A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Marketing for Restaurants

Jessica Elliott

Jessica couples her 24 years of restaurant and hospitality industry experience with meticulous research to deliver insight into technology, operations, and marketing topics. Her optimized copy helps companies engage their audience while strengthening their communication with clients, employees, and management.

How do you build relationships with guests? Start with a great in-house experience. Then, you can take your relationship online. Social media platforms like Facebook can help you create loyal customers and capture new business. But, digital marketing and advertising aren’t easy to master. 

If you’re running day-to-day operations, then it’s tough to manage your social presence as well. That’s why a report by Toast shows that “34% of restaurant operators and owners have a dedicated employee whose full-time job is to market the restaurant through ads, promotions, and social media and more.” 

Regardless of who handles Facebook marketing in your restaurant, it’s vital to learn the basics. While it’s possible to grow your brand without investing lots of money, it requires plenty of time. Discover how to promote your restaurant on Facebook with this guide. 

Man sitting in restaurant with meal and phone shooting a video.

Why restaurants should invest in Facebook marketing 

Social media marketing covers a lot of ground. Big brands, like Wendy’s, amass huge followings across platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Yet “Facebook remains the dominant platform in the restaurant space. 91% of restaurants use the channel,” according to Toast. Although Facebook isn’t as hip for newer generations, people still flock to the site. 

Facebook marketing for restaurants gives you many ways to engage your audience and develop a following. From paid ads to Facebook promotions, restaurateurs customize their strategy to fit their guests. Plus, even if you’re not on Facebook, your brand is mentioned. So, Facebook marketing gives you control over those conversations. 

Start by setting up your business page and filling it out completely. You’ll also want to link to your Facebook from your website or other channels. Once your page is up, then make your investment count by taking a few steps. 

1. Create a style guide for Facebook

Any form of marketing requires a style guide. Consistency improves trust, increases brand awareness, and boosts your reputation. Consumers hear about food recalls and data privacy issues every day. As a restaurant owner, it’s vital to give customers a reason to trust your company. You can accomplish that with Facebook marketing for restaurants. Develop a style guide for Facebook that covers the following areas: 

Brand voice. Describe how your brand sounds on Facebook. Is your brand upbeat? Slightly sarcastic? Or, perhaps you’re a friendly grandma selling homemade cookies. If you have a favorite brand on Facebook, then add those accounts here for reference.

Slang and terminology. Are there phrases you want to avoid? Using slang terms or jargon should be a style decision, not a whim. 

Hashtag use. How many hashtags will you use? How will you judge hashtag quality? Lay out some ground rules for hashtag use.

Visual content. Choose specific fonts, colors, and color combinations that meet your brand standards. Specify rules for the use of your brand logo. Include standards for video length and image size.

Curated content. Do you have trusted sources of information that you’d like to share? List sites to share content from, like your local tourism board or charities.

Facebook message and post responses. What is your response time? Describe how to address negative posts. Plus, give examples of how to take the conversation offline. 

2. Develop a Facebook marketing strategy

Your social media marketing strategy should align with your business goals. Randomly posting on Facebook is a waste of resources. Instead, give yourself a step-by-step guide for how you’ll get a return on your investment (ROI). Your plan can include:

  • Facebook user research
  • Competitive analysis 
  • SMART goals 
  • Posting schedule and times
  • Content formats 

Use your Facebook strategy to define how you’ll measure your achievements. Plus, don’t forget to develop ways to track mentions through social listening. Your plan helps you devise clear steps and stay accountable. 

3. Plan your Facebook marketing tactics

Your strategy lays out the tactical details. Now it’s time to break your strategy down to a plan you can follow. This step involves creating an editorial calendar and campaigns. Successful Facebook marketing for restaurants combines in-house promotions and digital offerings. Look at your end goal. Then, regularly review to see which steps impact your customers most. 

Editorial calendar. Use an online template or develop your own calendar. This is where you’ll list scheduled posts and organize campaigns. Start by adding any popular social media holidays, like National Pizza Day. Then pencil in events at your restaurant. Use a color-coding system to show campaigns and curated content. 

Campaigns. At any time, you may run several campaigns. A campaign is a series of posts that lead customers to a specific action. Perhaps you run a weekly campaign highlighting your wing night. But, you also use a second one to increase loyalty reward sign-ups. Each Facebook campaign may consist of: 

  • A contest, giveaway, or poll
  • Gorgeous photos of campaign-related dishes
  • User-generated content from fans
  • Question posts that engage your audience

Facebook event pages. Set up event pages for any upcoming activities at your restaurant. 35 million people view a public event on Facebook every day. So, get customers excited by sharing updates.

4. Share engaging Facebook posts

Wondering what you should post on your restaurant page? Coming up with a steady stream of new ideas is tough. If you feel stumped, take a look at your favorite brands or competitors. Then review data about your ideal customers. What does your audience want to see from your restaurant? 

Here’s a hint: consumers don’t want to feel like you’re trying to make a sale with every social media message. Instead, offer up a short video of a fun moment at your restaurant. Share a backstory about the restaurant owner. Highlight an employee or guest each week. Facebook marketing for restaurants inspires, informs, or entertains a willing audience. 

5. Don’t forget Facebook customer service

People turn to Facebook in good times and in bad. Facebook marketing for restaurants helps you address all types of conversations. After all, you can’t only use Facebook to blast out promotions. Instead, you should encourage interaction and increase trust in your brand.

Restaurants may receive messages through Facebook Messenger. Customers also call out restaurants by tagging the company in their posts. Others don’t tag you but use your name when posting about their experience. Also, your guests leave reviews on your Facebook page. Each of these areas are opportunities to build relationships. But, it also increases your workload. To stay organized, you can: 

  • Create an automatic response to Facebook messages with a timeframe.
  • Check on your account at set intervals
  • Track brand mentions using a tool like Help Scout or Agorapulse
  • Respond to all reviews on your business page

6. Boost visibility with Facebook Ads

Organic reach is tough these days. Use Facebook ads to increase awareness about your restaurant promotions. There are dozens of ways to engage an audience with ads. You can boost your most engaging or interactive Facebook post. Target your current followers, keep it local, or create a lookalike audience. 

For instance, upload your restaurant’s email list. Once you choose your goal and select an audience, then Facebook serves your ad to people similar to your email subscribers. This is a great way to get your brand in front of new people. 

7. Go Live on Facebook

A live video brings people into the thrill of the moment. It encourages their fear of missing out (FOMO). Although live streaming can be nerve wracking, once you get the hang of it, it feels more natural. 

Do a test run with your device so you don’t have technical issues. Then, before going live, write down a few key phrases you want to say. Plus, don’t forget to give a call-to-action at the end. Look for unique moments for a live video like: 

  • Announcing the winner of your giveaway
  • Showing a food demonstration or live band 
  • Introducing a new cocktail or menu item

Facebook marketing for restaurants: Develop a plan that works

Social media is only one part of your restaurant marketing strategy. But, with a clear plan, Facebook marketing for restaurants is incredibly effective. So, get creative and start using Facebook to develop new relationships and deepen your connections with customers.

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