Do you own or manage a restaurant?
If so, you may already know from experience that you need fun restaurant promotion ideas to bring new customers in and keep the old ones coming back for more! Customer loyalty is imperative for the success of your business.
Social media is an excellent way to build a long-term relationship with current and potential customers. By engaging with your audience via social media, you can surprise your customers with these 10 fun restaurant promotion ideas!
Promoting Your Restaurant via Social Media Management
- Host giveaways and contests
When building a lasting relationship with your customers, it is key that you provide value to them. This incentivizes people to follow you and stay interested in what you have to offer.
A great way to provide value is by hosting giveaways and contests! Reward your followers, while also giving them the opportunity to grow your following for you. As your followers grow online, so will orders at your restaurant. More growth means more knowledge and more people to get the word out.
The primary purpose of running giveaways and contests on social media is to increase your followers and the engagement on your posts. By giving something away, you can require your followers to “qualify” and enter the giveaway by completing a few quick tasks, such as:
- Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. (This is another great way to cross-promote your other social media accounts.)
- “Like” this post. (This increases the engagement.)
- Tag three friends in the comments section of this post. (This also increases the engagement AND creates the opportunity for those friends to follow your page.)
Try running a giveaway for one month, such as a gift card to your restaurant, and see how much your social media engagement and followers increase!
- Post engaging content
Another great way to build a long-term relationship with your audience is by posting content specifically created for engagement.
What does this entail?
Posts that include a call to action, such as telling the audience to tag a friend or asking the audience an open-ended question are excellent for increased engagement! They’re one of the easiest fun restaurant promotion ideas.
Posting engaging content will help you reach large numbers of restaurant goers in your area for a minimal cost.
By taking advantage of all the benefits social media has to offer, you can keep your restaurant at the front of customers’ minds, even when they aren’t there. You can see your follower numbers grow and hear more people talking about your restaurant and recommending your dishes to friends, family, and coworkers.
Build relationships with your customers through engaging posts about your restaurant. Talk to your visitors on social media the same way you would when they are in your restaurant.
The more you engage with customers on social media, the more opportunity you have to get their feedback on your menu items and develop a loyal following.
As you can see, the organic (unpaid) engagement increases substantially when you post engaging content. People love interacting with their favorite brands and businesses, so be sure to post a healthy variety of questions, tips, tricks, and quizzes!
- Repost content from your customers
Another one of our fun restaurant promotion ideas, to engage with followers and encourage further brand growth, is to repost photos that customers may have taken of your food or restaurant!
These make for great share posts, and you can tag them in the post to give back for sharing your company with their followers.
Using content from your followers helps you as a brand connect with people on a human level and come across as authentic.
92% of people trust recommendations from other people over branded content. They trust their peers, so take advantage of content that regular customers post to promote your brand.
User-generated content is typically an indicator of a trustworthy or reliable brand. If a customer is promoting your restaurant, this is equivalent to them giving you a great review!
Make sure to put up a sign inside your restaurant, encouraging visitors to take shots of their plates. It’s important to include your business’s username and a unique hashtag that they can use. When you’re ready to repost some content, search for that unique hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, and you should find all the images taken in and around your restaurant!
- Have appealing, high quality photography of your food
Instagram not only conveys your story through pictures, but it has also been successful in capturing and retaining the attention of a large audience that has always yearned for visual gratification.
It’s all about the creative representation of your restaurant and how you engage your audience by consistently posting content that is visually appealing. Using quality images will go a long way in increasing your post’s organic reach and engagement.
People expect social media for restaurants to updated daily. They want something new to eat every day, so they like to see new visuals from you every day as well.
Here is a list of several techniques to apply when taking appealing photos:
- Use natural lighting
- Look for strong contrast
- Embrace white space
- Incorporate a background
- Have a single point of interest in the photo
- Play around with and learn your camera settings (even with a smartphone)
Although everyone loves a beautiful food photo, don’t just share photos of your food; make sure to show the dining atmosphere as well! This will draw your customers in and give them a taste of the vibe that you have created at your restaurant.
- Use unique hashtags on platforms like Instagram and Twitter
Another one of our fun restaurant promotion ideas is utilizing hashtags in your posts on Instagram and Twitter, which allows people to find your social media accounts.
Hashtags increase your reach and business growth on social media, leading to a successful social media campaign overall. They can help build brand awareness, increase engagement, and get customers walking in your doors.
Simply Measured conducted a study and discovered that posts with at least one hashtag receive about 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags!
There are almost 300 million posts on Instagram alone with the hashtag #food, over 23 million with the hashtag #drink, and over 20 million with the hashtag #restaurant, so it’s no secret that people love food and they love to post about it, which is why social media is one of the best platforms for promoting your restaurant!
Using your own unique hashtags combined with popular hashtags is the best strategy. If you only use popular hashtags, your post will get lost very easily. Considering those popular hashtagged posts are constantly being cycled out when a new post with that hashtag is published.
If your restaurant consistently uses its own unique hashtag, this will encourage your customers to use it, too. This increases engagement and builds a community around your restaurant. So if you haven’t coined a hashtag for your restaurant yet, we highly suggest it.
Make sure to use local hashtags as well, so that your posts show up in your geographical area.
- Post raving reviews from customers
Reviews, testimonials, and compliments from customers can go a long way in establishing credibility.
88% of people trust what friends and even strangers say on Facebook about businesses. 70% of purchases at local businesses can be tracked back to social media.
When you receive a 5-star review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or any other place online, be sure to share that review on your social media pages!
Reviews create trust with your potential customers. Sharing a review that mentions a specific menu item can even lead to someone new coming into your restaurant just to try this food that others were raving about!
Overall, using these fun restaurant promotion ideas and promoting your restaurant via social media is a great way to build a long-term relationship with your audience and customers, while also increasing follower growth, increasing engagement on your posts, and driving more traffic to your website and into your restaurant.
Promoting Your Restaurant via Social Media Advertising
- Boost posts to increase brand awareness and engagement
Using paid advertising can further incorporate these fun restaurant promotion ideas. Boosting posts is a great way to increase your restaurant’s brand awareness and engagement.
With Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, they’ve made it very difficult for businesses – big and small – to gain any type of organic reach or engagement. Facebook has really become a pay-to-play platform for businesses.
So in order to have a greater opportunity to interact with your audience, you’ll need to back your posts with some money. Posts that aren’t boosted only reach about 1% of the total audience following your Facebook page organically!
The best types of content to boost include giveaways, contests, and promotions/specials. By boosting a giveaway or contest, you can guarantee more participation and entries, as well as more likes, comments, and shares – which even further increases the interaction with your post!
If you’re running a contest or giveaway and want to reach as many people as possible, we recommend allocating a larger budget and running the campaign for a longer period of time. We might boost this type of post for one month with a $50-$100 budget.
Additionally, if you’re really wanting to get people in the door with a new special or limited-time promotion, boosting this type of post is also very beneficial and will increase your reach significantly!
For these shorter promotions, we recommend boosting for 5-7 days with a $10-$20 budget.
- Run reach ads to increase brand awareness to local potential customers
Another type of paid promotion to increase overall reach or brand awareness for the above fun restaurant promotion ideas is, simply, a reach or brand awareness campaign.
Around 61% of people need to see something 2 to 3 times on social media before they choose to make a purchase or visit the restaurant.
As easily assumed, a reach campaign simply shows your ad to the maximum number of people. This is great for when you have an important message you’d like to share with as many people as possible.
Reach ads are best for calls to action such as:
- “Get Directions” to your location
- “Call Now” to get in contact with you and your business
- “Learn More” to get more information on what your ad is about
Brand awareness ads are very similar. But they take it one step further in intent by reaching people more likely to pay attention to your ads and increase awareness for your brand.
Where reach ads are solely about the highest numbers and focus on quantity, brand awareness ads hone in on the quality prospects who would truly be interested in your business.
Reach/brand awareness ads do require a dedicated advertising budget to run, usually on an ongoing monthly basis. We recommend a minimum of $150 per month because in our experience, we’ve seen this as the foundation for a successful reach/brand awareness campaign.
- Use traffic ads to drive traffic to the website
Traffic ads are great to run when you’d like to send people to a website or landing page you’ve created. Similar to reach/brand awareness ads, these are best for a strong call to action.
Traffic ads work well with the call to action of “Learn More,” so you can drive more people to your website or landing page to get more information on what you’re advertising.
For your restaurant, it would be great to drive traffic to your online menu or to a reservation booking page on your website. That way potential customers can learn more before making the choice to dine with you.
This, in turn, will drive more foot traffic into your restaurant, resulting in more tables sat and orders placed.
An additional benefit of the increased traffic to your website will also be a potential increase in online orders for pick up or delivery.
Similar to a reach/brand awareness campaign, we do recommend a minimum of $150 per month to run your traffic ads because we’ve seen this as the basis for a successful traffic campaign.
To conclude this section, using paid promotions to increase the reach of your fun restaurant promotion ideas is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and into your restaurant in the short term, versus using organic social media content as a long-term game.
Promoting Your Restaurant via Email Marketing
- Send loyalty / rewards program members weekly specials, discounts, upcoming events, and exclusive updates
Last but certainly not least, email marketing is another fantastic way to promote your restaurant with some of our fun restaurant promotion ideas, such as contests, giveaways, weekly specials, discounts, upcoming events, and exclusive updates!
Having a loyalty or rewards program is a great way to increase your sales. One way to get customers into your loyalty program is to obtain customer emails.
You can easily do this through a website pop-up or your social media campaign. Loyalty programs encourage customers to keep coming back to get that free dessert or coupon.
Once you build up your email list, you can begin crafting an email marketing campaign to use some of the fun restaurant promotion ideas we discussed.
Some great things to include in weekly emails to customers are:
- Current specials – whether these change daily or weekly, let your customers know of a different one in each email you send, so you can capture their attention and draw them back in!
- Upcoming events – if you’re planning on doing a special menu or open event for a holiday or to celebrate your restaurant’s anniversary, let your most loyal customers know first!
- Exclusive updates – similarly to above, if you plan on launching a seasonal menu item or having a special guest in the restaurant, tell the customers who signed up for your email list first!
- Discounts – let these loyal customers know how much you appreciate them by offering a discount here and there, such as 10% off your next bill or a free dessert/appetizer with their next purchase of an entrée.
All in all, promoting your restaurant through email marketing is the best way to increase customer loyalty and keep their business for years to come. By implementing the ideas above, you can grow your email list and draw your customers back in on a weekly basis, if you craft your campaign just right!
While all of these fun restaurant promotion ideas may be a bit overwhelming, LYFE Marketing has got your back! We are here for that exact reason: to provide business owners with our expertise where it is needed, in social media and digital marketing.
Let us take the weight off your shoulders and provide some relief, so you can spend your time focusing on what you do best: managing your restaurant.
Feel free to reach out to us to see what plans that we offer work best for your restaurant and social media advertising budget!