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Convert Scrollers to Customers: Social Media Marketing Tactics for Restaurants

In today’s blog post, we’ll explore social media marketing tactics to convert scrollers into restaurant customers.

Ready to bring new customers into your restaurant? Then your social media marketing matters.

According to a study published in QSR Magazine:

  • 45% of U.S. diners have tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post 
  • 22% of diners said a restaurant’s social media post enticed them to return
  • 21% of diners said social media posts or negative reviews could be a deterrent to trying out a restaurant

“For restaurant marketers, it’s clear that high-quality social media content, along with active engagement practices, still has great relevance to consumers,” Ryan Goff, Executive Vice President, Social Media Marketing Director at MGH told QSR Magazine. “When done right, social content marketing can have great influence over where diners choose to spend their hard-earned money.”

For restaurant owners and operators, this makes social media marketing a critical component to success.

If you’re ready to convert hungry scrollers into restaurant customers, consider these three key social media marketing tactics:

  • Communicate with your guests
  • Focus on photos (and video!)
  • Promote positive reviews

Be up-to-the-minute

To begin, social media marketing is a critical tool for restaurant owners and operators to gain more customers because it establishes clear channels of communication that flow directly to your guest.

As we continue to adapt to a post-2020 world, many are confused about restaurant hours, openings, closures, and rules.

To solve this problem, restaurant owners and operators can help keep guests informed by ensuring all pertinent restaurant information is updated and easy to find on your social media accounts.

Moving forward, be sure your restaurant’s social media accounts feature the most updated, current information on your:

  • Address
  • Hours
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Upcoming closures
  • Current menu
  • Specials or promos
  • Information on parking
  • Information on dining and capacity rules – are you offering outdoor dining? Limited capacity indoor seating? New takeout or pickup options? Cocktails to go? 
  • New cleaning and sanitization protocols

In a post-2020 world, social media is now the fastest, easiest way to keep new and returning customers updated on key information about your restaurant.

Focus on the food

Another easy way to maximize social media marketing and convert scrollers into restaurant customers? Focus on your delicious food with beautiful photos and videos.

Research shows that well-shot food photos can increase sales of a menu item by up to 30%.

There’s an evolutionary reason why food photos and videos on social media are so essential to driving visits to your restaurant.

Representations of food trigger the same neural track the brain uses for real nutrients: The temporal lobe recognizes exactly what you’re looking at. The ­emotion-​­processing amygdala, which records and remembers your favorite snacks, decides if it’s worth the excitement. And the hypothalamus, that ancient bit of brain responsible for primal instincts such as hunger, unleashes peptides, a part of the cascade that makes you hungry,” explains Jessica Boddy in Popular Science.

Bottom line? Great food photos and videos on social media can entice a potential guest to put down the phone and order from your restaurant.

Here a few easy tips to make your restaurant’s food photos stick out on social media:

  • Keep the background simple – focus on the food and make your menu item the star of the shot
  • Use natural light – photos taken during the day, near windows, will often be the most attractive
  • Master the right angle – the best food photos are either shot low or directly overhead
  • Experiment with props – fun props like flowers, a spoon, or a spilled sugar packet can add to the story 
  • Tighter works better – the tighter the shot, or the closer up to the food, the better

Promote positive reviews

Finally, one more highly effective social media marketing tactic to draw new guests to your restaurant is to re-share great reviews and photos.

If your customers love your restaurant  there’s a good chance they’ll want to spread the word on social media with positive reviews, photos, selfies, and stories.

For restaurant owners and operators, positive social media reviews are one of the absolute best ways to organically and naturally promote your restaurant.

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, “An increase of a single star in an overall rating on review site boosts a restaurant’s revenue by 5% to 9%, according to research by Michael Luca, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.”

Positive reviews of your restaurant are the real deal: truthful opinions about the quality of your food and your customer service. If your restaurant is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of positive reviews or great photos re-share them on your own social accounts.

Re-sharing customer photos or reviews offers two big benefits. First, re-sharing reviews signals to your current guests that you appreciate their patronage. This can help to cement a positive reputation and secure a steady stream of repeat customers. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, including your guests.

Secondly, re-sharing positive social media photos and reviews on your own accounts can attract new guests to your restaurant. To make sure your restaurant is easy to find, and to max out positive reviews and re-shares, always be sure to geo-tag your location and share your location in hashtages, i.e #charlotte #charlotterestaurants #charlottefriedchicken #charlottebestmeals.

Customers love to share what they love on social media. Take advantage of the free marketing for your restaurant and re-post and re-share that love.

Now we want to hear from you: what social media marketing tactics work best for your restaurant?