We at Cambie + Co. have been lucky enough to be working closely with a very exciting startup restaurant here in Newcastle, launching early Summer 2018. Working with a restaurant during this crucial period of their launch has given us a clear understanding of how to promote an upcoming restaurant in the most exciting, impactful way online!
The team working on this exciting startup restaurant consisted of our Director, Alex, and Social Media Marketing Whizz/Creator of Amazing Content, Siobhan. Here are some quick-fire tips they have based on the experience…
Based on our latest experiences, we decided to put together a quick guide for startup or established restaurants looking to increase table bookings, improve your brand awareness, and drive footfall to your restaurant. After all, every foodie loves a good story. Why not give it to them?
Where can we find your next customer?
Depending on whether you are starting up or have been doing business for a while, you may have a dedicated marketing manager, or you may be doing it all yourself. For startup restaurants, it tends to be the latter. In which case, it is best to stick to 2 platforms, to begin with. You are better off focusing on 2 platforms and creating amazing content consistently on them, than spreading yourself too thin over 3 or 4 and creating mediocre, sporadic content. For restaurants, the two magic platforms tend to be Facebook and Instagram. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t try Twitter or Youtube, for example – it just depends on where your customers are hanging out!
For the upcoming restaurant we have been marketing, we decided to use Facebook and Instagram. As the restaurant hasn’t opened yet, we wanted to discover who the audience was going to be, and so took advantage of the wide demographic on Facebook to see which audience would show the most interest. We used Instagram to promote the visual nature of the restaurant – the construction, the beautiful street it’s situated on, the surrounding location, images of where the food was from, and graphics.
Decide on your platforms based on your audience – are they in a younger demographic, and hanging out on Instagram? Or are they at retirement age, and more likely to be found on Facebook where they connect with family? Or maybe Twitter, where you can target millennials and other businesses for collaborations.
Fill out your Facebook profile.
If you are using Facebook, which is highly recommended for restaurants or foodie businesses, then it’s important to make the most of what Facebook has to offer for businesses (which is a lot). First of all, switch your Facebook Page template over to a Restaurant template, which comes with all the tabs you need. Simply go to your Facebook Page, ‘Settings’, ‘Edit Page’, and then click ‘Edit’ under ‘Templates’, and select the ‘Restaurants & Cafes’ template.
Firstly, give your restaurant a story. On the homepage of your Facebook page, you should see a Story option down the right-hand side. Think about how the restaurant was founded and when, who founded it and why, and what values you have. For example: “We are an Italian restaurant opened by an Italian family who moved to London and decided to create a little piece of Italy in a big city. They missed the authentic, Italian vibe of restaurants back
home, and so made it their mission to create a truly authentic experience here in London. Our most popular dish is a secret family recipe, that has been passed down over 5 generations and into our hands, and we can’t wait to share the true taste of Italy with you.”
You may not have Italian parents or a 300-year-old family recipe to share, and that’s okay too! Focus on what you want to give your customers – it may be as simple as “Bringing the classic American hot dog with an exciting twist to Newcastle’s Quayside.” Every business has a story, no matter how big or small it may be.
Keep your customer in one place – instead of them having to call you up or find your website to read the menu, why not just include it on your Facebook page? On the left-hand side, click ‘About’, and then scroll down and under ‘More Info’ you can ‘Add Menu’. Also be sure to check that your restaurant address is on there, as well as all your contact details (phone number, email address, and website). Lastly, fill in any extra details in the ‘About’ area including the type of cuisine you serve, services you offer (table service, table reservations, etc.), and the attire (casual/dressy). These little extras make your Facebook page truly stand out from the crowd!
Create content that reflects what you stand for.
Yes, you do stand for something, even if it isn’t gender equality or the right to have pineapple on pizza. It may be as simple as cooking your burgers in a very specific way or always serving your pasta with the most amazing, homemade olive oil on the side. It could also be giving your customers an all-around incredible experience, from the moment they find you on social media to the moment they leave a review after their visit.
What do you stand for? What are you actually about?
It’s very important to show off your food in a range of ways online, as this is the product you are selling. If you have the budget, invest in a professional photographer to take high-quality images of your food in context. For example, if you’re a rustic-style pub, have the pictures taken on an oak table background. If you’re a street food company, use an urban background in your pictures. You could also go a step further and have pictures taken of the food being made, or even a video demonstrating how it is made from scratch. This is particularly powerful if it is your own recipe!
However, although food is unarguably the most important factor here, it’s also vital that you position yourself in a way that your competitors aren’t. This can be done through storytelling, behind-the-scenes, and thinking bigger picture. If you value your staff and put your service at the heart of everything you do, then have a staff feature every week or month. Interview your customers on camera to hear their experience of your restaurant, and share that with the world. If you launched an African restaurant because you believe that African cuisine isn’t prevalent enough in the UK, then talk about that and talk about why it should be tried more and talked about more.
Don’t be afraid to be edgy. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and stand out. The ones that do are the restaurants that will succeed on social media.
It’s 2018, not 2017.
Make the most of the new, exciting, jazzy features social media has to offer! They may be a pain to figure out at first (who else has gone Live by accident before??), but it’s so worth it when you see the benefit they bring. Facebook rolls out new features all the time, and when you use them to create content, you will undoubtedly be prioritised on the news feed. For example, when you go Live on Instagram, all of your followers get an alert to tell them that you are live. You can also use 360-degree images to show off the amazing interior or your restaurant (especially on a busy night!), and carousels and canvases to tell different stories about your restaurant.
Lastly, use your reviews. They are a form of social proof and can bring great benefits to your restaurant. If someone leaves a great review, thank them and share it! They may not leave a review in the traditional sense of Facebook Reviews – they may take a picture of their food and post it on Instagram, talking about how great it is. This is when social media listening comes in – you need to monitor your mentions and hashtags to make sure you don’t miss anything. Repost their photo and tag them in it, and they will thank you for it by making another visit to your restaurant.
We hope these tips have given you some inspiration and assistance in promoting your restaurant on social media. If you are looking for an extra pair of hands, advice, or an extension of your team for social media marketing, get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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