The good news is that social media consumption and engagement is still increasing. As many diners spend more time at home due to the increase in living costs, they are more likely to engage with brands on social media. Sprout social data indicates that 73% of UK and Irish consumers have increased their social media usage in the past two years. The data also states that not responding in a timely fashion on social drives over a third (35%) of consumers to choose a competitor instead.
Get The Basics Right
Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the basics right. If you’re pretty well-established on social media, then great! Scroll down this page for advice and guidance on how to drive engagement.
If you’re less au fait with the inner workings of the main social players, or even question why you should use social media at all, then we’ve got you covered.
Why use social media?
- Why not?! There are over billion daily users on Facebook alone, with people sharing, posting and liking all manner of content.
- From snapping their meals to leaving reviews, consumer endorsement and advocacy via social can be really powerful. So if you want to grow your customer base, social media is sure to give you that added reach.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: How do I make the most out of each platform?
- Firstly, consider whether it’s worth your while having a business profile on each of the main social platforms. Do you have the resource to manage and regularly update all 3 channels? If not, prioritise one or two based on the type of content you’re willing and able to create, your audience demographic and your business objectives.
- Take the time to understand each platform and tailor your content accordingly, using the language and tone most suited to each. Facebook is casual and informative; use strong images and hashtags on Instagram; and keep it brief on Twitter.
Build Trust & Engage Your Customers
When it comes to eating and drinking out, diners are going to carefully select where they spend their precious Euros. Invest the time to build strong relationships with customers via social media and this will help to ensure that your business will be considered first.
Building trust through transparency is key here. For example, be clear with your customers around how you're managing pricing and inflationary pressures. They will understand if prices have to go up - but telling them how, where are why you're increasing your prices will make a positive difference to how they perceive you.
Don’t Forget About the Food
You might be competing for custom from those wanting delivery or take-out as well as those dining in, so ensuring your dishes are visually appealing and therefore attention-grabbing is important.
- Consumers opting for delivery usually do so in order to experience restaurant-quality food at home, so if you’re marketing your offer using social media be sure your dishes look the part.
- Keep to your own house style – this isn’t about being something you’re not – but aim for the best quality photography you can manage. Check out our guide to perfecting your food photography for support on this.
Plant-based eatery Clean Bean, Seaham, uses well-lit imagery to showcase the vibrancy of their takeaway menu:
User Generated Content is Your Friend
Use customer-created content to drive advocacy and footfall.
- Reviews via social media should be encouraged and could really help to bolster footfall. Simply having a Facebook page set up could mean that your loyal customers can mention your business when recommending their favourite places to their friends.
- Why not make a weekly habit of re-posting your positive reviews? You might be surprised at the level of quality photography some of your customers can achieve with their own smartphones. That way, customers will be consistently reinforced about your brand and your social media timelines will be full of great content. Your customer will feel special – and you get free quality photography! Just be sure to credit the original photographer.
- Be creative in how you use user-generated content. For instance, if you're looking for some feedback on a new dish or rejuvenated menu staple, why not use social media? It could be as easy as posting a photo with the caption 'what are your thoughts on the new special?' Happy customers will often be much more vocal than you'd expect if given some encouragement.
We love how independent Italian eatery Sugo Pasta Kitchen uses customer photos to engage with their following whilst they’re closed for business:
Join the Conversation
If someone gives you a great review on any of your social media pages, then it's a nice touch to say thank you. Taking a couple of seconds to respond will go a long way, and it'll highlight the review to the rest of your audience.