Restaurant Owners: Top 10 Tips to Get Started on Facebook

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social-media.pngWith an audience of roughly 1 billion active users, it’s no secret why your restaurant should be on Facebook.  But once you’re there, what should you do?  We’ve broken it down to our top 10 tips for a successful Facebook strategy for restaurants.  Use these quick tips to help acquire followers, improve interactions, drive traffic into your restaurant, and build a relationship with your fans.

1.       Optimize your Facebook page

Just as you wouldn’t open your restaurant without food in the kitchen, you shouldn’t create a Facebook page that is empty.  Be sure add a cover image, a profile image and fill in the ‘About’ section to include your address, hours and phone number.  These are the basic must haves – you can find more detailed tips to starting and optimizing your Facebook page in the chapter Six Ways Restaurants Can Use Facebook to Attract More Customers in our eBook, “The Restaurant’s Guide to Digital Marketing”.

2.       Post content consistently

You can decide what consistency means for your restaurant, but a good goal is to post at least five times per week.  Your commitment to post on your page consistently will show current and potential customers that your page is a resource. It creates opportunities for them to engage, learn more about your restaurant, and even invite others to “like” your page.  If you can’t commit to posting consistently, the effort you put towards your page will be lost quickly.

3.       Use photos, humor, quotes AND videos

You’ve committed to posting, great! Now, what do you post?  Restaurants have an opportunity to take photos and quick handheld video with your phone.  Customers love to see inside operations of a restaurant.  Snapping a quick photo of a new or most popular dish, inside the kitchen or even a delivery of beautiful fruits can work!  Another idea is to use quotes from your customers or even search the web for quotes about food, dining, or the type of cuisine you offer.

4.       Add surprises for your fans

Do you want to know if your Facebook page helps drive customers in the door? Post a freebie or other offer like “free drink with purchase” or a “free appetizer with purchase of an entrée” for any customer that mentions this post (you can make this for a limited time).  You won’t need fancy tracking just ask your servers to record how many people mention the Facebook post. You will be amazed at how this simple tip can get your fans to share with others – for FREE!

5.       Ask questions – about dining, customer opinions, and feedback

This is an easy way get value back.  For example, ask about a new dish you would like to add to the menu or about a recent event you had.  Ask questions about dining or food choices.  The responses will surprise you, and you will learn valuable insights from your customers.

6.       Listen

Listening to what your customers are saying, asking and telling you about your restaurant is invaluable. Read every comment that is posted on your page.  You can also search the restaurant name on other social media sites to see what others are saying about your restaurant.  Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest, and even Restaurant.com (the Restaurant Management Center includes customer comments and feedback to our restaurant partners) are good places to start!

7.       Respond to ALL comments

You’ve read every comment, but even more critical to your success on Facebook is to respond to every question and comment on your page.  Your fans want to see that you are engaged and present on your page. If you are available online, they will have confidence you will be available and present when they come to your restaurant.

8.       Invest (even if it’s a small budget) in your Facebook page

Investing time and money is important when maximizing your presence on Facebook. Even a small budget can go a long way on Facebook.  Can you spend $100 a month, maybe $200 a month?  This investment can go a long way in boosting the engagement from your fans and getting your posts to show more frequently in the newsfeed.  Facebook has a great resource for businesses that takes you through each step.

9.       Promote Facebook inside your restaurant

Once your page is ready for primetime, let your customers know that you are on Facebook by promoting your Facebook page inside your restaurant.  Have your wait staff wear a button that says “Like us on Facebook,” add a window decal to your front door, and include it on your menu.  You can even incent customers to “like” you on Facebook by including a special offer for their next visit if they show you on their smartphone that they like your page!

10.   Measure your results with Facebook Insight

Every business Facebook page comes with a free analytics and insights section that shows the effectiveness of your page.  It shows customer demographics, number of times your content was viewed, the number of impressions each of your page posts received, and much more. Take an hour every month to review and you will have actionable next steps for your next month’s Facebook activities.