Facebook marketing for restaurants

In a world of Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook is something of an old hand. In fact, it’s hard to believe that the world’s most recognisable social network was originally launched way back in 2004.

Back then, it was nothing more than a vehicle used by college kids in America to connect with one another. Now, it’s a treasure trove of public data and, as a result, an incredibly powerful marketing tool for businesses.

If you’re a restaurateur, Facebook is a brilliant hunting ground for new guests. With a bit of imagination, experimentation and – of course – trial and error, you can draw in new customers you’d otherwise never welcome through your doors.

But where do you start? How do you build an audience and, more importantly, what do you do to get them engaging with your content?

In this post, we’ve got three simple Facebook campaign ideas for restaurants that will help anyone new to (or tired of) the platform realise the potential of Mark Zuckerberg’s baby.

1. Let your hair down

Social media is at its best when it drops any kind of formality. This is a tricky thing for most businesses to get their heads around, because traditional advertising is usually based on exuding a rather more serious, professional public image. On Facebook, that doesn’t wash – you need to be seen as fun-loving and (we hate this word, too) ‘quirky’ if you’re to grab people’s attention.

The easiest way to throw some humour into your weekly posting schedule is to jump on the meme bandwagon. If you’ve never heard of the term ‘meme’, you’ll almost certainly have seen one. They are, simply, amusing images with irreverent text placed on them. Here’s an example:

Restaurant meme example

You can create memes yourself easily on websites like imgur and – within reason – have as much fun as you like. If a recent news story has got under your skin or if you just fancy posting up a cute image of a puppy with a restaurant-related quote, you’re likely to see some engagement and sharing on Facebook. Try it!

2. Unveil recipes

Understandably, it’s common practice for restaurants to keep their best recipes close to their chest, but unveiling the secret ingredients to a popular dish once in a while isn’t a bad idea at all – particularly if you post the recipe on Facebook.

People love recipes, and if you post one of yours once in a while, your followers are likely to share it with their friends. Sharing is social media nirvana; your name will travel with each share and thus increase the reach of your social profile immeasurably.

3. Run contests for staff

The ground staff in your restaurant are often the unsung heroes of the operation, so why not shine the spotlight on them once in a while by running contests that ask your Facebook followers to vote for their favourite servers? This kills two birds with one stone by incentivising your team to provide a better service while encouraging people on Facebook to show their appreciation in the form of likes and shares.

As a result, page engagement should increase and you’ll have even more content to share as you post the results and reactions from winning staff members.

Wrapping up

Many marketers will tell you that Facebook is fast becoming a ‘pay-to-play’ platform, where you can only achieve meaningful results if you dip your hand into your budget and sign up for paid advertising, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

The three examples of zero-cost Facebook campaigns in this post should enable you to connect closely with followers and increase the chances of them eventually walking through your restaurant’s doors, without hurting your marketing budget.

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