As a restaurant owner or manager, you might ask yourself: “Should I sacrifice my time and energy on Facebook anymore?”. Facebook is not as popular among young people (think Generation X and Z, so those born after 1980) as Instagram and TikTok; however, you shouldn’t abandon it!
In this post, I will show you why Facebook is still relevant for your restaurant and how to best use it to your advantage. Furthermore, if you’re into Instagram, check out my posts about best Instagram examples and best practices.
Over 220 million Americans have a Facebook account. That’s close to two-thirds of the nation. That means that most of your target customers can probably be found on this platform. If you want to increase awareness of your restaurant, Facebook can be very useful.
You can communicate directly with your customers through your business page. By analyzing their engagement, you can learn what they’re interested in, what they enjoy, and what they want to learn about. Furthermore, you can ask them questions about new dishes they would want to see, new drinks, etc.
You can also use Facebook to learn about who your actual audience is. Facebook gives your basic demographic data regarding your audience such as age, gender, and location. This way, you can make sure that the people you attract are your target market.
Facebook is an effective way to improve your Search Engine Optimization efforts. Your posts and links are indexed by search engines, which can boost your SEO. However, it is important to post relevant content and do it consistently to achieve the best results.
Facebook is not your website, so not everything has to be perfect. On the contrary, showing a more personal side is highly appreciated by customers. One of the best ways to do that is through video, including Facebook Live. The good news is that you don’t need fancy equipment or experienced staff – a microphone, and a light ring should be enough to create videos of good quality. Again, being genuine is much more important than being perfect.
Facebook is a great place to share news about your restaurant, the menu, or events. It’s much easier to post content there than on your website, and, more importantly, customers often look for updates on Facebook.
Your competitors are very likely to have Facebook Pages for their businesses. It’s not the only reason to have your own; however, you might be losing potential customers who could not find you on Facebook but found your competition. Many customers are looking for social interactions, and if you aren’t engaging with them, your competition will.
Facebook Ads let you put up advertising campaigns, find people in your target audience, and show them what you offer. Honestly, organic (unpaid) reach on Facebook is minimal and only around 5.5% of your followers are likely to see your posts. However, Facebook Ads let you target specific users who fit your target audience. You can also pick a goal for your advertising campaign that Facebook helps you achieve thanks to its algorithm. On top of that, you can control your budget and start with just a few dollars per week.
First of all, your Facebook Page should be updated regularly, so that your customers can find the most current information about your restaurant.
However, there is more to it. You shouldn’t post too infrequently or too often – it’s important to find the right balance, which Facebook Insights can help you with. The content you post should also be diverse so that your followers don’t get tired of you. You can include some special offers for your Facebook followers in order to encourage more customers to follow your page.
Simply posting on Facebook is not going to be enough; you should also engage with your audience. 34.5% of users choose social media as the top choice for customer service, so if a customer was not happy with their experience at your restaurant, you’re likely to hear about it on Facebook. 90% of customers have directly communicated with a business on social media. You want to make your customers happy and feel like they are being taken seriously, which is why you should monitor your Facebook page for new comments and reviews.
In order to use Facebook for your restaurant to the fullest, you can make it fun and show what happens behind the scenes. For instance, make a video of cooks doing prep or working through service. If you have any wine tastings for your staff, you can highlight those too. Like I mentioned before, the key is to make your Facebook page personable, so that your followers feel like you’re all close friends.
In order to build your Facebook audience, you need to make it easy to find your Facebook page. To do so, you should include links to your Facebook page (and all other social media accounts) on your website and your email newsletter. Furthermore, you can promote your Facebook page on your other social media channels, as well as offline (at your restaurant).
Native content is images, text, or videos that are created and uploaded directly to Facebook. The majority of videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook have much higher views than videos linked from YouTube. Native images also do well on Facebook and are more appealing than plain text. You want diversity in your content, so you should mix it up with images and videos instead of relying solely on one type of content.
It may not be what you’d like to hear, but you will only reach a considerable number of users if you run Facebook Ads. From my experience, Facebook Ads are an effective tool for increasing awareness about your restaurant, not necessarily to directly drive sales. It makes sense because people don’t usually look for specific things on Facebook – that’s what Google is for – but if they see an interesting offer, they might click.
Facebook Events are a great tool if you organize any free or ticketed events at your restaurant. This way, you can post all the information and updates in one place, include a link to the ticket-selling site, and have an idea about how many people will show up. However, don’t forget that a lot more people usually click the “I’m going” button on Facebook than actually show up.
Facebook isn’t dead and there are numerous ways that you can use Facebook for a restaurant. Your Facebook page can include all the timely updates about your business, you can post videos and photos that make your restaurant more approachable, you can also deal with dissatisfied or curious customers.
What is more, a Facebook page is a good indicator of who your target audience is. It also helps you target more potential customers thanks to Facebook Ads.
Taking all of this into account, I would argue that Facebook will be relevant for restaurants for years to come.