Facebook is littered with poorly managed, boring and nearly-empty restaurant pages. There are probably lots of reasons for this, including restauranteurs not having the time or resources to devote to Facebook marketing, or a general lack of industry confidence to be effective on Facebook. The former is a much larger problem that deserves a much larger discussion, but the latter I can help you with right now. Yes, right now.
Being effective on Facebook means that you are posting relavant content that garners a response from your guests. You know that you’re doing a good job managing a page if you are getting likes or comments. I’ve watched many restaurant managers attempt to build up their own Facebook pages and then lose confidence as post after post went unnoticed (and sometimes their confidence was never there because they felt like they “didn’t know what to say.” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on that problem, too).
Feeling like you’re talking into an infinite void is certainly demoralizing. No one wants that. So here are some posting tactics I’ve used on numerous restaurant Facebook pages that nearly always elicit engagement (and don’t require you to hand out coupons).
1. Time your posts with the traffic
Studies show that 11am and 3pm during the weekdays are some of the busiest times for Facebook use, with 3 pm on Wednesdays being the busiest. Post your messages during those moments when you know you have a better shot at being seen.
2. Food porn works
People care about restaurants because they care about food. The food IS the message here, folks. I have never once put a gorgeous shot of a plate on a restaurant Facebook page and not gotten a response. The better the picture, the more likes or comments you will receive. Invest in a proper camera for the restaurant and commit to good lighting and beautiful presentation. And if an iPhone is all you can muster, my friends at Foodspotting came up with a useful guide to taking killer photos with limited resources.
3. Make fans the hero
People will often come to your Facebook page with questions. Questions like, “What do you recommend on your menu for someone on a budget?” or “I’m diabetic, do you have anything I’ll be able to eat?” It’s important that you answer these questions, but you will make your fans feel like rockstars if you let them answer the questions. Everyone loves putting in their two cents, after all. Last week, a follower of the Saltgrass Steak House Twitter account asked me this:
“what do customers on Weight Watchers usually order? I’m eating at Saltgrass for lunch.”
I could have consulted the menu team, but I did the following instead. This tactic led to twenty comments, five likes, and many more likes on the comments (which ranged from serious to hilarious). Best of all, I was able to show the Twitter follower these responses and he was able to order a great meal that met his needs.
4. Start a like party
We love weekends! Beer is delicious! These are statements everyone can get behind. Sometimes, people just want to be reminded that there are simple and positive things going on in the world. Your restaurant can be the purveyor of good vibes. Put out a fun, frivolous or happy statement and ask people to like it. You may be surprised at the results.
These are just a few of the tactics I have found work well for restaurants on Facebook. What would you recommend?