Do you own, or do marketing for, a restaurants and hotels? Do you want to know how to use social media to market your restaurants and hotels?

It’s a common problem – restaurants want to be engaging with their clientele; they want to use social tools to get more patrons walking through their doors – but they just don’t know how. Adding social media to your marketing mix can hugely increase awareness about your restaurant, generate motivated engagement with your food, and get you more customers in your door.

Tactics and tips for using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to drive more customers to your Restaurants and Hotels.

#1: Think Like Your Customer :

if you’ve been promoting your restaurant for a while, this should be pretty obvious. One of the first steps in successful marketing is to know who you’re communicating with. This is particularly true in social media. Think like your customer, and about why they would want to visit you. Create a tone for your social media based on this.

If you want your place to be known as the neighborhood hangout – create a tone (or even character) that you’ll consistently use across all of your social media platforms. Post in a friendly, neighborly tone. You could, for example, have a long-term waitress or barman be the face of your social media.

If you want to be known for your great food – create your social media postings around your chef (or someone posing as your chef!). Think about your customer as you plan out your restaurant social media strategy.

Digital marketing  for Restaurants and hotels #2: Facebook Marketing :

Facebook provides an incredible opportunity for dining establishments to connect with their clientele. You’d be hard pressed to find a patron of yours who is not on this site – and most of them are checking their updates a few times a day.

Facebook is a place where people go to ‘hangout’ with friends. That’s why they go out to eat too, right? Here are seven tips to use Facebook in your marketing

1. Cover image :

Make sure you take full advantage of your cover image. You have 851×351 pixels to market your business for free. Include delicious photos of your food, or people having a good time enjoying a meal with friends. You could change your cover image whenever you have a menu change, and market the new items or specials.

facebook coverphoto

2.Facebook Page Tabs: 

Use tabs on your Facebook Page to entice people to visit your eatery. The first four tabs in particular are key – these are the tabs that show up on your front page (without clicking to open them all). You can see how effectively uses these. Their first four tabs are: photos of food; locations; food deals; and featured menu items. They are thinking like their customer, and giving them the images and information a patron would want.

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3. Use lots of photos of your food : 

The most shared posts on Facebook are images. You’re in the business of food, and food is extremely visual. Be sure to include lots of images of your food in your regular Facebook updates. _You could even create a look book of your current menu items.

4. Exclusive offers and group deals :

Post exclusive offers on your Facebook Page. Give deals to patrons if they “like” your Page. Givegroup deals (using a third party app, as per Facebook rules), to entice your Fans to share your deal with their friends – and get those friends to become Fans of your Page too.

A group deal can lead to immediate foot traffic for your establishment too!

5. Contests and sweepstakes : 

Use social sweepstakes and contests on your Facebook Page. These social promotions add excitement, and a great reason to get your customers coming back to both your Facebook Page, and your restaurant.

Here’s an example from a client using geo-targeted sweepstakes through Facebook to successfully generate awareness of their newly renovated digs, and their brand new menu.

6. Geo target your ads: 

Facebook ads let you do all kinds of very specific, niche targeting. For restaurants and diners, this is ideal. You can target your ads to be seen only by Facebookers in your particular geographic location. You can also target your ads to be seen by those with specific likes, and by those who like certain pages.

Note: You can also geo tag your posts. If you have a chain of restaurants, for example, use this feature to show images or updates from your various locations.

abhishek entprise geo location

Social Media Marketing for Restaurants #3: Instagram Marketing

Instagram is a hugely popular photo sharing platform. With its seamless integration with Facebook, it’s used about 95% of the time when your patrons are posting images to their Facebook friends. You can use Instagram in conjunction with your Facebook tactics, or you can use the site on its own. Here are seven tips for Instagram marketing, on its own:

Use hashtags: Hashtags are huge on Instagram. They’re very prevalent and relevant. Let’s outline three main tactics to employ when using hashtags on Instagram (or any social site).

  1. Use trending hashtags :

    To increase awareness about both your Instagram profile and your restaurant, include relevant trending hashtags. For example, if it happens to be #cheesecakeday , and your culinary delights include cheesecake, post a scrumptious photo of that dish.

  2. Use campaign specific hashtags :

    When you’re running a particular marketing campaign (such as acontest or group offer), create a tag just for that promotion. This lets your followers – and anyone else – engage with your campaign by using your hashtag in their posts, too.

  3. Photos of menu items :

    Instagram is a site of photos. Use this opportunity to post delicious photos of your menu items.

  4. Engage with menu items :

    Take photos of you menu one step further – get your customers to upload their favourite items, to help build your menu of images on the platform.

Digital marketing for Hotels #4: Twitter Marketing :

Twitter is a very successful marketing tool for restaurants, both large and small and from high end to fast food (including street trucks). With only 140 characters per update, tweets get read, and shared at a phenomenal, immediate rate. Twitter is also used a lot through mobile.

How can you best promote your culinary delights on this site? Here are seven tips for your restaurant Twitter marketing.

  1. Include a link to your menu:

    Include links in your tweets. This gives your followers further action to take, and lets them interact with your more. Include a link to your menu, so your Followers can make an easy choice of dining with you. _Tip: This is especially great if you deliver!

  1. Include images of your food: 

    Although Twitter is a text based site, updates with photos in them get shared, canget you more followers on Twitter, and can drive traffic into your establishment.

  2. Group offers:

    Promoting your establishment through coupons and discounts has long been a part of successful marketing. Add in a social element, and make it agroup deal- and you could have a viral campaign on your hands. You could, for example, run a group offer for a free appetizer. This will encourage your patrons to share your group offer tweet to their friends – and it will drive people into your eatery.

  3. Hashtags: 

    Hashtags are very popular on Twitter too. Include them in your updates. Use similar tactics to the ones mentioned above with Intstagram. Tip: You don’t want too many (given the character constraints on this platform – and you want to leave room in your tweets to get RT’s and shares with @mentions – so a friend can send your tweet to a friend).

  4. Time your tweets :  

    Send out tweets close to breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. Unlike Facebook, your tweets will show up in Followers’ feeds immediately as you send them. Invite your followers to join you for your special deal for Twitter followers. And use hashtags for the meal times, like #lunch or #dinner. It makes it even easier to find you on a Twitter search.Remember: think like your customer!

  5. Use Promoted tweets :  

    Choose your best tweets, and pay to promote them to a targeted audience. This is particularly effective for your timed updates being sent out around meal times. Check out  cleverly uses this tactic to promote their daily lunch specials.

  6. Geo-target your ads:

    The only problem with tweet, above, is that they are located in Tennessee, and I am not. It is incredibly important to geo-target your ads on Twitter. If your place of dining is located in Seattle – make sure you check off the geo-targeting location of Seattle when you are paying for your promoted tweets.

Getting your message to the right patrons in the right location is particularly true for your mobile users. You might just reach your customers as they are walking by your door!