Social media is a great tool to grow your restaurant business, but the results you get will depend on how well you use it. When it comes to social media marketing for restaurants, the options for these social platforms are nearly limitless—but not all efforts yield the same results.

For restaurant owners, this can feel a bit overwhelming. What should you post? How often? Which platform should you prioritize?

Here are the answers. To get the most value out of this marketing tool, use the following social media strategies for restaurants.

1. Focus your efforts

As a restaurant owner, you have limited time and resources and need to use them wisely. So, choose one social media platform and do it well. You’ll achieve greater impact with stellar use of one platform than with mediocre use of all of them.

Do some research to discover which platform your audience uses most and tailor your content appropriately. Keep in mind that you can still reuse your content on other platforms if you’d like, but don’t try to create unique strategies for multiple platforms and generate original content for each. Design your posts with your main outlet in mind and think of any other exposure you get on other platforms as a bonus.

2. Adopt a unique visual style

Social media marketing for restaurants should involve images of food. But images—particularly those of food—are abundant on social media feeds. You need to make yours stand out to engage your audience. An effective way to do this is to create a unique visual style.

This might involve a specific color scheme or incorporation of your restaurant logo. Create something that “pops” and will make thumbs pause as they scroll through a social media feed.

To develop your style, consider hiring a graphic designer. DIY is also an option with affordable tools like Canva. As you create, keep in mind that the style needs to look good in a social media feed, not just as a stand-alone design. 

As you use this style consistently, viewers will become familiar with your branding, which further enhances your public engagement.

3. Use video—and more video

While images are key, no social media marketing for restaurants is complete without video. Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a professional production crew to create social media videos with impact. You simply need short, vertical videos shot on your smartphone. That’s what’s trending, and that’s what will get your restaurant the attention it deserves.

Of course, you can’t just post any video and expect it to engage your audience. To get started with video for your restaurant’s social media, use these tips:

  • Use a tripod for stationary content.
  • Film in natural light if possible.
  • Lead with an attention grabber. For example, if your video is a cooking demonstration, start with a preview of the completed dish.
  • Don’t be afraid to include yourself in the videos. It’s good to connect personally with your audience.
  • For video topics, consider “behind the scenes,” “how to make X at home,” recurring video series, and seasonal-related videos.

4. Post consistently

Posting consistently is key to growing your audience. Aim to publish at least three posts per week via social media marketing for your restaurant. To keep this momentum going, consider tapping employees to contribute content or ideas.

We recommend setting aside some time at the beginning of each month to create and schedule content. That way you get it done and out the way early and don’t need to worry about it every week.

5. Start a conversation

Social media marketing for restaurants is about more than simply filling the internet with your posts. It’s about engaging people with your brand. When you post, consider how you can start a conversation with your audience. Get them to interact with you in some way. This makes your posts more memorable and enjoyable. It also lets them know you’re listening.

Try asking questions, creating a poll, or running a contest. This will increase your chances of capturing their attention rather than scrolling by.

6. Combine forces

You don’t have to tackle your restaurant marketing on social media alone. Tap into the resources available to you. Consider partnering with a social media influencer. Host a local celebrity. Ask employees to contribute posts. Reach out to another local restaurant or bar to team up for a double offer or a contest. Your combined efforts can create a synergy that enhances your impact.

Trending topics are another resource to keep in mind. What’s popular right now? What are people searching for? Incorporate news stories, pop culture references, or seasonal themes to increase your engagement.

7. Grab email addresses

One goal of social media marketing for restaurants is to develop an email subscriber list. You can use your social media posts to encourage viewers and followers to sign up with their email. Once you have them on your list, you can engage them with email blasts about promotions, menu changes, and other topics to maintain the relationship and keep them coming back for more.

To get email addresses, offer an incentive for signing up. This might be a percentage-off coupon, free appetizer, or free delivery for their next order.

8. Be responsive

Successful social media for restaurants requires responding to your viewers. Interact with your followers consistently. Respond to all reviews—both good and bad. Reply to their comments. Answer direct messages.

Your response lets your audience know they are important to you. It gives you the opportunity to fix a bad experience or further encourage a positive one. Remember, social media marketing for restaurants is an interactive experience. Done correctly, it is dynamic, exciting, and engaging for your audience.

9. Stay current

It’s great to pre-plan your posts, but make sure your information is always current and accurate. If you update your menu, for example, make sure your social media content reflects any changes. Having incorrect information out there is frustrating for your audience. Don’t confuse anyone with outdated posts. And when you do make changes, use the opportunity to announce them on your page.

10. Share user-generated content

Did someone post a picture of their meal at your restaurant? Reuse it with their permission. If someone tags you or mentions you, this is a great opportunity for free publicity. Share their post! You can take advantage of user-generated content in several ways:

  • Re-share photos
  • Ask for video testimonials
  • Share feedback or other positive reviews from users

Ready to get started?

Whether you’ve been in the restaurant business for years or are just about to open your doors, paying attention to your approach to social media marketing for restaurants is key to your success. You now have 10 key strategies to apply to your efforts. Get started today!

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