There are so many resources for marketing your restaurant online. My previous article on How to Market Your Restaurant Locally outline all the tactics you can use to market your restaurant both online and offline. The number of internet users is constantly increasing and hence marketing your restaurant online will skyrocket your business. Here’s a list of the top 10 sources of online restaurant marketing available right now, including popular social media and review platforms.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform. Most of your customers and plenty of potential customers are already using Facebook, the undisputed king of social media with approximately one billion users worldwide.
To use Facebook to market your restaurant, create a business page with your restaurant’s address, telephone number, menu and a link to its website. Post relevant pictures of your menu and actively respond to customers messages.
How many employees do you have? How many of them are active on Facebook? Get all your employees on Facebook to share your menu with their friends. This is a smart way to reach 1000s of customers daily on Facebook.
Arguably, the very best way to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality, drool-inducing photos. Hashtags and crystal-clear pictures are what is going to get your business noticed on Instagram. When you create your posts on Instagram, make sure that your photo is intriguing and relevant; a picture of your daily special is a good place to start. Other areas of interest to include are your employees and your location.
Once you have the perfect picture, you need to select the correct hashtags. Use a mix of trending hashtags (which will change on a daily basis) and niche hashtags, like #foodlovers, #foodie, #foodporn, #foodgasm etc… that are constantly in use on the social media platform.
Likewise Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is another great online restaurant marketing platform. Using this platform is a great way to spread the news about deals and upcoming events. Since you are limited to only 140 characters, it is a good idea to include images and shortened links to your website or menu.
Make sure to use appropriate hashtags with your tweets and to time your tweets well. For example, around 10:30 a.m. is the perfect time to send a tweet about a lunch special to your followers.
Yelp is a popular third-party review platform. It is one of the most important review sites because it’s so popular with average monthly visitors of about 132 million. Users on the site post independent reviews about restaurants they have visited.
Yelp reviews can have a huge impact on who visits your establishment. When you claim or create your Yelp page, make sure to add your company’s vital information such as hours of operation, contact information and an updated picture of your menu.
Make sure to monitor customers’ reviews of your restaurant. Thank users who post positive reviews and address the concerns of users who post negative reviews.
Yelp has a tool that allows users to find and book a table without having to leave your Yelp page, allowing a seamless transition from browsing to placing a reservation.
Not only can you use Yelp to take reservations for your restaurant, but it also has the capabilities to run the entire front end of your restaurant.
5. Google Plus
Because Google is the most popular search engine (with over a billion users), it’s important to set up your Google Plus for Business. Creating a Google+ page increases your page’s SEO and search traffic volume. It also populates your location on Google Maps, which is essential for attracting business when people use the “Search Nearby” function of Maps.
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Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free dashboard where small businesses can manage their presence on Google’s search engine. When someone searches for your restaurant on Google, information such as phone, address, reviews, etc. from their Google My Business page will populate on the results page. All of the information in the red box below came from that business’s GMB page.
Here is a complete guide on how to set up your Google My Business Page.
If your city is a tourist destination, it’s important to maintain your restaurant’s presence on TripAdvisor, as well. TripAdvisor caters for travelers and it’s the world’s largest travel site with more than 60 million consumers each month searching for hotels, B&B, attractions, tour packages, restaurants, etc.
TripAdvisor is a perfect online restaurant marketing platform for your business. I have seen a lot of Ghanaian restaurants being reviewed by tourists, both local and foreign on this site. Here is a complete guide on How to set up & manage your TripAdvisor business listing.
7. Time Out
Time Out is a platform which lists the best bars, finest restaurants, coolest shops and must-see sights in Ghana’s thrilling capital and 107 other cities including London, New York, Istanbul, Dubai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Lisbon across 39 countries.
Time Out’s team of local writers has scoured the cities to reveal greatest hits and exciting hidden delights including restaurants which you can take advantage of. Likewise other online restaurant marketing platforms, Time Out has sections where users can review and recommend your restaurant.
It’s a great place with a global monthly audience reach of 156 million, across multiple platforms comprising digital, mobile, apps, social media and magazines and its physical presence via Live Events and Time Out Market, where you can get your restaurant listed for more exposure.
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media platforms and was said to be the fastest growing social network in 2014, growing by a whopping 97 percent. The half-life of a Pinterest pin is 1,600 times longer than a Facebook post and the average Pinterest user spends 14.2 minutes pinning every time they log in – according to Post Planner.
Pinterest has over 150 million users with a large number sharing food, drink or recipe ideas which makes it ideal for marketing your restaurant. Create your free account on Pinterest using either your existing Facebook, Twitter account or your active email (ideal). Create boards, pin and repin, create rich pins, create a business account, verify your website and grow your followers on Pinterest.
This video will help you.
If your restaurant offers discounts and coupons, this online restaurant marketing platform’s broad reach helps new customers find your restaurant and purchase coupons. There are pros and cons to using this platform. One pro is that it brings in new customers to your restaurant. A con, however, is that you will be lucky to break even on their first visit.
Since Groupon is known for offering discounts of 50% or higher, it might actually cost your business money to promote on the platform, but if you can convert new customers to returning customers, it is well worth the investment.
10. Personal Website and Blog
The most important part of your online restaurant marketing strategy is your restaurant’s website and blog. Frequently update your blog to generate SEO and traffic. When you design your website, make sure that it is easy to navigate. Contact Webber Mill for a great website for your restaurant.
Visitors to your website should be able to find relevant information about your restaurant. This includes your address, your phone number, your menu (make it printable along with prices), and a place to reserve or order.
Here is an infographic on Online Restaurant Marketing designed by Swiftfoxx.