Restaurant Social Media Marketing

Are you a restaurant owner or manager?  What if I told you that you could have your restaurant full every day for just about $20/day?  Would you be willing to spend that?  If not, this article is not for you.  But I’m sure $20/day is worth a try, right?  Ok, let’s see how we’re going to make this happen.

We’re going to use these two new marketing channels that few people know about. It’s called Facebook and Instagram, oh yeah, I forgot, they have about 2 billion users…  but don’t panic, we are not going to bring them all to your restaurant.

Yes, I know, I can hear you saying “but we already have Facebook and Instagram accounts, and we post beautiful food and drink pictures and nothing really happens after that…” but that’s not what I’m talking about.  You keep doing your organic posts and we will now focus on your digital marketing ads.

So here’s how we are going to do it.

The first step is to make sure that you have a Facebook Business Account or Ad Account for your restaurant.  But don’t worry, if you don’t have it set up, our team at MGR can do that for you.  Once your Ad Account is created, we can structure your ad campaign by ad groups, ad sets, etc.

The secret sauce (no pun intended) is in proper targeting to capture your consumers attention at the right place and at the right time.

How do we target them at the right place?  Well, we know that people usually don’t travel too far to go to a restaurant.  In fact, the national average is about 17 minutes, so that allows us to Geo-Target potential consumers within a 10 mile radius of your location. 

Restaurant Marketing - MGR Blog

The next targeting metric is placing the ads in front of them at the right time.  A restaurant ad displaying at 3:00 AM is not going to do you any good.  So we focus on peak or near-peak hours when people are hungry and looking for a place to eat, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We can do that by scheduling the ads to ONLY show at our selected times of the day.

And of course, when your restaurant is closed, we stop the ad campaign to save our ad dollars.

Now that we’ve selected your Geo-Target area and the peak hours of the day to display your ads, our next step is to target the type of people that best fit your restaurant demographic.  Is it a sports bar, or a romantic atmosphere, do you serve alcohol, or is it a family restaurant, ethnic food, organic, vegetarian, etc.  That will determine the age group, gender, hobbies, dietary preferences, and a number of other qualifying factors that we can set to make sure that your ads are only seen by the type of consumer that is more likely to “buy.”

If your restaurant is near a particular landmark or venue (i.e. sports arena, convention center, trade show location, etc.) you can also check the event schedule and target your ads to those particular visitors.

The next targeting parameter is separating your desktop users from mobile users.  Since the majority of people will make their restaurant decisions while they’re “on the go”, we’re just going to place our ads on people using their mobile devices.  Are they taking a selfie?  Checking in at their favorite fashion outlet?  How about showing to them your enticing restaurant ad with a succulent food shot and a special offer just as they are posting their own picture on their Facebook timeline?

Let’s recap what we’ve done so far real quick:

  1. We’ve determined the geo-target or radius around our restaurant to display our ads.
  2. We’ve selected the best times of the day to display the ads for our particular locale. This could be breakfast, brunch, happy hour, dinner, etc.  Remember, you want to promote your restaurant when you need more customers, not when it is already full.  So the peak hours can be adjusted as needed.
  3. We’ve also narrowed down our demographic target based on our type of restaurant and the type of customers that typically visit it.
  4. Finally, we’ve elected to show our ads only on mobile devices to focus mostly on foot traffic.

So far so good.  Now we just need to create the ads.  That’s easy, just copy and images, right?  Stop right there!  We need to create compelling ads!  Do you know the difference between sales and marketing?

Sales: Get a Steak 50% off today.  Call Now.

Marketing:  We’ve got your table ready and your steak is marinating!  Just let us know when you will arrive.  Call Now.

In other words, you’re trying to create an emotional connection between your product and your customer.

Of course the above applies if you own a steakhouse but you get the idea.  As far as images, food shots are always appealing but don’t forget that people also like people.  And when it comes to restaurants, people go out to eat because they like to see and be seen.  In other words, there’s a social aspect to it.  So images with happy people eating dinner will always work and attract like minded people to your locale.

This is also one of the cases when A/B testing your ads will do wonders for you.  Try different ads, headlines, pictures, and see which one performs best for you.  Then go with the winner!

Depending on the type of ads that you create, you can also add links to your menu and pricing.  Remember, nobody wins if when they arrive at your restaurant they decide that it’s not within their price range or the menu is not what they expected.  You want to focus on a high conversions campaign making sure that your visitors become customers.

The possibilities are truly endless.  Is it going to work 100% all the time?  Definitely not.  Nothing in advertising does no matter what other agencies may tell you.  But it sure works better than waiting for people to find you, or worse off, letting your competitors take your customers away from you.

Good luck and happy marketing!  Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash