Having a Facebook Page has become an integral part of any restaurant’s marketing plan. Whether a restaurant is part of a huge national chain or a local family business, Facebook enables any restaurant to connect with customers, provide meaningful content, and build relationships.
The best restaurant Facebook Pages offer a mix of interesting content, inviting conversations, useful information, and entertaining experiences for potential customers. Take a look at the following five restaurants using Facebook right to get some ideas for your own restaurant’s Facebook marketing strategy.
Whether or not you like the Hooters business model, the Hooters Facebook Page is an excellent example of how to create an experience filled with content specifically designed for your target audience.
The first secret to Hooters’ success on Facebook is a tactic that any business can implement: let your employees get involved. Hooters employees (including Hooters Girls) are encouraged to connect their own Facebook Profiles and activities with the content and conversations on the Hooters Facebook Page. It’s not surprising that most Hooters Facebook Page updates get over 100 comments each.
Hooters does a great job of publishing content that’s relevant to its customers. In the Hooters Facebook Page sidebar, fans can buy gift cards and calendars, join the Hooters eClub, access Hooters news, get answers to questions, and respond to polls. There is also a huge collection of videos and photos uploaded by Hooters and its customers.
Special content includes discounts, information about the Hooters Fantasy Football league, and more. Suffice it to say, Hooters understands its target audience and publishes content that resonates with its fans.
2. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut was an early adopter of Facebook. In fact, the company even went so far as to develop its own Facebook app so customers could easily order food from their local Pizza Hut restaurants without ever leaving Facebook.
Today, the Pizza Hut Facebook Page offers timely updates that attract hundreds of comments. Pizza Hut also uses its Facebook Page for informal market research by asking customers what they think of existing and new products.
The Page includes many videos and photos uploaded by both Pizza Hut and its customers. There is also a variety of special deals available and quick links to international Pizza Hut sites, as well as Pizza Hut mobile apps.
It’s hard to create a list of restaurants using Facebook right and not include Subway. With nearly 10 million followers, the Subway Facebook Page is one to benchmark. Perhaps the best thing about the Subway Facebook Page is the way that Subway effectively integrates its Page into its other marketing initiatives. It’s not unusual to see both online and offline ads and marketing campaigns from Subway that include Facebook elements.
Subway effectively uses offline promotions to drive traffic to special features on its Facebook Page. For example, Subway’s High School Heroes Program (that recognizes high school students doing great things) is highlighted in a special section on the restaurant’s Facebook Page.
Followers are also invited to get actively involved on the Subway Facebook Page. For example, the Flavorizer campaign invites people to create their own unique Subway sandwiches. Of course, discounts, photos, and videos are available on the Subway Facebook Page. Subway also has a handy “Locations” link that can be used to find the closest Subway restaurants based on a visitor’s current location.
The Chik-fil-A Facebook Page greets visitors with a featured message that is always timely and interesting. From there, visitors can click through to view the restaurant’s menu or automatically find nearby locations.
Interactive content is typically offered in a separate section. For example, leading up to the 2011 holiday season, a special Family Holiday Activities section was available. For real Chik-fil-A loyalists, downloadable images, icons, and wallpapers are offered, and anyone can watch a live Chik-fil-A streaming event from the uStream section of the Page.
As you’d expect, Chik-fil-A Wall posts drive a lot of conversation, and both Chik-fil-A and customers actively upload photos and videos to the Page. Overall, this Facebook Page provides an excellent example of how to use creative branding and interactive content on Facebook.
5. The Capital Grille
Higher-end restaurants are doing great things on Facebook, too. The Capital Grille Facebook Page is a perfect example of a well-branded, visually appealing Facebook Page with special offers and great information that followers love. This is evidenced by the active conversations that happen around each Wall post. For example, a recent Wall post shared a video with the restaurant’s sommelier while he visited Napa Valley.
The Page’s sidebar links bring visitors to sections about the chef, the wine expert, photos, videos, events, and news. Visitors can find nearby locations with a single click of the mouse, and Yelp reviews are also just a click away. The inclusion of a recipes section is a great addition to the Page.
What are your favorite restaurants using Facebook right? Let us now in the comments below.
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.