Social media provides powerful opportunities to reach new customers and engage with your regulars.
Sharing content online connects your business to potential customers. It’s the best way to get them from the internet and through your real-world doors. A sales-driving digital presence can be created by any operation, big or small. Even if you’re a restaurant operator with a limited marketing budget you can make a big impact by taking advantage of social media platforms – the right way.
How to Boost “Likes”
Two main reasons that people unlike a brand page are that their posts are uninteresting, and they post too frequently (for the given platform.) Keep more of the fans you already have by creating context driven posts and engaging content that “meets the expectations” of your audience.
Keep blatantly promotional content to a minimum. One school of thought recommends an 80/20 rule as a starting point. 80% contextual or engaging content and 20% hard-sell. As you begin to discover your brand’s unique voice this can approach 60/40. Watch audience engagement to course correct.
Related Article: Content is King, but Context is God
How do I use #hashtags properly?
Ready to show off your #foodie chops? Hashtags, or the “number sign” # have established a permanent place on most popular social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even Pinterest. Hashtags are the most effective means of categorizing content on social media. By grouping content with a click, hashtags increase the visibility of your content, making your business easier to discover. Hashtags allows you to connect with and engage social media users based on a common place, topic, or interest.
Use 1-2 Hashtags
Use hashtags sparingly and occasionally to associate your content with a specific event or effort. Too many and too frequent use of hashtags will start to annoy your audience.
Use 7-15+ Hashtags
Always use hashtags on Instagram. You’ll want to experiment with which hashtags work best and how many of them to use. Bottom line, hashtags increase the visibility of and engagement with your content. They are also a great way to run a promotion or contest.
Use 1-4 Hashtags
Use hashtags strategically to “attach” your content efforts to a relevant trend, event or location. Twitter will offer you up some great options so you don’t always have to come up with them on your own. When using hashtags on Twitter – think local.
Use 3-5 Hashtags
Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your content – and as a result your brand – on LinkedIn. Using the right hashtags can help ensure your contributions to the professional conversations happening on LinkedIn are seen by the right people; potential collaborators, customers or future employees.
Use 2-5 Hashtags
Use hashtags to help users find specific types of content; from food to locations and events. The Pinterest platform is unique in the sense that you don’t necessarily need to have created the content to benefit from sharing it.
Related Article: How to Use Hashtags: A Complete Guide
Best-Practice Note: As a general rule, because Instagram loves hashtags but Facebook does not, it is recommended not to re-share your heavily hash-tagged Instagram posts through Facebook.
Social Media Networks Overview
Below you’ll find an overview of several popular social media platforms that are ideal networks to engage with in support and growth of your foodservice operations.
Facebook is the biggest social network on the web, both in terms of name recognition and total number of users. With nearly 1.8 billion active users, Facebook is a great medium for connecting people from all over the world with your business.
Facebook has a wealth of options for any type of organization, it’s a great starting point for your business, regardless of your industry. You can use Facebook to share photos, videos, important company updates and more.
With Twitter, you can share short text updates (of 140 characters or fewer), along with videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also easily interact with other users by mentioning their usernames in your posts, so Twitter is a great way to quickly connect with people.
Because of its wide reach, Twitter is not only a great way to market your business, but also an effective channel for handling customer service.
Hashtags help boost posts, but it’s important to remember to find balance. Don’t simply share your own links or media; instead, make sure you are also sharing a lot of interesting, relevant content.
Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. The Facebook-owned network has more than 600 million active users, many of whom post about food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects.
On Instagram, it’s important to have a good eye for detail and at least basic photography skills. If you can find the right hashtags to latch onto and can post intriguing photos, you will most likely make it work.
Faces: Make sure that some of your photos feature people/faces. On average, photos with faces get 38% more “likes” than photos without them.
This platform allows users to save and display content by “pinning” digital bulletin boards, which can be organized by category. So, for example, a personal user might have a food board dedicated to pinning recipes, another board dedicated to photography and so on.
The platform also has a series of special types of pins called Rich Pins, which brands can use to add special information to their pins, like product details and even location maps.
Pinterest is heavily visually oriented. Every post has to be an image or video, and like Facebook, it is also fairly low-maintenance in terms of post frequency. However, keeping your boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming. It’s also more of a niche network.
LinkedIn is for anybody and everybody who’s interested in taking their professional lives seriously by finding new opportunities to grow their careers and to connect with other professionals.
It’s sort of like a traditional networking event where you go and meet other professionals in person, talk a little bit about what you do and exchange business cards. On LinkedIn, however, you add “connections” similarly to how you’d make a friend request on Facebook.
YouTube is video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share, and comment on content. Users are automatically assigned a channel, in which other users can subscribe to be notified whenever a new video is uploaded.
Many businesses on YouTube have a creative, visual or educational component. The platform is heavily driven by creativity in nature, so it’s important to have a tailored video editor producing content. However, your business doesn’t need a channel to market on the platform. There’s a subculture of vloggers, called YouTubers, who publish frequent videos and often maintain large audiences.