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The Restaurateur’s Guide to Social Media Marketing

Where are your marketing dollars and hours going? If you’re like most restaurant owners, it’s to social media: More than 80 percent of restaurateurs spend at least part of their marketing budgets on social media, making it the top advertising vehicle, according to new research from online travel site TripAdvisor.

While most people used to consider social media “free advertising” (and it’s still smart to devote time to communicating with your fans, and certainly responding to their comments), more and more, each platform’s algorithm makes it necessary to pay for posts for the best chance of having your content viewed.

But how can you use it most effectively? Here are tips to up your social media advertising game on the four most popular channels:


The details: Using Facebook’s Ads Manager, you’ll be offered a number of choices that allow you to segment your campaign for the best reach. First, you’ll pick an objective, such as local awareness, website traffic, reach, and more. Then it will allow you to segment your audience to reach your highest-value targets by choosing who sees your ad based on location, age, gender, interests, type of device they’re on (think mobile for someone out looking for a bite to eat!) and more.

As you build your campaign, you’ll have the opportunity to indicate your daily budget for your ads. That means that Facebook will put your ad in front of as many of your target demographic as it can, until you max your limit.

The easiest way to advertise on Facebook is to “boost your post.” That means that a post you are sharing on your page is reaching more of your target audience (for a price), but won’t be shown more than once a day to the same person.

The best type of content: Create content that your followers will want to engage with. Ask questions or do a mini survey on menu items, for example, and always make sure the post includes a great visual.


The details: Not everyone knows that even though they operate separately, Instagram is actually owned by Facebook. So, it’s easy to set up your ads, using the Facebook Ads Manager system and segmenting tools you’re already familiar with.

The best type of content: This you do already know—beauty shots of your meals. Foodies love Instagram, and this can be a high target environment with a ton of engagement; in fact brands say that they get four times more user engagement on Instagram than on Facebook.


The details: With Snap advertising, you take over the tools that users play with to decorate their snaps, such as “lenses,” (we’ve all seen the dog face, for example) and “Geofilters,” special slides available only in certain areas, which are the best bet for smaller advertisers.

A whopping 80 percent of users have used Geofilters at a restaurant making it a no-brainer for effective restaurant advertising. The Geofilters are easy to create on the go from the mobile app and are relatively affordable, at around $20 a day for the size of an average small restaurant.

The best type of content: You have to keep it fun! Snap is where you’ll find both the coveted Gen Z and millennial customers; in fact research company ComScore finds that four out of five millennials use Snapchat.


The details: Twitter can be a little confusing for first-time advertisers because each ad is accompanied by a “bid process,” where you are basically saying how much you will pay for each person who sees or interacts with your post. Although that can seem daunting, a “suggested bid” will be shown once you designate your daily budget and campaign duration. Your campaign can have one of several objectives, including gaining followers, clicks to your website, or app installs, for example.

The best type of content: It will depend on the type of campaign you are running, but of course, your content should include stunning photography and attention-getting copy. With only 140 characters, short and sweet is a must so get creative with how you use them. It’s worth it, considering that 66 percent of users say they have discovered a small- or medium-sized business on Twitter.

Not sure where to start? Don’t forget that Instore can help you with online promotions with Facebook and Twitter when you connect by using the social buttons on the left side of your office dashboard. Find out more here!

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