Article contributed by Brett Linkletter
If you are a restaurant owner and have invested in social media marketing programs in the past, these phrases from “experts” might sound familiar:
“I’ll get you a lot of likes on social media!”
“We’ll help you grow your followers!”
“We promise you’ll get great exposure!”
What about actual customers, though? Although these industry “experts” may get your restaurant’s social media pages more likes, followers, and exposure, will this form of social media marketing get you more customers? That is the question.
The sad truth is that many restaurants invest their money in social media programs which don’t actually bring them customers because they’ve been led to believe that organic likes, more followers, and more exposure are the only options for marketing online today.
Now let’s take a second to analyze what most organic social media marketing methods are actually doing for your brand… To learn more, we must take a look at the two top social media platforms: Facebook and Instagram.
- Today, Facebook has 2.23 billion active monthly users with an average engagement rate of 0.17%.
- Instagram has 1 billion active monthly users with an average engagement rate of 2.25%.
These statistics tell us that although these two platforms have billions of users, there are low engagement rates due to the high competition. With Facebook’s ever-changing social hierarchy and algorithm, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to reach their customers online.
A 0.17% engagement rate on Facebook means that a Facebook business page with 5,000 page likes will only get 85 engagements (likes, comments, etc.) on average. A 2.25% engagement rate on Instagram means that a business page with 5,000 followers will only get 125 engagements on average. Additionally, these low engagement rates across both platforms mainly derive from people who are already familiar with the brand… Reaching NEW customers on social becomes infinitely harder to do.
Posting consistently may be one avenue to re-engage with your current customers and to help your brand look presentable online when people are actively searching for you, but it may not be the best method for attracting new customers to your restaurant.
The next questions you may want to consider in regard to your current social media strategy is: Are your followers close enough in proximity to your restaurant? At what point in your social media strategy do your followers become customers? How do you even track this? The questions above lead me to my next point…
Organic social media marketing methods make it extremely hard to track whether or not your efforts are bringing you NEW customers.
If you can’t track whether the marketing you are doing is effective or not, you can’t trace back to what marketing methods are leading to your success (if you see success), and hence you don’t know where to further allocate your efforts to multiply your successful results.
Call me crazy, but if you invest your time and money into marketing, wouldn’t you want to see a definitive ROI (Return on Investment)?
To address the increasingly lower engagement rates, as mentioned above, many “Social Media Manager Experts” have shifted their efforts towards “boosting” posts. A “boosted” post on Facebook or Instagram is a quick way for your post to reach more “People who like your page and their friends” or “people you choose through targeting”.
Although it may sound like a good idea, boosted posts often lack what most good online ads have, which is: an objective and a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) of success.
As a professional advertiser, I consider effective advertising to have definitive objectives with measurable indicators of success. In Facebook ads manager, you can set objectives such as: clicks, custom conversions, messages, etc. but you can’t do this with a boosted post. Without an objective and KPI, an ad (or boosted post) is a shot in the dark. I call this form of marketing “Hope Marketing.”
* I describe “Hope Marketing” as marketing that has no real way of measuring success and therefore is a marketing strategy backed with only “hope and prayer” rather than with data and insights.
In addition to the lack of objectives or KPIs of success, boosted posts do not allow you to “A-B” test different creatives (ads, pictures, videos, etc.) against each other. If you can’t “A-B” test campaigns, you lose the ability to optimize and test different strategies against each other to see which might be yielding better results.
In conclusion, I bring up these points on organic and “boosted” social media strategies because many restaurant owners believe that these are the only social media options for reaching more customers online. If you are a restaurant owner and are wondering why you aren’t growing, I hope this article has brought you some insight.
My social media marketing takeaways:
- Clearly define your marketing objectives before you start.
- Create a system or KPI that allows you to measure results.
- Test multiple messaging and creative angles against each other.
- Once you have a clearly defined winner, drop the losers and scale the winner.
If you are interested in learning more about my marketing methodologies and my approach to restaurant customer acquisition, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org