Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing in 2021 - AppInstitute (2023)

Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing in 2021 - AppInstitute (1)

A good restaurant social media marketing strategy can help bring customers to your venue. This is because social media is an important tool people use to make purchasing decisions.

This is especially true when it comes to choosing where to eat⁠—people love sharing and searching for photos of food. In fact, according to TouchBistro, 41% of people have decided to eat at a specific restaurant based entirely on positive social media feedback.

This means it’s crucial for restaurants to have a strategy for how to use these platforms to attract customers. Even if you aren’t a social media expert, taking small steps such as setting up your profiles can make a big difference to how much exposure you gain in the online world.

In this article, we’ll look at what you need to do to nail your restaurant’s social media marketing.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Step One: Build Your Restaurant’s Social Media Marketing Presence
    • 1.1 How to Set Up Your Restaurant’s Facebook Profile
    • 1.2 How to Set Up Your Restaurant’s Instagram Profile
  • 2 Step Two: Create Great Posts
    • 2.1 Images of Menu Items
    • 2.2 Special Offers
    • 2.3 User-Generated Content
    • 2.4 Competitions
    • 2.5 Jokes and Memes
    • 2.6 Behind the Scenes Content
    • 2.7 What Makes a Great Restaurant Social Media Post?
  • 3 Step Three: Use Social Media Influencers
  • 4 Step Four: Focus on the Food
  • 5 Social Media Is a Key Part of Your Mobile Strategy

First, set up your restaurant’s social media accounts on the platforms most used by your customers or the people you want to attract.

Facebook and Instagram are the core social media platforms for most restaurants. If you think it will help reach your audience, consider making a Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, or YouTube account.

How to Set Up Your Restaurant’s Facebook Profile

With over 2.4 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the most widely used social platform. It’s a key part of any social media strategy. What’s more, reports suggest that over half of consumers have used the social network to discover new businesses.

Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing in 2021 - AppInstitute (2)

The good news is that Facebook makes it easy for restaurants to set up a business page. It’s also completely free to get set up.

You just need to click on “Create a Page” and then fill out the profile with all the information your customers might need.

The above image is of Manchester-based restaurant Gusto. It’s an example of a great restaurant Facebook page.

On its profile, Gusto includes:

  • Opening hours
  • Address
  • Website URL
  • Phone number and other contact details
  • Menu and information about the food—including images
  • When it’s likely to be busy
  • Customer reviews

Even if you rarely post to your page, having one with up-to-date information will ensure you show up when people search for your restaurant on Facebook. If you optimize your page well you may also show up for more general terms like “[your location] restaurant.”

In this article, we go into greater detail on Facebook marketing strategies you can use at your restaurant.

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How to Set Up Your Restaurant’s Instagram Profile

Instagram is another hugely popular platform for restaurant social media marketing. It’s also a great social platform for restaurants, as people love to share beautiful photos of food and social events.

Like Facebook, Instagram can have a strong influence on purchasing decisions. A study run by UK-based Italian food chain Zizzi found that 30% of 18 to 35 year-olds would avoid a restaurant if its Instagram presence was weak.

An Instagram business page looks almost the same as a regular profile on the platform. However, business profiles have access to advanced statistics about posts.

Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing in 2021 - AppInstitute (3)

The burger restaurant ShakeShack has an excellent Instagram profile. It features a short bio that tells the customer more about the restaurant, and there is also a link to the website so customers can find out more about the company and order food online

ShakeShack also makes good use of Instagram stories. It has nine stories pinned to the profile, each one containing more information about different products and initiatives.

The downside to Instagram as a social media marketing tool is that you can only add a link to your profile in the biography section, not on individual posts.

Rather than directing users to your homepage, consider pointing them towards the most important part of your website. For example, your page for online reservations, online food ordering, or downloading your app.

Check out this post for more Instagram marketing ideas for your restaurant.

Step Two: Create Great Posts

Once you have your profiles up and running, you need to start posting. This is a crucial step to building your social media presence.Here is some social media post inspiration.

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The most common type of restaurant social media post is images of food. These appetizing photos are what will encourage people to visit your restaurant. Add a description of the image and some relevant hashtags and watch the likes come flooding in. You can always buy some likes to boost engagement.

You could use these posts to introduce new menu items, or simply encourage people to visit your restaurant. Or you might want to combine images of your food with some of the post types mentioned below.

Special Offers

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Promoting offers on your social media profile can be a good way to get people through the door.

According to TouchBistro, 80% of restaurant-goers have visited a restaurant based entirely on receiving a promotion. And if they have a great experience, they’re likely to keep coming back.

Consider using these social media promotions to increase footfall at times when you are otherwise quiet or use them to encourage visitors to try new menu items.

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This article has a whole section about how to use offers to attract customers to your restaurant.

User-Generated Content

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Resharing user-generated content shows you engage with your customers and can encourage people to post about your restaurant.

It’s also a good way to get high-quality content for your social media accounts for free. Just make sure you get permission from the person who posted the image before you share it.

Many restaurants share user-generated stories while leaving the main profile for the content they create. If the person who made the post tagged the restaurant or made the story public, it’s easy for restaurants to reshare the content.


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Competitions are a great way to spread the word about your business. Make sure you choose an appealing prize—for example, a free meal at your restaurant—and a way of entering the competition that will increase the reach of your social media profiles.

Here are some examples of how to do that:

  • Ask people to comment on an Instagram photo and tag someone they want to go to your restaurant with. Choose one of the answers and give the winner a free meal.
  • Ask people to share a Facebook or Twitter post and then choose a winner.
  • Ask customers to share images of your restaurant using a specified hashtag and then choose the best one from the shared images.
  • Gain more followers by asking customers to like a post and follow your account to be in with a chance of winning.

Jokes and Memes

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If it fits in with your brand voice and target audience, consider posting jokes and memes. This is an effective way to connect with your audience in a way that seems less promotional.

The above post from Nando’s works because it’s funny, light-hearted and isn’t overly promotional. By sharing jokes with its audience, the company connects with them on a deeper level.

Behind the Scenes Content

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Posting behind the scenes content can help make your business seem more personable.

Images of a chef preparing food for the evening with a description of what they are doing gives the audience an exclusive look ‘backstage’ and adds a human element they can relate to.

Use this type of content to tell your restaurant’s story, such as how you choose fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

High-Quality Images

Images are by far the most important part of your post as they are the first thing people will see.

If you aren’t confident in your photography skills, consider hiring a professional to take photos of your food for you. This is a good investment as you can use these photos throughout your marketing.

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Engaging Text

Your post’s text is where you get your message across. Make sure it is clear, grammatically correct, and error-free. When writing your social media posts, consider your target audience and write in a voice that will appeal to them.

Be creative—think about including information about the menu items in the picture to make them even more appealing. Explain the cooking process or talk about how you source ingredients.

Asking questions is a good way to drive customer interaction. Speaking directly to your customers will encourage them to comment on your post, which can increase visibility.

Well-Researched Hashtags

Hashtags are an effective way to get your post in front of more people as they help your post show up when someone searches for the topic.

Before publishing, research trending hashtags people use in your area when searching for places to eat out. An easy way to do this is to look at the hashtags your competitors are using.

Alternatively, search for terms and see which ones are popular. Useful hashtags include those based on the name of your area plus “restaurant,” or the name of your area plus the type of food you sell.

Depending on the area and the competition, you may want to be quite specific when using hashtags. Instead of #londonrestaurant, which has almost half a million posts, use #hackneyrestaurant to gain greater visibility.

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You can use up to 30 hashtags on a single post. While some people think lots of hashtags looks like spam, you can hide them further down your description so that people only see them if they click on your post.

Ultimately, the best way to decide on the optimum number of hashtags is to experiment with your posts to see what works.

Social media influencers can be a good way to get your restaurant in front of many people.

There are several ways to use influencers.

Paying for a post is the easiest way. If you decide to pay an influencer to post about your restaurant, be sure to choose one with an audience similar to the one you are targeting. This includes the demographic you want to target as well as the location.

You’ll also want to check how an influencer’s audience interacts with them. An influencer with a smaller number of engaged followers can be better than one with a large following that doesn’t interact with their posts.

Another option is to use your customers as micro-influencers. This can be an effective way to market your restaurant, as studies have found that people trust recommendations from friends and family.

Here are some ideas about how to encourage customers to create social media posts about your restaurant.

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  • Offer freebies or discounts to people who post about your restaurant. This strategy can result in more social media posts while requiring very little work.
  • Put on an event and invite people. Search for people who have either already posted about your restaurant, or who have posted about other restaurants in the local area. You could include a mix of micro-influencers and people with larger followings.

Step Four: Focus on the Food

The food you serve, and more specifically the way you present it, is arguably the biggest influencing factor on whether people share your food on social media.

When creating dishes, consider if there are any ways you can make the presentation more social-media friendly. This doesn’t require gimmicks or a revamp of your menu; it’s more about making subtle touches to the dishes that make them appear more attractive.

And don’t stop at the food. Take advantage of your interior to attract social media coverage.

Interesting lighting or interior design features can create unofficial photo areas that people seek out to take and share pictures.

Below is a screenshot of #paesanopizza, the hashtag for a restaurant in Glasgow. It’s clear that people love to share photos of the restaurant’s interior.

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This is great for branding as people are sharing not only the restaurant’s food but also images of its name.

People are spending more and more time on their phones, which is why it’s critical to have an effective mobile strategy.

Social media is a key part of this, and doing it well can help make customers aware of your restaurant.

However, it’s not the only part of a mobile marketing strategy. Combining your efforts with a mobile app can keep your restaurant full by attracting and keeping customers.

Mobile apps benefit restaurants by enabling them to create a loyalty program for customers and providing booking services and special offers.

Click here to find out more about how a mobile app can benefit your restaurant.

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How effective is social media marketing 2021? ›

Almost three-quarters of marketers surveyed for the report ranked “increased acquisition of new customers” as their top outcome for social media in 2021, a 58% year-over-year increase. However, transactions alone don't create memorable brands or ensure long-term growth.

Is social media marketing important for restaurants? ›

Social media marketing for restaurants is essential for the growth of any restaurant. There are several social media platforms you can choose from to endorse your restaurant. Social media has not only paved a way for advertising your restaurant but has also helped in interacting with the customers.

How will you attract customers? ›

5 Tips for Attracting New Customers
  • Identify Your Ideal New Customers. ...
  • Use Direct Response Marketing to Attract Customers. ...
  • Give Something Away to Entice New Customers. ...
  • Give Your Business a Face Lift to Increase Sales. ...
  • Get The (Right) Word Out.

Which social media is best for restaurants? ›

Top 6 Popular Social Media Platforms for Restaurants
  • Meta (Facebook) - Best for Building Engagement & Reach Target Audience.
  • Instagram - Best for Food Photo Promotion.
  • Pinterest - Best for Restaurant's Visual Communication.
  • Twitter - Best for Promoting Restaurant's Event.
  • YouTube - Best for Publishing Video Content.
18 Apr 2022

What are the 10 steps to a successful social media strategy? ›

A 10-Step Checklist for Social Media Strategy Success
  1. Define Clear Goals. This is the foundation of your social media management or campaign strategy. ...
  2. Get To Know Your Audience. ...
  3. Choose the Right Platforms. ...
  4. Create a Content Bank. ...
  5. Identify Keywords and Hashtags. ...
  6. Create a Content Schedule. ...
  7. Set Up Social Tools. ...
  8. Set Your Analytics.
15 Feb 2018

What are the five most effective social media marketing strategies? ›

The five most effective social media marketing strategies are:
  • Always educate and give value to your audience.
  • Create varied content.
  • Leverage customer loyalty, reviews, and user-generated content.
  • Focus on the best social media channel that works for your strategy.
  • Connect with other influencers in your niche.
24 Aug 2022

What are the social media trends in 2021? ›

From Social Networking to Social Marketplace

Online selling is becoming more streamlined through social commerce with Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest, now offering in-app purchases. Other apps you might want to leverage as a social marketplace for your brand are WhatsApp and Snapchat.

How can social media be used to advertise effectively? ›

5 Tips for advertising on social media with a small business budget
  1. Start organically. ...
  2. Be choosy with your spend. ...
  3. Create engaging content. ...
  4. Optimize your content for mobile. ...
  5. Follow the rules.
20 Sept 2022

Why is social media important 2021? ›

Social media allows marketers to connect and engage potential customers where they are at: LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and even some of the younger platforms like TikTok. With a strong social media strategy and the ability to create engaging content, marketers can engage their audience.

How often should a restaurant post on social media? ›

Managing Your Restaurant's Social Media Profiles

An increase from zero posts, to 2-3 posts a week is likely to get you on guests' social feeds, and help drive them through your door. The best way to get started is to plan ahead.

Why is social media important in the restaurant industry? ›

One of the most important reasons a restaurant should have social media accounts is communicating with customers. Social media allows you to keep in touch and build a personal connection with your customers.

What words attract customers? ›

10 Powerfully Persuasive Words Your Customers Want to Hear
  • Free.
  • Exclusive.
  • Easy.
  • Limited.
  • Get.
  • Guaranteed.
  • You.
  • Because.
2 Aug 2016

What makes a customer happy? ›

Happy customers are delighted because of the customer service they receive and the quality of your products. They know that you're willing to go above and beyond for them, even if it means going out of your way to help them.

What is the best marketing strategy? ›

If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner. Content marketing encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, any type of content you can distribute online falls into this category.

How often should a restaurant post on Facebook? ›

Most studies agree that once per day is optimal, with a maximum of two posts per day. Hubspot found that pages under 10,000 fans experienced a 50% drop in engagement per post if they posted more than once per day. At a minimum, you should post to your Facebook Pages 3 times per week.

How many times should a restaurant post on Instagram? ›

Post often.

The more you post, the more likely people are to see your content, and therefore, your restaurant. As a rule of thumb, I aim for one post a day. You can always post more or less often than that, but avoid posting photos too close together (space out photos by at least 4 hours).

How do you develop a social media growth strategy? ›

11 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience
  1. Hold contests. ...
  2. Include a visual with every post. ...
  3. Share more video. ...
  4. Be proactive in listening to and responding to your online community. ...
  5. Change your Page profile photos and cover photos. ...
  6. Give people a reason to follow you. ...
  7. Encourage tagging. ...
  8. Use hashtags to get found.
24 Jan 2020

What must a social media strategy contain? ›

The first, foundational components of a social media strategy are: a Social Media Audit, Social Media Goals and Objectives, and the Budget, Tactics, and Tools required to achieve them.

What are 3 social media marketing strategies? ›

10 Social-Media Marketing Strategies for Companies
  • Start using chatbots. ...
  • Create a personalized experience for your customers. ...
  • Create an efficient content marketing strategy. ...
  • Create a community for your audience. ...
  • Jazz up your profiles with a diverse content strategy. ...
  • Use brand advocates.
1 May 2017

What is new in social media marketing? ›

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are current social media trends in 2022, as brands try to offer an exciting user experience. Many e-commerce companies have adapted to AR-powered shopping, allowing users to try-on products before purchasing them.

What are the 6 types of social media marketing? ›

What Are the 6 Types of Social Media? The six types of social media, though this can be broken down in many ways, include social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites.

How can I improve my social media marketing efforts? ›

Social media marketing tips
  1. Define goals and objectives. ...
  2. Identify the target audience. ...
  3. Select the right platforms. ...
  4. Develop or align with a content strategy. ...
  5. Publish content consistently. ...
  6. Use visuals to tell a story. ...
  7. Monitor conversations and create relationships. ...
  8. Use scheduling and automation tools.
27 Oct 2021

How do I create a social media strategy for my small business? ›

Social media tips for small business
  1. Identify your social audience. ...
  2. Build relationships with engagement. ...
  3. Search social for new opportunities. ...
  4. Create a social content calendar. ...
  5. Post your content at optimal times. ...
  6. Find the best hashtags to use. ...
  7. Audit your social presence. ...
  8. Create great visuals.

What is trending right now on social media 2022? ›

Short-form videos are valued more. With the rise in popularity of TikTok and Instagram's own proclamation of valuing video, it comes as no surprise that short-form video is a social media trend in 2022. The video format of Stories now exists in some form in all the major social media platforms.

What will the biggest social media trends be in 2022? ›

The biggest anticipated changes are the rise of TikTok and short-form video content. While Instagram and Twitter will continue to be important (especially to B2B businesses), 2022 might just be the year for smaller networks like Pinterest and Snapchat. Oh, and social commerce is a must for eCommerce businesses.

What is the biggest trend right now 2022? ›

Top 10 Hottest Fashion Trends of 2022
  • Color Clashing.
  • Tractor Trek-Sole Boots.
  • Chunky Loafers.
  • Academia Style.
  • Hot Goth.
  • Y2K Fashion.
  • Wide Leg Pants.
  • Loud Logos.
13 Oct 2022

Which platform is best for advertising? ›

What Are the Best Digital Advertising Platforms?
  • 1. Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads are a great way to reach your target audience. ...
  • Google Ads. ...
  • YouTube Ads. ...
  • Bing Ads. ...
  • Amazon Ads. ...
  • Instagram Ads. ...
  • TikTok Ads. ...
  • LinkedIn Ads.

Why is social media the best marketing tool? ›

One of the main reasons social media marketing is so effective is that brands can hyper-target ideal clients based on exact demographics. Showing ads to the right individuals is a critical part of the marketing process and must be taken seriously to avoid wasted ad spend.

How social media attract target audience? ›

Contents hide
  1. Collect data on your existing customers and current social media followers.
  2. Listen to conversations about your brand and industry.
  3. Research which social channels your audience uses.
  4. Check out the competition.
  5. Don't forget about influencers!
  6. Understand what your target audience wants from your social channels.
19 Oct 2021

How social media helps businesses 2021? ›

Since social networks are so effective at increasing brand awareness, getting your brand out there, and increasing traffic to your website, it makes sense that such an impact could translate to higher sales - especially with the help of social media advertising tactics.

Does Social Media Marketing improve business performance? ›

Hubspot research social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. This data proves social media marketing critical for all brands, big or small, and especially those who are trying to increase sales revenue.

How can I advertise my restaurant for free? ›

Even if you have no budget for advertising you can implement the following free advertising ideas to grow your restaurant and fill your tables with more customers.
  1. Social Media. ...
  2. Chamber of Commerce. ...
  3. Sample Advertising. ...
  4. E-Mail Advertising. ...
  5. Fundraising Efforts. ...
  6. Reach Out To Food Bloggers. ...
  7. Go Local. ...
  8. Google My Business.

How do you announce a new restaurant? ›

Here are five of the best ways to make an exciting restaurant grand opening announcement.
  1. Email. Email is a powerful information tool you can use for prospects who have already shown interest in your business. ...
  2. Coupons. ...
  3. Grand Opening Press Release. ...
  4. Radio Advertisements. ...
  5. 5. Facebook Event.

How do restaurants generate leads? ›

How to Generate Leads for Your Restaurant
  1. #1) Collect contact information through your point-of-sale system. ...
  2. #2) Create a customer loyalty program. ...
  3. #3) Drive in-store customers to participate in contests. ...
  4. #4) Trade free WiFi for contact information. ...
  5. #5) Offer a coupon when customers land on your website.
6 Feb 2020

What makes a restaurant stand out? ›

Be A Trend-Setter

Make your restaurant stand-out by not just giving your customers what they want, but by telling them what's new, exciting, delicious, and otherwise unavailable. In order to be a trend-setter, you have to know your target customer very well and figure out what's popular in their zeitgeist.

What are the 4 types of promotion? ›

The four main tools of promotion are advertising, sales promotion, public relation and direct marketing.
  • Advertising.
  • Sales Promotion.
  • Public Relations.
  • Direct Marketing.

What is marketing plan for restaurant? ›

A restaurant marketing plan is a document that outlines and informs your marketing strategy. It typically covers topics like who your ideal customers are, how you're going to reach those customers and who your competitors are.

How do restaurants do online marketing? ›

How do restaurants do digital marketing?
  1. Create a responsive and well-designed website for your restaurant.
  2. Optimize it for local SEO.
  3. Create a social media business page on Facebook.
  4. Publish regularly engaging content both on the website and social media page.
  5. Communicate with your customer base using email marketing.
12 Aug 2020

Why is marketing important for a restaurant? ›

Restaurant marketing is incredibly important for your business because not only are you managing your existing customer base by maintaining their loyalty, but you are also increasing your brand awareness and attracting new customers.

How do you market a restaurant before opening? ›

How to build buzz for a restaurant opening
  1. Know your audience. ...
  2. Start your social media feeds early. ...
  3. Love thy neighbor. ...
  4. Host a media-focused sneak preview. ...
  5. Hit the pavement. ...
  6. Give them something to write about. ...
  7. Work your network. ...
  8. Stay on brand.

How do you attract people to a grand opening? ›

  1. Get your “story” straight. ...
  2. Start building your social media campaign in advance. ...
  3. Alert the press. ...
  4. Partner with your local Chamber of Commerce and hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony. ...
  5. Don't forget paid advertising. ...
  6. Consider holding a VIP night or soft opening. ...
  7. Offer discounts, giveaways, or sales for your grand opening.


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