“You must have Facebook and post at least once, but no more than twice a day or else you risk inundating your followers. They’re like Goldilocks… you can’t come in too hot, or too cold. Same with Instagram, but your pictures can’t be all at the same or else your followers will get annoyed and unfollow you. You also have to Tweet at least seven times a day – and also you should SnapChat a story at least once every two hours!”
The social media game is a fickle one: post too much and risk being lambasted publicly or irritating your following, post too little and risk being lost in the ether.
There are hundreds of articles that shake a finger at businesses that don’t have all their social media bases covered. You’ll hear things like, “If you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist” or, “If you’re not on Snapchat, you risk losing customers to your competition.” While these warnings aren’t entirely false, for the busy restaurateur, there’s only so much time in the day and you can’t be everywhere all the time.
We won’t tell you exactly which sites would be most beneficial for your unique restaurant, your marketing plan, your budget, or your bandwidth, but we will help you look at the information to determine which social networks you should prioritize, and offer a few tips to help you optimize your time.
Audience Engagement by Social Network
According to data from the Pew Research Center, social media usage is climbing, with 65% of American adults using various platforms. Identifying which social media networks your target customer frequents most often is a good start to help you prioritize your efforts. The social media platforms you choose to focus on are best determined the by the type of content you want to publish.
+100 million active users | 8,796 photos shared every second
Content type: Real-time photos and videos that only last for 24 hours. Snapchat is a personal social network, so humanize your brand by giving your audience special perks, inside information, and an intimate look behind the scenes of your restaurant.
Audience type: Expect highly engaged followers.
What the web is saying: “While images and video content do disappear quickly, due to the nature of Snapchat and how the network operates, this can be used to a company’s advantage as motivation to get an audience to take action, before the content expires. By offering your followers coupon codes and limited time discount offers, you can engage and convert your fans.” (juicyonlinemedia.com)
Content ideas: Short, time-sensitive promotions, behind-the-scenes, how it’s made. For more, see our blog post on Snapchat for restaurants.
+1.6 Billion active users | 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook on waking
Content type: Anything and everything your restaurant publishes or related to your brand. This includes contests, promotions, press releases, special events, news, blog content, and even general interest content. For example, if you’re a Cajun restaurant, you could post about the history of Mardis Gras, and then about your weekend drink specials.
Audience type: Engaged followers who want to keep abreast about your restaurant’s news or are invested in your brand.
What the web is saying: “Your restaurant’s Facebook page becomes an extension of your website, a place where customers go to view photos, learn about specials and events and interact with the restaurant and other patrons.” (juicyonlinemedia.com)
Content ideas: Recipes, multimedia, reviews. See The Expert Guide: Restaurant Social Media.
+40 Million active users | 70 million photos shared every day
Content type: Clean, manicured photos of your dishes and images and videos that focus on the culture of your restaurant. Contests are welcome, and hashtags encouraged.
Audience type: Both engaged customers and food-porn-loving followers of all kinds.
What the web is saying: “For restaurants, Instagram’s visual platform can work as a discovery engine as well. Post eye-catching and enticing photos of plated meals to show off your best dishes. Use hashtags that include cuisine type and location information – #authenticItalian or #Chicago – to help local diners discover your Instagram account and ultimately your restaurant.” (juicyonlinemedia.com)
Content ideas: Daily specials, featured dishes, special events. For more, see The Expert Guide: Restaurant Social Media and the Quick Tip Guide to Hashtags
310 million active users | 1 billion unique visits to sites with embedded tweets per month
Content type: Short posts, photos, links and conversations. While Twitter is not the forum for long form posts, should you have a photo, a promotion, or some press on your website that you’d like to link back to, Twitter’s a great place to do it. It can also be a form for discussion.
Audience type: Information seekers and customers.
What the web is saying: “It is particularly appealing to "information junkies" so if your business lends itself to the provision of topic-based news or timely insights, Twitter is a great choice. As with Facebook, Twitter is more effective when it is a two-way platform in which you respond to and engage with followers.” (ink.com)
Content ideas: Links to reviews and special offers. You can also cross-market quite effectively on Twitter, re-posting any material you post on Facebook and Instagram. For more information, see The Expert Guide: Restaurant Social Media.
To Sum it All Up
When it comes to social media and most marketing strategies, it’s a lot of trial and error. One campaign might work. The next might flop. You might see a lot of success on Instagram but not on Twitter – and that’s ok! Go where your following is interacting. Most of all develop and market content that you feel best represents your brand and is also operationally manageable. Pay attention to user demographics and shifting habits and try different social media platforms based on the type of content you’re looking to push out. If you’re having trouble managing one platform alone, delegate the responsibility to other managers and staff. In the social media world, the more contributors, the merrier.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory