Social Media Marketing for Restaurants, Cafes & Other Food Businesses

Did you know that nearly 60% of all Australian restaurants and cafes have a social media presence?*

And why wouldn’t they?  With food one of the most popular topics on both Facebook and Instagram, businesses in this sector are lining up to grab a piece of the action.
With 95% of Australians now having a Facebook account, it is no surprise that this platform leads the charge for social media activity for cafes and restaurants.  Facebook’s features such as Check In (whereby a person can notify their friends that they are at a particular location) and Reviews are excellent for building social proof, ie. “my friend likes that café, therefore there’s a good chance that I will like it too.”
Instagram is another popular choice for restaurant and other food service operators due to its nature as a photo sharing platform. As of October 2015, there were over 150 million images on Instagram tagged #food and to bring things a little more close to home, 149,000 Instagram images are tagged #melbournefood. 
With figures like these, it is easy to see why food businesses from coffee shops, to restaurants, takeaways to caterers and all points in between are embracing social media marketing. 
A comment we often hear at Alfalfa Social is that business owners know they should be using social media, but many just don’t know where to start.  There’s no doubt that having an active and  entertaining social media presence takes time and effort, which is why more and more cafes and restaurants are choosing to outsource their social media activity.
If you do want to keep your social media marketing in house, here are a few tips to get you moving. 
  • Post plenty of photos of your food!  Food posts are some of the most shared images on Facebook, so well lit, well presented food photos are a good starting point.  Got a special of the day or a new dish?  Photograph it and post it to Facebook and Instagram to build some excitement around the dish.  Make sure people know it is something new.
  • Did you find some wonderful produce at the market?  Tell your audience about it – where it is from, what you plan to do with it later on.  A raw produce picture followed by the finished dish tells a great story.
  • Show your staff some love.  A brief profile on a staff member shows them they are valued and puts a name to a face for your customers.  
  • Post pictures of happy diners (make sure they are happy for you to do so!).
  • Ask your customers for some feedback.  Is there a dish they love that has been taken off the menu?  What would they like to see more of?
  • Show some personality and give people a sense of what it is like to come to your venue.  No one likes relentless selling on social media, so be sure to intersperse your promotional posts with some fun and entertainment.  
If you’re using Instagram, you’ll want to investigate hashtags.  What are the hashtags most relevant to your industry and location?  For example, #melbournecoffee is a popular hashtag.  If you are a Melbourne café that  prides itself on its coffee (and most do!) then you’ll want to be using this one. 
Spend some time searching relevant tags to use in your posts.  Be sure to cover all angles – where are you located, who is your audience, what events are coming up, what do you sell, when do you sell it? 
*Statistics via Sensis Social Media Report 2015.