Restaurant Social Media Marketing

An introduction to social media marketing for restaurants.

for Restaurants

Remarkablism Services Corp. © 2023

We get it.

Social media marketing is likely an afterthought considering everything else you have to accomplish on a day-to-day basis. Not only do you need to ensure that your business runs smoothly, but you also need to make sure that your front-of-house and back-of-house employees are doing what they should be doing. Not to mention the fact that you need to regularly check in on your customers to make sure that they’re having a great experience. With that being said, social media is more important than ever in the restaurant industry. When customers want to learn more about the quality of a restaurant, they often go to Facebook or Instagram to scope it out. If you have very little or (worse) no presence at all on social media, then odds are that your potential customers may choose another location. With that being said, there are absolutely ways to be present and excel on social media without spending all of your time on it. The following few pages go over some of the things you can do to grow your presence on social media, and work on your social media marketing strategy. We’ve decided to present this content in an easy-to-read, conversational format since social media, by its name and nature, is social. Keep in mind that while these tips are useful, social media is always changing. With that in mind, make sure to always check what works best for you and your brand. We’ve largely covered Facebook and Instagram in the following guide rather than delving into other platforms. However, many of the general concepts presented in this guide are useful for all social media platforms, and can be applied more generally.



Getting Started



you may already know a lot of what’s covered in this section. However, you’ll likely still pick up some insights that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. You’re likely familiar enough with Facebook and Instagram to know that you have a main page that your potential customers see. On Facebook, you have a banner and profile image. On Instagram, you have a profile image and short description. You likely already know that you should include your logo as your profile image and should include a high-quality image as your banner (sized appropriately, of course). It’s normally a great idea to feature your restaurant in some capacity on the banner, so that customers can get a good idea of what you can offer. When it comes to setting up the description of your page on both Facebook and Instagram, it’s important to define your restaurant. Don’t bother with descriptions such as “fresh ingredients, “good food,” and “high-quality service.” Of course you’re going to provide those things (at least, the customer hopes you are). In order to make yourself stand out from the crowd of other restaurants in your area, you want to think of how you can create a description that defines your location. If you’re relatively familiar with social media,


As an example,

Alternatively, you may be a seafood shack on the shoreline that prides itself on being in business for over 40 years. Your description may instead be:

if you own a bar that serves high-quality cocktails in a speakeasy-type atmosphere, you may want the description to be:

Shh… don’t tell anyone else. We’re Connecticut’s only speakeasy and lounge. Can you keep the secret?

We remember when your parents used to visit. Stop by Connecticut's oldest seafood restaurant.

These descriptions are catchy, eye-grabbing, and immediately tell your audience what sort of establishment you have. What you want to avoid are descriptions that are only a few lines and don’t define you, such as “good food and good drinks in a relaxed setting.” Instead, take some time to consider what really makes you stand out from everyone else. Of course, you may be wondering where your audience finds out more details about your restaurant if you don’t describe it on social media. The answer to that is your website. Always make sure to link your website to your social media (and update that link if you switch domain names). It’s relatively easy to set up a website for a low cost, so don’t just rely on social media to be your main web presence.


Next Steps


(or have tweaked them to better reflect your restaurant), let’s chat about posting. The fact of the matter is that there’s no “best time” for everyone to post. There’s no magic number that you can tap into. Instead, you need to post when it’s best for your audience. A good idea is when you first begin, post strategically on different days of the week and at different times each day. That way, you can get a sense of when your audience is most active and what posts do the best. That way you can eventually key in on the times of day and the days of the week when it’s best to post your content. The fact is that the “best” time to post differs depending on your business and your audience. With that in mind, you need to find the right time to post for you. Now that you’ve created your pages...


When it comes to how often to post,

You want to aim for at least 3 posts per week. Four posts is even better, but you want to avoid posting multiple times in one day. When it comes to stories, feel free to aim for at least 3 stories per day (if you can). That way, you have an ongoing series of pictures that your potential customers can look through. It also helps lean into FOMO (fear of missing out), if you present people having fun in your establishment in your stories. Since you’re busy running your business, you’ll also want to use a scheduler for your posts. That way, even if you get caught up with something, the posts you have will still go out on social media. This does mean spending some time either each week or each month to schedule out your posts – but it will absolutely help you in the long run. There are a ton of free schedulers online, or you can schedule things right through your Facebook as long as you link it to your Instagram.



Now that you’ve read through the basics, we’re going to go over content creation. Content creation is getting raw resources, such as pictures and videos, and then creating something from them to place on social media. Content creation doesn’t need to take up a lot of your time, but it absolutely helps if you can get some assistance from either staff members, or others who help you with your business.

Make sure to take a couple hours each week to take pictures and film some video. You don’t need to get special equipment for this. Instead, use your smartphone. Most newer smartphones will automatically stabilize your video, and will even auto-brighten pictures when you take them in a darker space. By snapping 20 pictures and some video in one or two hours, you’ll gain enough content to schedule out for about a month. If you want to improve your photo and video, there are many attachments available online and in store, such as cell phone stands, stabilities, lenses, and other items that can help improve your shots. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that the photos and videos that you’re taking are decent quality-wise in terms of angle and focus. There are many resources available online when it comes to learning how to take good photos and videos - or you can choose to hire a professional to do it for you. Another option is keeping an eye on your staff members and seeing if any of them are great at taking photos and video. As long as they agree, you can have them take a couple hours away from their normal duties and instead focus on taking photos and videos that they can upload to a Google Drive for you to use later.


you want to make sure that they’re presentable to post online. Crop photos, edit video clips, and make sure that they look professional. With that being said, you also don’t want to edit them to the point where they don’t look authentic. Too many graphics will make your audience assume that your content isn’t actually from the restaurant - or is so highly edited that it doesn’t accurately represent your establishment. Finally, when you post your content, you want to be sure that you create captions that are informative and authentic. Anyone can post a picture of a cocktail with a caption, “Drinks are half off all night! Make sure to grab something delicious.” Instead, think of how you can take that picture and deliver information to your audience. After you have these raw materials,

As an example, you can instead post a caption along the lines of:

Our bartender, Lisa, recently mixed up this drink to go out to one of our regulars. It combines hibiscus simple syrup with lime juice, ghost tequila, and some special ingredients to create a drink that’s our own, special twist on a margarita. We call it ‘Give up the Ghost,’ and we currently have it on the menu as one of our summer specials. Make sure to stop in and let us know what you think of it. Should we keep it on the menu all year long? As you can see, the caption provides information not just about the drink, but also about your bartender. It seems real and authentic, unlike the other post that delivers little to no information about the drink and the story behind it.



Now that we’ve covered content creation and the basics of when you should post, we’re going to cover how to engage your audience. If the Internet is a city, then social media is a bit like a cocktail party. People visit social media to be, well, social. If someone at a cocktail party were to walk up to you and talk only about themselves, and then say you should buy things from them, how would you react? You likely wouldn’t buy anything from them, and would likely seek someone else to chat with at the party. With that in mind, you want to make sure that you engage your audience online, and partially make it about them. Food photos are great, but also show your customers and the fun time they’re having. Share moments in your restaurant, and give your fans recommendations on which food pairs best with which drink.

Not only that, but you should always spend some time each morning (or evening) responding to comments on your posts.

As an example, if someone comments on your post with,

I love going here with my family! John

Then instead of commenting with “Great!” try to respond more in depth. Depending on the brand, you may want to respond with,

That’s amazing to hear! What does your family like most about our place? We love hearing stories. You

By keeping the conversation going, you’re not only interacting with your audience, but you’re also helping with the reach of your post. Similarly, if there’s a negative comment, then make sure you don’t ignore it. Instead, gather information about what happened, and then respond in a quick and polite manner.


Pretend you are doing social media for a high-end cocktail lounge. People go there to get drinks in a refined atmosphere. Let’s look at an example

With that in mind you reply with,


I’m sorry to hear your experience wasn’t what you hoped. But when you walked in, our staff could clearly see you had already been drinking. We unfortunately weren’t legally allowed to serve you more alcohol because of that. When you shouted at our bartender and began to disturb other guests, we had to escort you from the bar. We pride ourselves on being ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen – and expect as much respect as we give. With that in mind, we ask that you please avoid our establishment in the future if you plan to enter while drunk.

You recently posted a picture of one of the cocktails on social media, and someone commented with,

This reply gives the full story of what happened - and allows you to address a negative situation. Similarly, there may be instances when someone had a bad experience due to staff negligence. Always find out the full story and, if necessary, offer to do right by your customer by offering them a drink on the house - or some other perk if you or your staff were the ones at fault. If you don’t respond to a negative comment in a timely manner, then other guests (and potential guests) who follow your social media may make assumptions about your restaurant that may reflect negatively on your business. With that in mind, always take some time to check social media each day so you can respond quickly.

Overpriced drinks and terrible service! Never going back here. John

After speaking to your bartender, you know the person that commented was asked to leave because they had been drinking before getting to the location, and were very drunk. This meant your bartender couldn’t legally serve them.


ONLINE Marketing

we’re going to go into more detail about using it to market to your guests online. Keep in mind that when it comes to marketing, you still want to be subtle. As we mentioned above, no one wants to chat with someone who yells at them to buy things over and over. Instead, you need to sell your guests a story - a story that they want to be part of. When marketing online, you can absolutely mention promotions, special offers, and other items. However, you want to do it in a way that’s clever or engaging. Show your audience the fun they can have. Feature guests, reviews, and even share recipes. Do sneak peaks of things you have planned, and make sure to mention special events that are coming up. Give your audience content that they’ll follow you for - don’t just sell at them. With that in mind, there are also paid advertisements. Whenever you decide to do an ad, it’s always great to do a side-by-side comparison (in fact, Facebook works that in as an option, and it’s something we highly recommend). This is when you run two ads in tandem, and see which one performs the best. In this way, you can learn more about which ads appeal to your audience in the future. Now that we’ve covered the basics of social media,


Great question. When you’re creating an ad, you want to make sure that it leads the audience back to your page. If you’re sharing a drink or a food recipe, make sure to mention that they should follow you for more content - or should stop in and try it for themselves. Short videos are great for ads, and if you can show people having a fun time and show off your restaurant in the best light, then you’re more likely to have people engage with it. Keep in mind that when you do a paid ad, it’s going to reach people that may not normally follow your content or your page. That’s why you want to keep things a bit more general rather than aiming for a niche post. In addition, when creating your ad you should make sure to target your audience. More isn’t always better - especially when it comes to restaurants and bar. It’s great that someone in California is following your page, but that’s not going to do you any good if your restaurant is in Connecticut. Instead, make sure you have a target audience that is local to your area. That way, people who see your ad and engage with it are the same people who have the possibility of visiting your establishment in the near future. So what exactly should you use as a paid ad?


ON SOCIAL MEDIA Finishing Last Notes

While all of the tips above will help you on social media, It’s important to remember that social media is always changing. What may be true one day may completely change. As an example, right now, reels on Instagram receive a higher reach. However, that may not be the case in a month – or even tomorrow. With that in mind, it’s important to remember to stay up to date with the latest trends and how the algorithm works. Of course, there are some things that remain the same. Creating engaging and useful content for your audience will always be in style, no matter how the algorithm changes. This leans into organic growth, which naturally grows your audience over time. There are some final notes that we want to leave you with, as well. When posting on social media, always consider who your audience is - and make sure that audience is defined. Make sure to post in a way that’s engaging rather than “sales-like,” and always create content that looks (objectively) good.


We also want

to leave you with some further resources that go into social media marketing more in depth. The following books are a good starting point, but there are absolutely more resources out there for you to read that we haven’t listed:

Social Media Marketing for Beginners 2023 by Jonathan Page

The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

The New Rules of Marketing and PR (8th Edition) by David Meerman Scott


That this pamphlet will help you with your marketing strategies on social media. If you ever have any questions or simply want to chat about the content in here, feel free to reach out. We’re more than happy to come up with some ideas for you, or discuss the latest in social media marketing. HOPE We

You can reach us Monday – Friday

Tel: 203-639-2391


We hope to hear from you soon. And in the meantime, happy marketing!

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