In Social Media

A mere decade ago, your restaurant advertised in the local Yellow Pages. Maybe you hung coupons on doors in the neighborhood. Now, you post on social media and customers come running. 

Social media marketing for restaurants has exploded in popularity, with 79% of marketers reporting that they buy paid advertising on Facebook. The medium’s visual nature makes social media an excellent way to advertise your restaurant—customers “eat with their eyes,” activating their palate as they imagine what each dish would taste like. Then they book a reservation.

And it’s not just the food that lends itself to “Instagrammability.” Social media allows you to showcase the ambience of your restaurant, and your charming staff, helping your customers build familiarity and trust before they stroll through your door. 

In fact, your patrons are likely looking for this kind of tantalizing inspiration. Because how many of us really enjoy making dinner? When you post on social media, you make it easy for them to decide where they want to eat—and that means more reservations and walk ins.

What social media platforms generate ROI for restaurants?

Facebook and Instagram lead the pack for this niche of small (and not-so-small) businesses. Businesses that cater to a younger audience may also consider TikTok, where 75% of the platform’s users are under 35.

[Go deeper: Should My Small Business be on TikTok?]

What if my social media pages are inactive?

Social media marketing for restaurants works best when you pair organic content (the no-cost updates and posts you publish to your page) with paid ads. Organic content presents a clear, compelling brand image and provides “social proof” of the benefits and value of your business. If you’re budgeting for paid ads, you’ll want to devote resources to publishing organic content as well. 

Why do ads boost my organic visibility? 

Running high-quality paid social media ad campaigns not only boosts awareness to potential customers, but it also increases your organic reach and engagement. How? When your ad audience clicks a link, comments, or follows your page, the platform’s algorithm recognizes that its users are interested in what you have to offer and it rewards this engagement by showing more of your content, to more of your fans.

Ready for marketing to support your business dreams?

Social media marketing for restaurants: Two explosive success stories

We’ve had outstanding success for our clients with targeted ads that promote specific, actionable goals they want their audience to take. With very reasonable budgets, both restaurants netted great results that not only increased brand awareness among potential customers, but also directly impacted their bottom line for stellar ROI.

Jo’s American Bistro

Budget: $100

Goal: Increase traffic to the reservation landing page

The stats: 

  • Ad generated 431 clicks on the “Book now” link, for a 4.6% click-through rate, compared to a food and beverage industry average of 1.2%.
  • Each click cost just 24 cents, which is 42% below industry average of 42 cents.
  • Ad received 9,433 impressions reaching 5,812 individual Facebook users. 

The Log by Ramunto’s

Budget: $250

Goal: Increase traffic to their online ordering landing page

The stats: 

  • Ad generated 1,611 link clicks on “See menu,” for a 5.2% click-through rate, compared to a food and beverage industry average of 1.2%.
  • Each click cost just 16 cents (wow!), which is 62% below industry average CPC of 42 cents.
  • Ad received 36,799 impressions reaching 17,590 individual Facebook users.

What made these campaigns so successful?

We embraced creativity, our knowledge of the client’s brand, and best practices to manage ad campaigns that paid off handsomely for our clients.

  • Strong targeting of demographics, geographics, interests, and behaviors ensured that the ads were seen by users most likely to enjoy the client’s restaurant.
  • Clear, attractive, HD video in the ad spurred interest and engaged users.
  • The budget strategically allowed the video to be seen by a critical mass of potential customers while preventing excessive repeat viewings that create oversaturation and ad fatigue.
  • The video’s caption reinforced our client’s brand to build a sense of comfort, trust, and familiarity. 
  • Language created a sense of urgency that invited users to take action.
  • The call to action was clear and direct, so that users knew exactly what would happen when they clicked. 

Don’t neglect your online listings

Once social media has whetted patrons’ appetites, your online listings (such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and Open Table, for example) provide additional paths for prospective customers to learn more about your business, trust your brand, and take steps toward making a purchase or reservation. Think of these listings as the “foundation” that increase your legitimacy and make it simple for diners to take action.

Partner up when you’re wearing too many hats

Paid social media ads are an important part of your digital marketing strategy and are a powerful way to make quick progress toward your business goals. If the learning curve for maximizing ad ROI feels out of your reach while your attention is called to other parts of your business, partnering with a digital marketing agency that specializes in paid social media ads can help you seize the opportunity to boost your bottom line. 

Reach out for a no-cost, no-obligation exploratory call to see whether paid ads can help take your business where you want it to go.