RPOWER POS - How To Use Social Media to Increase Restaurant Sales

How To Use Social Media to Increase Restaurant Sales

  • By: RPower POS
How To Use Social Media to Increase Restaurant Sales

With the rise of digital activity, social media, and online ordering, your online presence is a crucial factor in your restaurant’s success. This is especially true in the wake of the pandemic, as even more people took to online communities and digital interactions when they couldn’t visit their favorite people, places, and restaurants in person. 

The truth is, social media has become a core part of any restaurant’s marketing strategy, as it allows you to connect with existing and potential customers whether they’re at home, at work, or on the go. Even back in 2019, the importance of social media for restaurants was undeniable; a survey by a restaurant marketing agency called MGH uncovered some pretty telling insights about how social media can influence your customers' buying decisions:

  • 36% of US diners follow restaurants on social media

  • 45% of US diners said they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time after seeing a social media post from the establishment itself

  • 22% of US diners said a restaurant’s social post convinced them to return

Needless to say, with the right approach, social media can help you attract new customers, retain existing ones, and increase restaurant sales. But the real question is: how do you use it effectively? In this post, we teach you exactly how to leverage social media to increase your restaurant’s sales.

Build your brand

For better or for worse, your brand influences your customers’ perception of your business. So if you aren’t already making an effort to build your brand and keep it consistent across all mediums, you should start. Between your name, logo, messaging, pictures, and online presence, a cohesive brand can help create a community around your business. This can help you build customer loyalty, raise awareness about what you have to offer, connect with your audience, and ultimately, drive more sales for your restaurant. 

Once you’ve established consistent brand guidelines for your restaurant, make sure to create social media accounts that reflect your brand. This means using the same (or similar) colors and logos across different platforms, posting similar pictures that align with your brand, and using the same messaging and tone in your captions and interactions. Consistency makes your restaurant instantly recognizable to existing customers and entices potential customers to interact with your brand.

Post appetizing pictures

Social media is a highly visual medium, so anyone who wants to build a following needs to be posting high-quality images. This is especially true for restaurants, whose customers are deeply interested in seeing what they’re getting before they order. By filling your social media feed with high-quality photos of your menu items, you’ll be able to entice existing customers to place orders when they’re hungry, and attract attention from new potential customers who come across your social media accounts but haven’t ordered yet. After all, if they’ve never visited your restaurant, pictures are pretty much the only way they can see what you have to offer.

Publish interesting content

Beyond pictures, customers and other social media users often want to hear what else you have to say – especially if you’ve already built a strong brand. Consider posting relatable content to your social media accounts, or even to your website if you have a lot to say, since you can drive traffic to your website through social media. What you post is entirely up to you, but many restaurants have had success with posting recipes, sharing their company story, posting employee spotlights, and writing blog posts about trends, news, or other interesting topics in their industry. Publishing great content can help you further build a community around your brand and drive traffic to your website, where customers can place orders, contact your team, or find your address so they can visit your restaurant in person.

Encourage online ordering

With winter weather approaching, more people working from home, and an increased demand for delivery and pick up orders, online ordering is more popular than ever. If you don’t already have an efficient online ordering system, you should consider setting one up because it’s a great way to create an additional revenue stream for your business. 

Once your online ordering system is up and running, don’t be shy about promoting it on your social media accounts and website. You can post stories that tell customers that they can order your food online, publish pictures that highlight a menu item and tell customers that they’re only a few clicks away from having it in front of them, or just put your restaurant on their radar for the next time they’re thinking about ordering delivery or takeout. In any case, using social media to promote online ordering is a direct way to increase sales for your restaurant.

Engage with customers

Once you’ve set up social media accounts, established brand guidelines, started posting great pictures and created a consistent publishing schedule, you might notice more of your customers (and even other people) interacting with your content and social media accounts. This is exactly what you want. Once they’ve made contact – whether by personal message, email, or in a comment, you have an opportunity to build a relationship with them. Be sure to respond to any comments, questions, and messages in a timely and friendly manner so that customers can see that you’re active on your social media platforms. Doing so will help you continue to build out a community around your brand and build customer loyalty.

Expand your reach

Unless your followers are sharing your content (bonus points if your content is so good that they want to share it with their friends), there’s a good chance that your social media posts are only reaching the people who follow your account, which often happens to be customers.

If you want to expand your reach to connect with new potential customers and other social media users in your area, there are a number of things you can do:

  • Hashtags: By incorporating hashtags into your captions, people who follow those hashtags will come across your posts, even if they don’t follow you. This is a great way to reach people beyond your current audience, even though there’s a possibility that they don’t live close enough to your restaurant to order your food.
  • Paid ads: With paid ads and promoted posts, you can expand your reach beyond your existing followers and attract additional customers. This approach allows you to target specific demographics, so you could run ads in your area so that the people who see them are close enough to your restaurant to place orders.
  • Promotions: If you want to increase the number of people seeing your content, consider running promotions. Contests, discounts, and giveaways are all great ways to get customers talking about your restaurant to their followers, as they create incentives to share your content and raise awareness about your brand.
  • Influencers: Building a social media audience is hard, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have thousands of followers right away. If you want to reach a larger group of people in your area, consider connecting with local influencers and giving them discounts or complementary orders in exchange for them posting about it to their audience. Since they already take great pictures and have existing relationships with their audiences, they’ll be able to attract a larger group of potential customers.
  • Reposting: Interacting with your customers’ messages and comments is important, but you can go above and beyond by reposting their content. If somebody posts a story or picture of your food and tags your restaurant, don’t hesitate to repost it for your followers to see. It will make your customer happy to see that you value your business, and will show visits to your page how much your existing customers love your food.

Create a location tag

Once you’ve set up your social media pages, you can go a step further by creating a location tag for your business. When customers visit your restaurant, they can post stories or pictures with that tag, showing their friends and followers how much they’re enjoying the experience. This approach is especially useful if you have a particularly interesting or appealing space, as many social media users like to visit “instagrammable” places to show off to their followers. And if your restaurant and location is tagged, you’ll have a handful of new customers wanting to visit, and you won’t even need to tell them where you’re located.

Bottom line

With the rise of online interactions, digital marketing is absolutely essential for restaurants that want to connect with their audiences. Social media is an especially useful tool for restaurants, as it can help entice new customers, build relationships with existing ones, and ultimately, increase restaurant sales. If you’re not already using it, make sure to incorporate social media marketing into your digital marketing plan, as it’s one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to connect with your audience and drive business to your restaurant.


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