opens in the morning will remind that early crowd to get their morning fix.
- Share some recipes. Don’t worry. They won’t be able to make it like you do. Not only does this appeal to people who want to know what’s in their food. It allows you to showcase the care you take to offer amazing food.
- Tell some stories. They can be really short. Let employees tell stories. Always keep it positive. Don’t shame customers. Use stories to show that you and your staff are people too. You’re involved in the community.
- Share great reviews. If you get a great review on Yelp, share it. This not only shows you in the best light. It gives recognition to the reviewer. Many people like that social media attention.
- Start a contest. Ask people to use a certain unique hashtag. They can tag a recent trip to your restaurant in a post they share. Select 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winner to get a prize your fans can be excited about. A $100, $50 and $25 gift card to your establishment. You’ll get a ton of promotion out of it that will well outweigh the cost.
- Take some behind-the-scenes videos. Show your fans what goes on in the kitchen. Not only will people enjoy the video. You’re increasing that trust meter by being so transparent.
- Share what’s seasonal. People love knowing their food is extra fresh.
- Showcase your employee of the month. Write up a little bio with a picture, job description and accomplishments.
- Share customer-generated content. Track your mentions. If someone shares a great photo of lunch, share it on your page. It not only makes that customer feel special. It encourages more people to do so.
Your profile shouldn’t look like a bunch of ads. An occasional discount post for your fans is okay. But people will unfollow an overly promotional brand.
Use Analytics to Improve Your Strategy
Finally, track all of this amazing engagement. Learn what works best with your audience. Do more of it.
2. Page Like Ads
This is the more socially acceptable way to earn likes. You’re not asking for likes. Instead, you’re encouraging people to check out your brand because a friend of theirs liked it. These are the easiest, cheapest and most effective ads for getting more people to your Facebook page. Get more likes in the process.
Simply choose the “Get More Likes” option when setting up an ad.
Set a daily ad budget. Narrow the audience down to the to the city or region. If you’re in somewhere like Atlanta, you may even want to narrow it to people who live or work within a 5-mile radius to target people likely to visit. You can also target people from out of the area who are visiting for a convention or event.
Each time someone likes your page, their friends who meet the criteria will see a very simple ad with your logo and a short bit of copy that you can edit.
3. General Facebook Ads
That last one was short and sweet. But let’s get into more detail about how to effectively run all kinds of Facebook ads here.
There are many kinds of ads you run on Facebook. What you choose depends on your goals.
You may want to get traffic to your beautiful website. You may want to encourage people to order their dinner through Facebook now. You may be in those early stages. You need to attract people to the page. You need to earn followers who will see, appreciate and share your content with others.
Here’s how to get started.
Establish an Ad Budget
It’s important to have a budget before any Facebook marketing for restaurants takes place. Your expenses include more than just the cost for an ad click.
Also, explore the costs in your area for the following. If you plan to do a lot of this yourself, keep in mind that time is money and it may be better to outsource advertising your restaurant on social media.
- Ad Design & Copy
- Research & Planning
- Cost for clicks or 1,000 impressions (views). The average cost per click for food services is $0.58 – $0.68 per click. This may vary in your market.
- Campaign management. Someone will need to check-in and manage the campaign at least 2-3X/week to make sure campaigns continue to run smoothly. We offer this with all of our restaurant marketing services.
- Analytics. You’ll have access to free social media analytics. But paid programs help you dig deeper to optimize campaigns.
- Landing pages. If ads lead people to your website, a landing page is needed to seamlessly continue to task the person started with a click.
Select Your Goals
Start by determining what that goal is. And realize that some goals may need to come before others.
For example, if you’re relatively unknown, ads that lead people to order online won’t be very effective. When’s the last time you gave a business you’d never heard of your money?
You need to build brand awareness first. You need to increase social proof through ads, building your followers, and getting more reviews. Social proof shows that others trust and like your restaurant.
Narrow Your Target Audience
It does you little good to target people across the country or even one county over. They’re not likely to visit. If you’re an establishment that appeals to young professionals, then showing the ad to every age group makes less sense (and costs more!).
You wouldn’t turn them away at your establishment. But they’re not likely to be your target customers and therefor may not be likely to return either.
Showing your ads to too many people causes the following that you don’t want:
- Paying for clicks from people who will never become paying customers
- Earning lots of followers who aren’t in your area. That gives you a false impression of how well you’re doing.
- Depleting your ad budget before you reach the people you wanted to reach.
- Lowering ad relevance, which will cause Facebook to charge you more for a click.
As you become more experienced with Facebook marketing for restaurants you’ll be able to experiment with different ad placements to increase your conversions and lower costs.
Keep Your Relevance Score Up
Facebook wants people to be very happy with their experience. That includes the ads they see. The more relevant you make your ads, the more Facebook will show your ad. And the less you’ll pay for a single click. To get the most out of your Facebook marketing for restaurants budget, do keep this score up. You can see it in Facebook’s free analytics tool.
Here are some quick tips:
- Know who’s most likely to be a customer. Appeal directly to them in your ad.
- Create different ads for different types of people you target. What appeals to your active seniors may be less appealing to their children who are likely Gen X or older millennials. Is your restaurant near a hospital? You could target the employees directly in Facebook and show them an ad that’s very relevant to healthcare.
- Track your performance. Consider if you’re running ads at the wrong time of day, to the wrong people. Or maybe the message doesn’t connect. Make improvements to keep that relevance up.
4. Remarketing Ads
The customer journey doesn’t start when they show up at your door for coffee and donuts. Today, the customer journey almost always starts online.
On average, a person will have 7-13 touch points with your brand online before becoming a customer. You can leverage this knowledge to speed up this person’s touch points, bringing them in your doors faster.
It’s called “remarketing”. There are several ways to do it on Facebook.
- Upload a list of customers onto Facebook. It will find your customers on Facebook and show them the ads. This works best when Facebook marketing for restaurants if you’re in catering or have a customer rewards program gave you the opportunity to collect contact info. Otherwise, keep reading. There are more ways to do this.
- Tell Facebook you want to show the ad to people who’ve visited or liked your profile in the past.
- Tell Facebook you want to show the ad to people who’ve visited your website. You’ll need to add what’s called a Facebook pixel to the code on your website to use this option.
- Tell Facebook to show the ad to people who watched a video you posted.
In any case, you’re re-engaging people who are likely to become new customers. Or you’re getting more visits from people who already love your place.
5. Boosted Posts
Did you have a Facebook post that got a lot of shares, likes or comments? It’s time to get the most out of it. Pay Facebook to boost that post.
They’ll show it in the feeds of people who don’t follow you. The fact that it already has great engagement makes more people want to check it out.
Follow the same targeting principles we discussed above to ensure you’re not paying for clicks from unlikely customers. That’s a waste of money.
Boosted posts should meet the following criteria:
- It’s about your brand. If you were sharing a post that’s not specifically about your business, that’s free advertising for them, not you.
- It performed well among your followers. Your Facebook profile is a great place to see what works.
6. Instant Messenger Ads
Instant messenger ads are a type of Facebook ad that’s newer to a lot of people. They only appear on the feed of people who downloaded Facebook’s Instant Messenger App.
Ad options currently include:
- Messenger ads
- Sponsored ads
Each serves a slightly different purpose.
Messenger Ads on Facebook Instant Messenger
These ads appear on the messenger home screen. They’ll be accompanied by other messages a user may view when they first open the app. They don’t send people to your website, which is great if your site isn’t optimized for mobile. It should be, by the way.
You’ll just shoot someone in your target audience a friendly little message. Be brief but personable.
You might invite them to check something out on your Facebook page. They could:
- Enjoy a discount
- Check out your new menu
- See what’s fresh and seasonal
- Participate in a contest
Sponsored Messages on Facebook Instant Messenger
These are a form of remarketing. They can only be sent to people who’ve messaged you on Facebook. They will appear in their messages.
Use this ad to reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while. Invite them back to the restaurant. This type of ad demonstrates that you recognize that you’re not marketing to a random person. Done right, it shows that you recognize the value of existing repeat customers.
Click-to-Messenger Ads on Facebook Instant Messenger
These will appear in the newsfeed on Facebook and Instagram. This makes them blend in more as someone’s scrolling so it feels more organic. But it also means they can miss it.
Get attention to slow their scroll. Then engage them with an intriguing ad.
Facebook Marketing for Restaurants
New in town? Empty seats during dinner service? Facebook marketing for restaurants will absolutely help fix that problem. But it’s more than just having a profile. Optimize your profile to get more orders. Engage fans and earn new ones. Run targeted Facebook ads to increase your reach among likely patrons. Keep bringing delighted fans back for more.
Are you looking for better ways to promote your restaurant? Contact us today.
Do you have more Facebook marketing for restaurant ideas that we didn’t cover in our details? Share them with us in the comments below! We love hearing what other opportunities people have found in digital marketing.