How your restaurant can use social media to connect with customers

Drive engagement

If your restaurant can connect with customers on social media – especially the under-35 demographic – it can achieve great results that more than justify the effort. This post explores how to use social media to engage with customers, bring them in your restaurant, and impact your bottom line.

Your restaurant can connect with people on social media by posting creative content that’s engaging, and authentic, by being responsive and available to their needs and feedback. Make customers want to visit your restaurant. Show off what you’re all about by bringing them into your place. Here’s how:

  1. Tell your story
  2. Visually appealing
  3. Be authentic
  4. Post user-generated content
  5. Support a cause and showcase your values
  6. Engage with your customers online

1. Tell your story

The first way your restaurant can connect with patrons on social media is to tell your story across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tell your audience who you are, what you care about, why you started the business and why you’re proud to serve your community. Digital customers get bought in to restaurants when they know the who, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Who: Who are you as the owner? Why did you start the business? What is your personality and how is that reflected in the business? What do you care about?
  • What: What is the vibe of your restaurant? Is it family-friendly? What food is being served? What ingredients are being used and where do they come from?
  • When: When did you get started? Why was that the time you decided to build your business?
  • Where: Where is your business located and why do you love your city and/or neighbourhood?
  • Why: Why are you proud to serve the community you’re in? Why do you work hard every day for this business?
  • How: How do you do what you do every day? How do you benefit the community? Do you give back to charitable or community organisations?

2. Visually appealing

Want to get your customers really excited about your restaurant? Post photos of the awesome meal they’ll have when they stop by. Posting images that take into account elements like framing, lighting, focus and (of course) your offerings is a fantastic way to boost your brand and your services. Always use natural light and try different angles – your plates might look great from above.

You can highlight any new dishes or specials that your restaurant is offering, put a spotlight on the classics that you do best, and show off customer favourites. You can also see if your customers are tagging your business or using hashtags including your business name on Instagram, and reshare their content.

3. Be authentic

Authenticity is extremely important to discerning consumers. Your restaurant can connect with people on social media by being uniquely you. This means that your voice can be more conversational and genuine. Some content can even be less polished and professional, more real and true-to-life.

Using Instagram Stories is a great way to be authentic and genuine online. @Noblecoffee used Instagram to make their audience almost smell that perfect coffee and taste that delicious English muffin. This was done easily by using a visually appealing feed to speak to all your senses.

By adding interesting text, stickers and gifs, their story can connect with customers because it makes their brand seem light-hearted, fun and real. They’re showing that they’re willing to let their customers in on what’s happening at their business.

4. Post user-generated content

Taking a look at what other users are posting about your restaurant on Instagram is a great way to share engaging posts on your feed. Plus, many people love it. Seeing their peers post photos of a business makes them more likely to give it a try. After all, today’s younger generation trusts online reviews and testimonials.

User-generated content on social media is a fast and easy way to show off customer testimonials. They’re sharing their experience at your restaurant, and you’re sharing that experience with your followers.

5. Support a cause and showcase your values 

Today’s customers want to align themselves with organisations that are making a positive impact on their local communities, on the country and on the world. Giving back is important to them. It’s a big part of how they choose where they work and how they live their lives.

Your restaurant can connect with people on social media by supporting a cause. A good place to start is with an organisation trying to make a difference in your local community, such as a homeless shelter or the local children’s team from the soccer club.

6. Engage with your customers online

You can connect with people on social media by being responsive to all of your customer comments, questions and posts. Since they value brands that are responsive to feedback, it’s a great way to build relationships with your younger fanbase.

It can be simple – just acknowledging a user’s comment can influence whether or not they might want to come back, and it can show any new visitors to your page how much you love your customers.

Use these strategic tips to connect with customers on social media and turn them into loyal fans of your restaurant, today!

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Caroline Barker is a Brand and Communications Manager at GoDaddy in Austin, TX. She oversees the branding, social media, and digital marketing strategies for Main Street Hub, a GoDaddy company. Her work has been published in POLITICO, Mic, Allure, Small Business Trends, Business C2 Community, and The Self Employed. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.