Do you want to market your restaurant more effectively and build your business? Then it only makes sense to replicate other restaurants’ success with social media marketing.
Because why reinvent the wheel? And if these diners can do it, then there’s no reason you can’t take lessons from them and put it to action in your local town. Or save yourself the time and just straight up copy their entire idea. (Hey, it’s a free country!)
As I always say, there are real dollars to be made in any industry when your marketing is top notch. For example, did you know 72% of customers have used Facebook to make restaurant decisions? Now you do.
With that in mind, your job is to establish the social media presence and brand that gets customers to visit your place on a regular basis without even thinking about it.
Some businesses have already figured out how to get more paying customers through their door by focusing on their social media marketing. Being your friend (if you didn’t know yet, we’re friends now) I want you to join these winning restaurants.
That’s the mission of this post: for you to replicate successful social media marketing for your business.
The following 5 restaurants are thriving thanks to creative social media execution. Take a lesson or two from their playbook to improve your restaurant’s marketing.
5 Restaurants Winning With Social Media
1. Black Bear Diner
Black Bear Diner is a restaurant chain that started out of California and specializes in home-cooked, comfort food. This diner is also a testament to the power of effective social media marketing.
Black Bear Diner aimed to increase website conversions and local in-store visits to their various locations in The Golden State. Here’s what they did and the end result.
This restaurant teamed up with a media company to combine mouth-watering dishes, audience-specific captions, local geography targeting, and calls-to-action, into a successful Facebook ads campaign.
Check out this unbelievable performance for their restaurants:
- Achieved a 1% average increase in sales across all restaurants
- Received almost 2 million ad impressions (costing $0.003 per impression)
- Spent 10 times less to get an action than they would have on other advertising platforms
- Slimmed down to a $0.48 cost per click
I’d call that an unquestionable success! Bravo, bravo.
Takeaway: This goes to show that virtually no other advertising platform can convert better than a well-run Facebook ad campaign.
The good news is you can run your own Facebook ads right now while only paying $5 a day. It’s wise to start small until you have a grip on what’s working.
Experiment with different pictures, captions, and offers to potential customers to get them to visit and share their experience. Then once you find the winning combination, put more money into it to get more impressions and results.
Here are some quick tips for Facebook success, whether in ads or your business page posts:
- Run a giveaway to get more people to visit your store
- Find creative ways to ask your audience to like and share your content
- Give an incentive for customers who check in to your restaurant on Facebook
- Utilize video to capture more attention
I’m obsessed with Wendy’s bold, funny, and thoughtful Twitter presence. It’s grade A marketing all over the board.
Each day they pull off the feat that most companies struggle to communicate: showing they genuinely care about their customers.
For example, just take a look at their Tweets & Replies that is filled with excellent customer service:
Wendy’s, who brings in over $450 million a year, is giving one-to-one attention like they’re a local mom and pop restaurant in a small town. That’s impressive and you know it.
While they get a score of 100% for quality customer service, that’s not all this fast food giant is getting out of their Twitter. Wendy’s doubles its efforts to market their business with hilarious tweets like this:
Because of their attitude and sarcasm, Wendy’s has produced millions of dollars in free advertising from Twitter users retweeting them plus major news stories like this from Business Insider, this article from Mashable, and this Huffington Post feature.
Last but not least, here’s arguably their biggest social media win of the year: Wendy’s now has the most retweeted tweet in the history of the world.
A teen named Carter asked how many retweets for a year of chicken nuggets and Wendy’s said it would take 18 million. He didn’t get to 18 million, but it went viral. He got over 3.4 million retweets and major corporations like Google and Starbucks jumped in to retweet the teen.
Takeaway: Use social media (Twitter in this case) to deliver excellent one-on-one customer service, and have fun with your marketing. If you execute, your brand awareness and likability will skyrocket.
Although Wendy’s probably has an audience that dwarfs yours, what they’re doing on Twitter is completely free and able to be replicated. You can execute a similar marketing strategy at no cost and get direct results that produce more revenue for your business. It just takes time and effort to treat your customers right and market your restaurant.
Respond to Tweets—positive or negative—that mention your brand and go above and beyond to assist people. They’ll notice, appreciate it, and come back with friends.
Plus, don’t be afraid to try new things, take a playful jab at the competition, and put some humor into your posts to stand out (as long as you don’t cross the line).
3. Pieology Pizzeria
People like to eat where their friends eat. It’s safer, simple, and saves time during the dreadful “where should we go to eat?” debate.
That’s why when other people post about your place on their profiles, it’s a powerful message that often persuades their friends and family to visit you for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One pizza shop that has mastered getting brand ambassadors is Pieology Pizzeria.
For one, they tell their Instagram followers they have the chance to be featured on their account if they take a picture with the caption #MyPieology.
Here’s one of the pictures that generated buzz:
Pieology also ran a video submission contest to increase their brand awareness. The winner who submitted the best video with the caption #LoveThyPie won free pizza for a year.
Publishing user-generated content is a win-win for Pieology because they get free marketing and save time coming up with post ideas.
These promotions also help them connect with their audience. One area where many restaurants fail on social media is generating no community interaction because they’re too self-promotional.
Takeaway: It’s very valuable for your brand and sales to have your fans create content that sends people to your social media profiles and ultimately your restaurant.
So how can you get users to publish posts about your restaurant? What are you going to offer them to give them the motivation to post about your food?
Here are a few quick ideas:
- A chance to win a $100 gift card
- Free lunch for a year
- Partner with another company to do a fun giveaway
- Get free corporate catering
- Name a dish after one giveaway winner
- Get $5 off their order of $25 or more
4. Nusr-et Steakhouse
Have you heard of Salt Bae? Nusret Gökçe is his official name and he’s a Turkish chef who owns the restaurants Nusr-et.
The video went viral—it now has more than 15 million views—and A-list stars like Rihanna and Ben Affleck have worn t-shirts in appreciation. He’s now opening a new restaurant in London to capitalize on the newfound attention.
What made this video so special? I personally believe it’s a combination of the uniqueness and his intense desire to season the steak to perfection.
The public, and your customers for sure, enjoy knowing their food is delicately handled and cooked with care.
And we can’t fail to mention that some of it is luck, with the Internet being the Internet. But it’s not lucky to show up consistently and put out content, so congrats to Salt Bae.
Takeaway: This goes to show you’re only one well-done piece of content away from going viral and becoming Internet famous to bring a storm of attention to your restaurant.
But if there’s no content then there’s 0% chance the Internet will give you attention.
The big takeaways from Salt Bae are to have social media profiles and publish consistent content to build awareness. Experiment with different ideas. Give your customers a behind-the-scenes view of your business. And both on social media plus in the restaurant, communicate how much care and effort goes into your dishes—this always works.
An Instagram page littered with quality videos and pictures relevant to your restaurant can be a game-changer for your business. Start now!
5. Domino’s UK
The previous examples are all recent, but this social media campaign is a throwback to 2012. Domino’s UK had this brilliant Twitter idea to drive customer interaction in return for cheaper pizza.
How it worked was individual Twitter users who tweeted #letsdolunch between the hours of 9 to 11 AM would knock off the collective price of everyone’s lunch pizza. And customers had to follow the Domino’s Twitter account and like their Facebook page to get the special price.
What’s genius about this Twitter strategy is Domino’s:
- Built customer engagement and loyalty by running this fun campaign for cheaper pizza
- Received an insane amount of free advertising and awareness from the crowd of people who tweeted their hashtag
- Sold more pizzas and other food during lunch thanks to the timing of the deal
- Gained more Twitter followers and Facebook page likes to capitalize on in the future
- Essentially “owned” a hashtag they can use for future purposes
Takeaway: By incentivizing people who are already fans of your brand to spread the word, you gain a wide net of exposure essentially for free. Plus if you do it this way, you’re building a community who helps each other for the greater good (cheaper pizza in that case).
How can you use a hashtag campaign for your brand? What’s your giveaway or the people’s incentive to retweet, tag a friend, comment, or like your post?
Spend some time to think it through and get creative with it. It simply comes down to a trade: What do people want from your company and what’s a responsible ask from them? Pair it together and you got a winner.
If you get this right, it can do wonders for your business. You’ll retain previous customers, bring in new customers, and they’ll refer you to other friends, so your restaurant will be booming.
Just ask Domino’s how well this worked out for them for proof.
What Are You Waiting For?
Only a decade ago you used to be ahead of the game if your diner had a website and a Facebook page. Now establishing an online presence (having a website and social media accounts) is the bare minimum in 2017 and beyond.
Because if you want people to know about your restaurant and visit it frequently, you have to be where these people spend a good amount of their day: on their phones scrolling their news feed. That’s where 99% of the attention is moving toward.
Instead of trying to fight it, ignore it, or glorify the old days where things were simpler, I challenge you to put serious effort into your social media marketing strategy.
Not only will this change your business for the better now, but you’ll also be prepared for future industry changes.
Plus, you and I know that competition is tough and it seems to be getting only more competitive as you fight with national chains and famous local spots to get customers through your door.
I’d hate to see the digital world turn your business into another casualty. That’s why I wrote this article, as a heads up.
Let this be a wake up call to transform your restaurant’s marketing.
If you execute, I promise you’ll win and your customers will fall in love with your brand.