Article contributed by Brett Linkletter and Ariana Brajkovich, Misfit Media
It’s 2020. The whole world is online. Within the past couple months, the restaurant industry made its biggest push ever into the digital world. With dining rooms closed, the only way for businesses to communicate with their customers was through the internet.
Social media is one of the most popular online channels. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are excellent ways to connect with your guests. An average user spends 2.5 hours on social media every day. That’s a lot of screen time and a huge opportunity for your brand to come face to face with your consumers on a regular basis.
In this article, we are going to focus on the aspects of organic social media. “Organic” content is unpaid media that you post to your restaurants’ pages and feeds. Organic social media is an important part of any marketing strategy. While it’s not strong enough to rely on solely, it is a significant supporting factor. Social media builds an online presence for your business, strengthens your visual branding, and creates a direct communication channel to your customers.
Before we get into managing your social presence, let’s debunk some common concerns that often keep business owners from using organic social media as an accessory marketing tactic.
“I don’t know what to post.” This objection is very common, especially for those who don’t use social media personally, particularly Instagram and Twitter. When brainstorming content, think of the message that you want to send your customers. Think of the aspects of your business that you are proud of. Showcase your food! Introduce yourself and your staff. Share positive nutritional facts about your meals and awards your restaurant has won. Check out the calendars of “National ___ Day” and find when they correspond with your menu items. Have some fun with your posts and use them to highlight your restaurant’s personality.
“It’s too difficult to take good photos.” You don’t need professional grade equipment to take nice photos of your food and store. Your phone and some bright, natural light or an LED light stick (you can find them on Amazon) are all you need to create mouth-watering pictures of your signature dishes. Also, don’t be afraid to use crowd-sourced content. Customers take great photos of their meals and they love to share them on social media. Check your restaurant’s location tag and see what content has already been provided for you. Just always remember to message the user and ask permission to use their photo. Check out our May article for more instructions on how to create high-quality visual content.
“It takes too much time.” Out of these 3 objections, this one is the most valid. Managing social media can take a lot of time if you don’t know how to manage it correctly. Consider taking one day each month or a couple hours one day a week to organize and schedule your content. A single photoshoot can provide you with enough content for weeks or even months. Plan out your social media calendar to account for any upcoming holidays or special events, schedule your posts, and just let them run. Each day when you check your emails, scan through your comments section and answer any questions that customers have. Doing this may seem like a lot to take on, but once your plan is in place, it becomes a simple, no-brainer part of your routine.
To stay organized, check out tools like Buffer, HubSpot and Hootsuite. They are designed specifically to have a user-friendly social media management interface. These tools make posting a month’s worth of content easy and efficient by allowing you to schedule out posts weeks in advance. They are also a one-stop-shop for your social media CRM with their comment and response tools.
Organic social media is a direct, low cost way for you to reach your customers. It makes it easier for your fans to spread the word about your restaurant and can even help to win people over before they even taste your food. No restaurant’s marketing is complete without some sort of social media strategy.
Here are three restaurants who each have a different strategy when it comes to posting organic content:
800 degrees is an international pizza chain that serves delicious, thin crust pizza that’s flash cooked at (you guessed it!) 800 degrees fahrenheit. When it comes to social media marketing, the Los Angeles locations have a leg up on the rest of the chain. Now, they don’t have the most followers out of their fellow franchisees, but they do have a trackable system. @800degreeslosangeles posts a picture every week day of their #pizzaoftheday or #potd. Each day is a different pizza that is offered at a discounted price. This daily ritual allows them to track exactly how many people are brought in each day by the Instagram special.
5 napkin burger is a full services burger restaurant with several locations throughout Manhattan. Their social media content strategy is all about making their followers drool over pictures of their food. The 5 Napkin Instagram feed is an endless roll of Buzzfeed and Eater worthy pictures that you’d expect to find on a Top 10 Burgers You Need To Eat Before You Die list. Melted cheese and buttered buns never fail to boost a page.
Din Tai Fung is an international dim sum restaurant. Their social media page consists mostly of clean, bright photos of their wide variety of dumplings but also has an occasional promotional or educational post–like how to reheat steam buns or the “right” way to eat a xiao long bao (soup dumpling). Their branding is consistent and they do a great job of spotlighting and explaining their dishes.
Brett Linkletter is the CEO & CoFounder of Misfit Media. He has an aggressive willingness to take on new challenges and a strong understanding of scaling a business from scratch. His vision is to disrupt the restaurant marketing space by empowering business owners with predictable, scalable marketing strategies so they can grow their business based on insights and data, versus guesswork and course correction. Brett’s specialty lies in creative content creation, brand messaging, social media growth hacking, and business development. His biggest role model and lifetime hero is his great grandfather, Art Linkletter, who was a famous TV personality and businessman.
Ariana Brajkovich is Misfit Media’s in-house media buyer. She is a data-driven individual who loves to take the creative route to achieve results. Ariana studied business and marketing at the University of Southern California and has found her niche in the restaurant world. She thrives in competition and is inspired by Misfit’s drive to take restaurants across the world to the next level. Outside of the office, you can find her skiing, rock climbing, or baking.
To learn more about putting together a marketing strategy for your restaurant or foodservice business, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 424-289-8648