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Buzztime - Business Bar Trivia by Buzztime

With over 65 million business pages on Facebook, how can social media promotions for restaurants stand out? That number doesn’t include the millions of businesses on Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat.

The secret to successful social media promotions for restaurants is to view social media as more than a space to simply post your restaurant’s specials. Instead, think of social media as a conversation. As one of the most prominent restaurant marketing ideas, it’s a powerful tool to develop relationships with customers, improve their dining experience, and keep your business on the top of their minds.

So, how do you go about creating social media promotions for restaurants that actually work? With changing algorithms and new platforms developing every day, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, start with these simple steps that will help you win over customers today…

Step 1: Brainstorm Social Media Promotions for Restaurants

Social media promotions for restaurants are fun and exciting ways to engage customers outside of the four walls of your establishment. Using content that is relevant, informative and entertaining can leave a positive impact on followers long after they leave your business. Here are some ideas for smart promotions:

  • Food Photos: Get your followers’ mouths watering with images of the food that made you famous. Show what’s on special and list any new pricing that would tempt anyone contemplating a night in, to come out to your restaurant instead.
  • Upcoming Events: Have a new band playing this week? Running an on-trend Trivia Night? Social media promotions for restaurants are the best place to spread the word. You can even up the ante by giving your followers some inside information, such as the answer to one of this week’s trivia questions, on your profile page. Be sure to set up your event using Facebook’s event tool. Facebook will then automatically send reminders to anyone who is “interested” or has RSVP’d to your event. Plus, you can “boost” your event by paying Facebook to show your event to a target audience that you designate.
  • Employee of the Week: Your team is awesome and you’re not the only person that notices. Show your customers that their opinion matters, and ask them to nominate an employee of the month on your social media account. This is one of the social media promotions for restaurants that benefits everyone involved! Your team will be pushing the promo all month, directing customers to your social media sites so they can be nominated. Once the employee of the month is chosen, create a post on your social media page honoring him or her. You can bet that customers and that employee’s friends and family will be visiting YOUR social media page to leave comments and “likes” for that employee!
  • User-Generated Content: Customers are the backbone of social media promotions for restaurants. So, get your followers in on the action by asking them to share photos and posts about their experience, and making sure to tag your restaurant. Pick one post per month and offer that customer a discount on their next meal.

These are some ideas, but the possibilities are limitless. Get creative and tap into your team for more ways to run social media promotions for restaurants.

Step 2: Pick the Best Platform for your Business

There are a lot of elements to consider when running social media promotions for restaurants. Who is your target audience? What do you want to emphasize about your brand identity? What aspect of your business are you hoping to highlight (food, service, atmosphere, etc)? Answering these questions will help determine which social media platform would be best for your promotion.

To help make your decision, here’s a quick breakdown of popular platforms and how you can run social media promotions for restaurants on each one:

  • Facebook: Facebook is the best place for social media promotions for restaurants. It allows users to share updates via text, photos, videos, articles and even posts from other pages. You can interact with customers in the comments, by responding directly to something they’ve posted. Responding to a customer’s comments can establish brand trust, and Facebook users have reported feeling a more personal connection to businesses that do so. On Facebook business pages, customers can also post reviews, which allows you to see what the general public is saying about your restaurant.
  • Instagram: As a mostly visual platform, Instagram is a foodie’s dream when it comes to social media promotions for restaurants. You can share images of your daily specials, featured menu items or latest cocktail. The best way to get noticed on this platform is through hashtags, so make sure to use any related tag you can think of (examples: #NameofYourRestaurant #SpecialoftheDay #foodie #yum).
  • Twitter: This platform can spread social media promotions for restaurants in 140 characters or less, which is ideal for a business owner short on words. You can share images and text, retweet other posts and use hashtags to increase chances of your post popping up on searches.
  • Yelp: Or, better known as the place you want to go before checking out a new restaurant. Yelp is focused 100% on reviews, so it may feel as though you don’t have as much control here as other platforms you’ve seen with social media promotions for restaurants. However, if you claim your business on Yelp, you’ll be able to add your own details (such as hours of operation, a link to your menu, etc.) and you can actually respond to customer reviews.

There are other platforms you can explore, such as Snapchat or FourSquare, but when it comes to social media promotions for restaurants, these four sites are a great start.
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Step 3: Include This in Your Posts

Social media promotions for restaurants are more than just social sharing, they are an opportunity to be seen by thousands. To make sure your post is effective, it will need to include certain elements. Here are some things you can add that will get the most out of your post:

  • Images: Social media promotions for restaurants do well when they are visual. Pictures do speak louder than words! Grab attention by using a high-quality photo that is relevant to your post. Either avoid words on the image altogether or don’t use a lot of words on the image itself…save that for the caption area. In fact, if your image has more than 20% text, Facebook will not show it to as many people.
  • Engaging Content: Branch out from just sharing social media promotions for restaurants, as users would find nonstop promo posts annoying. Focus on sharing related content your followers may find interesting, such as an entertaining meme or a local news article about your town.
  • Hashtags: Relevant on almost every platform, hashtags are a great way to ensure your post shows up in searches. To select a view-worthy hashtag, check out trending topics and select tags that are relevant to your post.
  • Call to Action: The purpose of social media promotions for restaurants is to engage your audience. Bring attention to your business by telling followers exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s liking a photo, sharing a post or stopping by for Happy Hour.

Step 4: Evaluate Your Promotion

Figuring out the effectiveness of social media promotions for restaurants can be a tricky business. It’s tempting to just look at the number of likes or followers, but there are other aspects to consider when it comes to a successful post.

For example, look at the engagement rate of your posts, keyword analytics or the demographic of your followers. Most of this information is available in the insights page of your social media platform, or you can use one of these 26 free tracking tools to gather this knowledge. Determine where you’ve made an impact with your posts and where you are seeing an increase in engagement, and then repeat the process. Learn what’s working and apply that information to future promotions.

Social media promotions for restaurants are a great way to build your web presence and drive traffic to your business. Once you put on your first promo, it will only be a matter of time before your customers start asking about the next one.