So, you’ve realized your dream: You’re the proud owner of a restaurant and/or bar.
It’s an incredible feeling, isn’t it?
However, if you’re new to the small business game, you’ve quickly found that a load of fresh questions come along with this initial feeling of euphoria. And even if you’re a long-time restaurant or bar owner, the burgeoning online world of social media brings with it new, often worrisome considerations:
What social media channels should my restaurant or bar be on?
Do I need to post updates every day?
Do I even need social media?
It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it?
While we can’t comprehensively help you with all those questions in this space—after all, each business’s situation requires different strategies—we can assert that yes, in today’s world, you absolutely need social media.
With that in mind, we’re going to take this opportunity to briefly break down a few of the key benefits of social media for your restaurant or bar, and then supply a list of “Best Practices” you can employ when first joining the social fray.
Ready to go?
Social Media Benefits
There are a number of impactful benefits in store for restaurants or bars that adopt a regular social media posting schedule. Here’s just a few:
- Social media allows you to showcase your food and/or libations. Whether you’re slinging drinks or serving up delicious fare, your restaurant and bar products get to take center stage. Instagram is a particularly useful tool for bars and restaurants, thanks to the inherently visual nature of the platform. It’s fantastic for showing off burgers and brews!
Social media lets you gather customer feedback. Social media is the easiest way for you to gather feedback, both positive and negative, without even having to go looking for it. Patrons love the ease of dropping a Facebook food review or succinct tweet right from their mobile phones.
- Social media’s free advertising. You technically don’t need to spend a penny when using any social platform. It’s worth repeating: This is free advertising!
- Social media sponsored ads are cost effective. Even if you do decide to spend money on social media advertising, it’s a highly cost effective advertising avenue. Ads can be highly targeted, ensuring you only go after the exact audience you’re interested in—for example, Facebook advertising allows you to set parameters that include gender, age, listed interests, and even proximity to specified zip codes.
Social Media Best Practices
And now, a few best practices:
Be consistent. If you’re going to commit to social media, commit. Don’t post sporadically. Your audience will want to know they can rely on you to provide content, otherwise they’ll tune you out. Post consistently and, if possible, daily.
2. Don’t make it all about you. While posting consistently is important, what you post is equally as important. Social media isn’t just about pushing your restaurant and bar products. Instead, you must create value for the user. Ensure that more than 50% of all your posts are engagement-related, meaning that they are aimed at entertaining the user and getting them to respond with a “Like,” “retweet,” etc.
For example, if you’re a bar owner, share a funny quote about drinking or hangovers. If you’re situated in a college town, it’s even easier—you can re-share funny images and/or memes lampooning college life. Save your promotions for about a quarter or a third of your overall posts.
3. Respond to all reviews. As a bar or restaurant, you’re going to receive a lot of reviews due to the wide array of products you offer. Ensure that you respond to both the positive and negative comments. This lets your audience know you care, and also provides the opportunity to smooth over a situation before it potentially becomes worse. Never ignore criticism!
4. Don’t ignore your Instagram bio. Don’t ignore the “bio” section of your Instagram channel. Many people do this, but it’s a great place to list pithy, important information, including information about your other social media channels. Also, always list your website in your bio.
Oh, and if you don’t have an Instagram account, get one! As a bar or restaurant with many drinks and various cuisine to share, Instagram and its visual nature is the perfect social media solution for your business.
5. Include exclusive deals/information. Ensure you leverage the power of social media to feature special deals your patrons can’t find anywhere else, including on your website. Give them a reason to follow you, and you’ll be rewarded in time!