6 Ways Restaurants Can Best Use Facebook

Facebook offers EVERY restaurant a great way to stay in touch with their customers and find new ones. The key is in providing timely information and great value.

Restaurant

By offering regular, fun, social information and timely updates via Facebook posts, a page has started well! By then making sure you offer easy access to information, deals, and more RIGHT ON Facebook to would-be customers, restaurants can really benefit. This provides easy, fast, and immediate access and removes barriers of potentially losing fans by transferring them to your website (more on that below).

6 Things Restaurants Should Do on Facebook

1. Post Inspiring Content, Images, and News Regularly

While it could be tempting to offer deals, specials, and more continually, please remember that social media is about building relationships, being social, and offering value. Users are on Facebook to connect and engage with things of interest. Being too salesy all the time will turn fans off. A loyal following and community can only be created if you actively seek out and share valuable content, yours and community related, that inspires, informs, educates and connects.

Post on a regular schedule, such as 2-3 times per day at key times and in a way that invites Likes, Shares, and Comments. Use a mix of post types from status updates to photos of food and short videos of life and times at the restaurant.

NOTE: people are visual and the popularity of Facebook and Pinterest prove that people connect with images. If you want to quickly capture the attention of your fans or followers, add images that are eye-catching and pleasing to the eye. Also, consider using simple tools like Vine and Instagram’s Video tool along with Facebook Video and YouTube as ways to easily create shareable videos that display well on Facebook.

2. Highlight Special Items on the Fan Page Cover Image

Now that Facebook no longer has a text limit of 20% on Cover Images, use the Cover Image regularly as a means of showcasing valuable items like this week’s special, new seasonal offerings, or pictures of the live band, whatever is relevant to your restaurant! This can be changed out weekly or 2x a week. Consider using a Cover Image template to enable you to customize images quickly and be sure to edit the image to include a description and a link when it is posted. Here’s 12 more ideas for creating buzz with your Cover Image.

3. Include a Menu Tab

It’s not rocket science! Let visitors on your Facebook Page know what you got right on Facebook!

Add a tab and add your menu to the tab. Want to save more time? Use the TabSite Website ReSizer and simply add your existing menu from your website to a Facebook tab! Why? It saves time! Update your menu on your website and the tab is updated automatically since it’s the same page, just on Facebook! Website ReSizer allows the powerful advantage of making any website page fit perfectly in a tab.

Then share updates to your menu via a post on Facebook and link to the tab via a Smart URL (mobile friendly) to take visitors direct to the tab!

4. Offer Reservations via a Facebook Tab

Does Friday evening get packed at your hot spot? Do you already offer reservations via your website? Then simply bring it into Facebook for use! Same as the menu tab above, create a tab and use the Website ReSizer app to bring your web reservations page into Facebook for use. Then post about it in the news feed before prime time and get customers used to coming to your page on Facebook to make their reservations! Sweetness!

This adds a great dimension of functionality to your fan page. When people are on Facebook, they want to stay on Facebook, and this allows them to do so by giving them the information and tools right on the Facebook page tab.

5. Use Facebook Check Ins and Check In Deals

Restaurants can have the Check In feature enabled, which is valuable to get extra exposure on Facebook!

Facebook offers quite a variety of page category options. One of the biggest features that any local business should take advantage of is the Check In option.

This will allow users to check into your location, which is helpful for at least two reasons. First, it can raise awareness of your business and location with friends of the user checking in. Second, check ins can be part of Graph Search results, so that if a Facebook user is searching for a restaurant in Chicago that friends have visited, check ins appear in results.

Graph Search result with check-ins of friends listed.

Graph Search result with check-ins of friends listed.

To check or change your Page category, go to the Admin Panel and select Edit Settings. Then go to Basic Information, and find Category at the top of the list.

Check In Deals

A big bonus that Facebook offers is ability for locations with Check In feature to offer a deal for visitors checking in. This is a great way to generate some buzz and get more exposure leading to more customers. (Note: I’ve seen that they are not available in some countries).

What is a Check-in Deal?

A Check-in Deal is a way to offer an incentive to customers to check-in to your business on Facebook with their mobile devices. When they check-in, you can offer any of the following Deals in exchange:

Individual: Offer a discount to an individual for simply checking in.

Loyalty: Offer a discount or freebie for checking in a certain number of times.

Friend: Offer a Deal to groups of friends who check-in together.

Charity: A check-in results in a donation to the specified charity.

Access Deals in your Page Admin area:

check-in-offer-deals

Check In Offer Deal Types as Shown in Page Admin

Check In Offer Deal Types as Shown in Page Admin

6. Offer a Special Deal for Email Sign-ups via a Facebook Tab

By adding a Email sign-up tab to your Facebook page and making users aware of it periodically through posts and tips, restaurants grow their email list and then reach potential buyers and sellers via this means as well. This is critical! Email continues to be a primary marketing success method. When it gets into the inbox, it gets attention.

Email marketing continues to provide value to those who use it by creating a routine of regular information and education that is in the inbox! With integration’s for tabs from services like MailChimp and Constant Contact among others, having a custom tab for email sign-ups is a snap! More powerful still than a basic sign-up form is to create incentive by offering some of value, a free guide, offer, or resource, that is the motivator that is shared to encourage users to opt-in.

Deal Download Offer Tab options >>

tabs

Together these tips implemented and carried out with regular news feed updates on your restaurant fan page can be a valuable method of marketing to grow more customers!

What about your business? Most of these tips can also apply to other industries as well! Do you have other ideas to add to the mix?

About Mike Gingerich

Author: Mike Gingerich, TabSite Co-Founder. Facebook and Social Marketer. Part geek, part marketer, total social media junkie. Mike is a writer and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. He is a regular contributor to Social Media Examiner and Business2Community. Mike is a marketing, social media, and internet enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated web and Social Media Strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.