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12 Out-of-the-Box Restaurant Marketing Ideas Using Social Media

Marketing your restaurant on social media is a standard part of operating a restaurant these days. However, it won’t do you much good to just have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts that you update with boring posts every couple of weeks.

To really boost your business and engage your customers, you must actively update your accounts with compelling content that differentiates your establishment from the rest of the pack. If you are looking to spice up your timeline, consider the following restaurant marketing ideas that will inspire your customer base to come and dine at your place.

1. Show Off Your Employees

Develop a personal connection with your loyal customers by sharing photos and stories about your employees. These types of posts are known to drive engagement and help to give your establishment a human face.

2. Repost User-Generated Content

Sometimes it can be a struggle to come up with fresh ideas for photos, or even find the time to take them. The good news is your foodie customers are often doing the work for you, so to speak. Keep up to date with your notifications, mentions, and hashtags to see when social media users are sharing images and experiences from your restaurant. When you see one that you really like, repost it on your own feed and give a shout out to the original created. When your followers see that they have a chance to be featured on your page, even more people will start posting about your restaurant.

3. Debut New Menu items

People that follow you on social media are either fans of your restaurant or seriously dreaming of the chance they get to go out and try it. What better way to entice them than by debuting newly created menu items and specials on your feed. If they see it first on social media, they will want to be the first to try it IRL.

4. Share a Recipe or Two

Of course, you don’t want to give away the recipe for your secret sauce, but sharing some recipes can be a great way to connect with our online audience. It can also help you establish yourself as an authority for the type of cuisine you serve.

5. Create a Secret Special

Reward your followers and generate buzz by creating a secret special menu item that only people who follow your posts would know about. Take a close up picture of your special menu item placed on a reclaimed wood bar top. This will create a sense of exclusivity and trigger your customers’ “FOMO” response, sending them out to try it right away.

6. Celebrate Every Holiday and Special Event

People love to celebrate any occasion they can with food and drink. Always plan ahead when it comes to approaching holidays and special events such as the Kentucky Derby or major movie releases. Plan several themed food and drink items throughout the year and promote them on social media.

7. Ride Those Hashtags

Participate in popular hashtags to expand your potential reach. Not only will you reach a wider audience by using more hashtags, but you will also make your account more personable. For starters, try a #tbt (Throwback Thursday) on Instagram featuring a photo from your restaurant’s grand opening or of your head chef graduating from culinary school. If you have beautiful architectural features, like skylights or reclaimed wood tabletops, photograph them and tag them as well. Do your research to find additional hashtags that are relevant to your restaurant.

8. Give Away Gift Cards and Swag

Want to quickly grow your followers and boost your business? Have a gift card giveaway every once in a while and ask your followers to respond to a prompt and tag a friend, then pick a random winner. Repeat monthly to keep growing your online followers.

9. Profile Your Customers

Just as you might post about your employees, consider featuring some photos of your favorite regulars. This will help make your account more personable overall, and allow you to reach more potential customers when you tag or mention the customer and their followers see it. If you have a dog-friendly area at your restaurant, be sure to profile four-legged patrons as well. Everybody loves pictures of dogs!

10. Keep Up With the Weather

Running specials related to the weather will help you draw customers in during slow periods. For example, you can have a happy hour when it’s raining, if the temperature is over 100 degrees, or if it snows. Whenever those conditions are met, be sure to post about it to give your fans an excuse to visit.

11. Give Followers Discounts

Reward your followers and give them occasional discounts. You can utilize a high-tech loyalty program that connects with your social media accounts, or you can try a more low-tech route and have customers mention a keyword when they come in to get the deal. Either way, your patrons will thank you for thinking of them.

12. Paint a Mural

Want to get your restaurant featured on social media constantly without lifting a finger while simultaneously increasing foot traffic? Commission an artist to paint an eye-catching mural with a trendy theme outside your restaurant. If the mural is Instagram-worthy, everyone who comes along to take a snapshot will be helping to increase your visibility online.

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