Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Social media presents many opportunities for restaurants looking to market themselves. In this lesson, you'll learn more about social media strategies and opportunities.

You Like Me!

Think of all the social media channels you use in a day - places where people share their thoughts, opinions, photos and videos, where you can express your admiration and appreciation by clicking a thumb's up button or a heart icon. Everyone likes to be loved, but they also love to be 'liked!'

Leverage social media tools to enhance your restaurant marketing efforts.
food heart

You think nothing of sharing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, photos and videos on your personal social media channels, but could you be leveraging those channels to help you grow your restaurant business? Absolutely!


Using social media to promote your restaurant can be a great way to increase awareness of your brand among prospects and encourage loyalty among your existing customers. It can be a place to share what your restaurant and its culture are all about, interact with other food lovers, and bring more people into your establishment.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you've decided to implement social media in your marketing strategy:

  • Settle on your voice.

Is your restaurant casual or formal, fun-loving or more refined? Whatever personality drives your business in your day-to-day operations should come out in the voice used to communicate on various social media platforms. Also, consider that one social media channel might be a better fit for your restaurant's vibe than another.

  • Pay attention to your audience.

Who are your customers and where are they most likely to appear in the social media mix-up? Every target group doesn't use social media equally. Figure out who you're targeting (college students? seniors? the well-to-do?) and research which social media platforms they are most likely to be engaging on.

  • Share, share, share!

Whatever platforms you use, be certain to include easy access to them on all your digital and online marketing materials. Social media buttons are easy addition to your email newsletters, blogs and more, and can link directly to your accounts for easy following.

  • Consider using the 80/20 rule.

No one is following your social media accounts to watch you endlessly self-promote. Strike a good balance between compelling, shareable content (80 percent of what you post) and direct selling to your audience (20 percent of what you post). This helps to keep your audience engaged and receptive.

  • Engage with your audience.

Social media is a two-way street of communication - a shift from years of one-way messaging from a brand to its consumers. Social media begs for interaction and conversation; it's a critical component of a successful social media marketing effort.

Social Media Post Ideas

So, what are some things you can do on social media to attract attention to your restaurant? Well, everybody loves a deal - post exclusive offers such as coupons, happy hour specials, and other incentives. Customers will want to follow you so they don't miss out on a cheap eat!

Contests are another wonderful way to get your customers to do a little word-of-mouth promoting for you. Ask them to post pictures from inside your restaurant for a special discount or share a favorite menu item and tag the restaurant in the post. You can run an integrated contest that utilizes your online channels as well as your in-store presence as well.

Hashtags are special keywords followed by the '#' sign that can group topics of your choosing. So, you might consider a #FreeFridayAppetizer along with a photo of a featured appetizer, and ask restaurant-goers to do the same. You can also simply use a hashtag campaign for the name of your restaurant, a special event you're promoting, or a new menu feature.

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