If you’re a restaurant owner, you know that marketing your business is essential for success. And there’s no ideal place for that than online. But what are the best ways to market in the digital space?
Here are online marketing ideas that are sure to drive traffic to your establishment:
1. Tap Social Media and Blogging Influencers
Social media and blog influencers have a massive reach. If you can convince them to give your restaurant a visit and post about it on their Instagram feed or story, that’s good news for your business. This is especially true when they have an audience of foodies always looking for the next great place to dine at.
To tap social media and blogging influencers, find those with a large or growing following in your area. Get those that fit your niche. For example, if your restaurant is within a tourist attraction, reach out to a blogger that provides a food travel guide.
Once you’ve identified the influencers, send them an email or reach out to them on social media. In your pitch, make sure to include:
- Who you are and what your restaurant is all about
- Why you think their audience would love your food
- What kind of promotion you’re looking for (an Instagram post with a shoutout, a review, etc.)
2. Grow Your Social Media Pages
If you’re not actively promoting your restaurant on social media, you’re missing out. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you reach new customers interested in what you have to offer.
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. Post about your specials, share photos of your food and decor, and run contests and giveaways. And make sure to respond to comments and questions from followers.
Grow your social media following by using relevant hashtags (#foodporn #localcuisine), running ads targeting specific demographics (e.g., people living in your city or who have previously visited your restaurant), and partnering with other businesses in similar industries.
Don’t have time to manage all of your social media accounts? Use tools like Hootsuite that can help schedule and publish content, track who’s talking about your restaurant, and measure the success of your campaigns.
3. Build a Website
If you want your business to stay competitive in today’s digital world, make sure that you have an up-to-date website where potential customers can easily find all the information they need about your restaurant.
To build a website, choose a platform (WordPress is one of the most popular) and set it up using drag-and-drop tools like Elementor if you’re unfamiliar with coding.
Then include these important pages:
- About page
- Menu page (if applicable)
- Contact details
- Opening hours
- Location map
- Testimonials from happy customers
Update your website with news, events, and new menu items. Drive traffic to your site by optimizing it for search engines (SEO). Include keywords and phrases related to your restaurant in the content of your website.
4. Feature Your Customers
Building a community around your restaurant can do wonders for your business. When you make customers feel like they’re part of the family, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back and recommend your food to their friends.
Show appreciation and engage with your customers by featuring them on social media or in blog posts. Ask for permission first before sharing photos of them enjoying their meal at your restaurant. Or if you have an email list, send out a survey asking people what brought them to town (if you operate a tourist-oriented establishment) or how long they’ve been living there (if it’s specifically targeted toward locals).
You could also ask previous diners/customers:
- Name one item from our menu you can’t live without
- What do you love most about our restaurant?
- Why should someone new to the area visit us for the first time?
If possible, include a photo of them along with their answers. This strategy is an excellent way to connect and share stories about why they love your business.
5. Create and Post Diverse Types of Content
To keep people interested in what you have to offer, post a variety of content on your social media and blog pages. It will help show potential customers that you’re an expert in the food industry and that you’re always changing things up.
Some ideas for types of content to post:
- Photos of food preparation or plating
- Customer reviews
- Recipes (useful for restaurants with catering services)
- Tips for dining out healthy/eating vegan/etc.
- Blog posts about local events or attractions
- Behind-the-scenes looks at your restaurant
- Interviews with team members or chefs
- Food videos (tutorials, taste tests, etc.)
- Special promotions or deals
- Upcoming events/activities at your restaurant
Try to keep all of these posts under 300 words (with the exception of blog content) to make them easier to digest. Don’t forget about using hashtags too to ensure your posts reach more potential customers.
The competition for restaurant marketing is fierce, but with the right online marketing plan in place, you can attract new customers without breaking the bank.