Did you know that nearly 50% of diners are influenced by social media? Consumers resonate with restaurants that have active engagement practices and high-quality content.

It’s one thing to have a social media account, but it’s another to use it to its fullest potential. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and now Tik Tok can offer promotional content for your restaurant.

The beauty of social media is that with the right tools, it can act as free marketing. Social media forever changed the restaurant industry and will continue to do so. As your efforts begin or continue, it will take time to discover what content works for you. That is why we’ve collected some tips that can help guide you on this journey.

Use the tips and tricks below to improve your social media promotional efforts:

1. Social Media Optimization

There are so many features that allow you to take your business to the next level. To begin with, Instagram is one of the most effective ways to showcase your offerings. But, it’s also a platform in which you can drive a lot of traffic to your website. Though within your Instagram posts you cannot include links, you can through your link in bio.

Adding a link in your bio on this platform drives engagement. According to Social Media Today, there are three things to think about when deciding how to use your link in bio. First, you must identify your business goals, optimize your link, and put a focus on your bio content.

What are your business goals? It’s important to set aside time and decide what’s going to be best for your business. If your goal is to have more guests sign up for your newsletter, include a link to that. In the event that your goal is to boost your takeout sales, include your online ordering link in your bio.

A few tools that can help optimize your Instagram link in bio are Linkin.bio, Linktree, and Tap Bio. Including a link in your bio makes it quick and convenient for your guests to support your business. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of the reach the link in your bio can get.

2. Enticing Pictures & Videos

Fact: 30% of millennials diners will avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence. Additionally, 69% of millennials take photos of their food before eating. A great way to enhance your social media feed is to take and or share enticing, trendy pictures, and videos.

A recent study by Gousto, recipe website, found the top five Instagrammed foods. Gousto found these foods through over 150 million hashtags. Here are the results along with their regions:

  1. Pizza (New York, USA) – 37,900,000 Posts
  2. Hamburgers (Texas, USA) – 35,000,000 Posts
  3. Sushi (Tokyo, Japan) – 23,600,000 Posts
  4. Steak (Idaho, USA) – 10,200,000 Posts
  5. Macarons (Paris, France) – 5,000,000 Posts

The list of social media-friendly images is endless. These are only to provide insight into how many people look and share images of food.

It’s time to start thinking like a food stylist. You want to capture your most photogenic food for your social media feed. So, we’ve discovered some tips from Insider on taking mouth-watering photos:

  1. Good lighting is everything
  2. Know your angles
  3. Overhead shots
  4. Play with props and negative space
  5. Bring your photo to life with people

Here’s a great example from Street Side Ale House in Atascadero, California. Be sure to notice how they tied the weather in with their light salad and refreshing cocktail. This photo captures it all.

3. #Hashtags Help

By using the right hashtags on your photos, you can begin to reach a larger, more engaged audience. Through relevant and popular hashtags, you can increase your visibility on search.

There are countless hashtags that you can utilize. Do market research to see what works best with your competitors and the local industry. Using location-based hashtags will help promote your restaurant to nearby people. For example on Instagram, people can follow certain hashtag groups. Whether you’re apart of #sandiegoeats or #eatingnyc, hashtags help your discoverability.

Hashtags are a powerful marketing tool that can step up the use of your social media game. The most effective hashtags for you all depend on your food offerings and page content. If you use a mix of popular hashtags and particular ones, you can prevent getting lost in the widely used posts.

For the top 8 restaurant hashtags marketers should be using, check out this blog post.

4. Create Limited Time Offers

If you’re looking for a way to drive your customers to your restaurant, limited time offers (LTO) do just that. LTOs can include daily specials, exclusive foods, and so much more.

Showcasing your LTOs on your social media is a perfect way to promote your restaurant on a daily basis. Whether it’s a new cocktail or pastry flavor you want to try, a LTO can help attract customers.

For example, check out this photo by Super Rico Columbian Restaurant & Bar. It motivates people to tag their friends and engage with the question in the caption. The more friends tagged, the broader reach your restaurant will get.

5. Contests & Giveaways

Have you ever ran a contest on your social media? Contests and giveaways are a great way to attract new followers and promote your food.

The possibilities are endless with contests and giveaways. If you’re looking to partner with a food influencer, this would be the right time. Food influencers can assist in promoting your contest and reach more people.

You need to create an incentive for your guests to share and enter the contest. It can be a gift card giveaway, exclusive private dinner, or special discount code. A fun contest idea can be asking your followers to create a name for your newest cocktail or tag your friends. If you’re looking to feature a new dish on your menu, create a contest out of it. The caption “Tag a friend you’d enjoy this with for a chance to win a free meal! Add this post to your story for an additional entry.” By doing this, it increases engagement and it’s free promotion for your guests.

6. Keep Up With Trends

It’s important to have or create trendy items in your restaurant. This can be a cocktail or unique dish, but it can also be a fun mural on your walls.

You have to begin thinking, “How will this look on camera?” Your interior and exterior decorations can play a major role in social media. Neon signs, hanging plants, and fun quotes on your walls can encourage people to take photos. These draw them in and then boost your visibility on social media. Encourage your guests to tag your social media account as well as your location on their photos. This helps create user-generated content that you can also share on your feed.

Take a look at Tin & Taco’s creative and appealing “Taco Dirty To Me” neon sign. Today, people are searching for places that have trendy photo opportunities. This is a prime ideal example.

View this post on Instagram

Did you know we offer over 100 different beers?? Come check out the new selection we just received!

A post shared by Tin&Taco (@tinandtaco) on

Social media is rapidly changing

The goal of your social media marketing is to stand out on your guests’ feed. Your guests and foodies are seeing back-to-back food content and you want yours to draw them in.

In the time it’s going to take to recover from the COVID crisis, it’s critical to get involved on social media. It’s the easiest way to keep your customers up-to-date on what’s going on and engaged.

Be a part of your guests’ everyday routine. As your social media efforts improve, you’ll stay at the top of their feed and the top of their mind. Use the tips in this blog post and in no time your posts will be irresistible to share.