5 Facebook Tips For RestaurantsWhen people decide to go to a restaurant, it’s not just because they’re hungry. They also want the social experience of conversing with their friends and taking in the atmosphere of the restaurant itself.

Facebook provides many opportunities to kindle that social experience for potential customers long before they ever set foot in your restaurant, and those opportunities won’t take too much in the way of resources and time to leverage.

Use these five tips to leverage the social nature of Facebook and attract new customers.

1. Create a Facebook Landing Page

Create a Facebook Landing Page

Facebook Pages provide a powerful way for your business to interact with your customers and fans. Your best bet is to start by creating a Facebook Page for your business. Once your Facebook Page is active, don’t stop there. Go one step further and create a customized “Facebook landing page.” A Facebook landing page is the first page that people will see when they visit your business on Facebook, assuming they have not yet “Liked” your Facebook Page. With a creatively designed Facebook landing page, you can:

  • Give people a reason to Like your Page (offers, giveaways, coupons)
  • Introduce your restaurant’s concept to first-time visitors
  • Provide an enticing first impression of your signature dish or popular menu choices
  • Offer a welcoming atmosphere to online visitors that complements the “offline” experience

Facebook landing pages can make a great first impression on new visitors to your Facebook Page, so craft your message accordingly. Remember that once new visitors click the Like button, the landing page will not appear for them the next time they visit your page.

There are a number of resources available online to help you build your own Facebook landing page. Alternatively, you can contract a web designer, or Facebook marketing company to build the page for you. Whatever option you choose, make sure that your landing page conforms to Facebook’s Terms of Service.

2. Upload Images of Your Food and Decor

Upload Pictures and Video to Facebook

Pople are used reading about the food and the ambiance of a restaurant, but why not show them instead? Take pictures of all your menu items and your restaurant’s interior — and exterior — to show prospective customers what they can expect when they come to dine at your place. Include pictures of the bar, your staff, and your customers (be sure to obtain their permission). Every image you add to your Facebook Page is another opportunity for visitors to engage with you and your restaurant.

Encourage engagement from your fans by asking questions or commenting on the pictures, like “Do you know what ingredients we use in this burger?” or “Guess the name of this martini!” The more time people spend on your page, the more likely they are to engage and share your content with their Facebook friends.

3. Create a Video Menu

Create a Video Menu on Facebook

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video adds exponential dimension and depth. Extend the concept of “engaging while educating” by uploading videos of your most popular menu items to your Facebook Page. Demonstrate how the dishes are prepared — from when a customer places his or her order to when the food arrives at the table. Imagine the effectiveness of a video featuring a sizzling steak, or a bubbling pot of pasta. Is your mouth watering yet?

These days, a growing trend is for people to be more connected with their food and to know where it comes from. Be an innovator and create a video series that documents how and where your chef finds the ingredients for your most popular dishes.

The whole idea of marketing your restaurant on Facebook is to engage with your customers, and provide them the back story of your restaurant. Video is one of the most powerful and effective means to tell a story, so make sure to include video in your Facebook marketing campaign.

4. Let Customers Know You’re On Facebook

Let Customers Know You Are on Facebook

In order to build engagement with your customers on Facebook, you have to drive them to your Facebook Page first. One simple way to achieve this is to let everyone in the offline world know that your restaurant is on Facebook.

Place an attractive card, that includes a brief explanation of your presence on Facebook, on every table in your restaurant. Include the recognizable Facebook logo, as well as the web addresses of your Facebook Page and any other social media platforms you’re using. Extend your Facebook branding to your menu, your specials board, and so on.

Train and encourage your staff to casually mention Facebook with your guests at appropriate points during the evening. Consider printing your Facebook address on all customer receipts, and encourage guests to post a comment or review on your Facebook Page, in return for a small incentive.

5. Display Your Location and Hours of Operation

Display Your Location and Hours of Operation

If you want to go to a restaurant, especially for the first time, you need to know how to get to the restaurant and whether or not it’ll be open when you get there. Although this sounds pretty basic, you might be surprised at how few restaurants list this information on their Facebook Pages.

If you run a single-location restaurant, adding your hours of operation and a map to your location can be as easy as including this information in the sidebar image of your Facebook Page. You can also add this information to the “Info” tab for anyone who wants to click-through for more information.

If your restaurant is a part of chain, with multiple locations, you can list all of these locations as clickable links in the Info tab. Alternatively, you can use an authorized Facebook app through which customers can search for their favorite location. For example, check out the Village Inn Restaurant location finder — embedded within their official Facebook Page.

Tip of the Iceberg

Facebook provides numerous features and functions designed specifically for business marketing. The five tips listed above, are only the tip of the iceberg. Continue to watch this space, along with our new Facebook Friday column, for more ideas about how to use Facebook to market your restaurant.

[Image Credits: cfpereda, ChristopherSHarrison, avlxyz, Sarah Ross photography]