Social Media for Restaurants: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Jennifer Martucci on Apr 6, 2015 12:23:00 PM
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The National Restaurant Association reports 51% of fine dining restaurants plan to use social media more in 2015. Yet so many restaurants find it difficult to get traction on their social channels and understand how their efforts are impacting the bottom line. 

Social media for restaurants: Be sure to stay away from these five common mistakes restaurants make on social media.

1. Trying to do it all without a clear channel strategy

Social media trends are constantly evolving, and new popular social channels emerge by the month. Trying to stay on top of it all can be overwhelming, and it's easy to feel the need to jump on the latest trend. That's where a channel strategy can help.

Before participating on social media (or even if you've already started), take the time to understand where your audience is active and determine the reason for participating on each channel. Some channels like Facebook or Instagram may be right if you're trying to connect with guests on a more personal level, but it may also be beneficial to look at LinkedIn to build your team's professional credibility. There simply isn't enough time in a day to tackle everything, so think about the smartest moves for your business and focus on them.

2. Focusing on mass-produced content over one-to-one social interactions

Contributing to social media with new posts is part of the process, but it's also very time consuming. Creating quality imagery, video and copy on a frequent basis is not always in the budget, and it might not even be the best way to reach your customers. That's because there is an increasing amount of brand publishers, which means more people trying to get in front of other people, and that makes it difficult for you to be heard.

Paid social media is an option, but again requires more of that budget. One way to work around this is to post less, and listen more. Find guests on social media that are talking about your food, taking a selfie at the bar, or looking for restaurant suggestions. This is a natural opportunity for you to insert yourself into existing conversations and perhaps reward guests by retweeting or sharing their content.


3. Forgetting to promote social sharing when guests are at the restaurant

According to new Mintel research, 13% of those who have dined out in the past month and use social media have posted a food or drink picture to social media. Sometimes, all they need is the nudge. Get in front of them in simple ways, such as a sign at the bar with your social handles or social icons on the menu.


4. Lack of visual content

When you post something to social media, you're competing for attention alongside content from friends, family and other brands. That means the bar has gone up for your restaurant's content. To get noticed, it's imperative to publish attractive visuals that make people stop scrolling. Understand your audience's triggers by looking at your past content to see what worked.

5. Setting the wrong goals

Trying to get the most fans is not the best goal, and neither is looking at how much revenue was brought in through social media. Fans are meaningless if they're not actually interested in your content, and it's impossible to quantify the total revenue brought in from social media. Instead, think about brand advocacy when you're setting goals. Post engagement, website traffic as a result of social media, and the quality of the engagement are all great things to be thinking about. Are people interacting with your content? Are they clicking through to your website to learn more about you? Are they sharing their own photos or posting positive reviews? These are the true indicators of brand loyalty. 

Social media management is just one piece of the puzzle. Click below to get our free eGuide, "The Simple Way to Attract More Restaurant Guests".

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Topics: Digital Marketing