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Why The Power of Photography and Social Media is Great for Restaurants

Why The Power of Photography and Social Media Is Great for Restaurants

By Brady Lee

Social media has revolutionized promotion of businesses, especially restaurants. People love sharing their experiences with photos and comments; food and dining experiences are among the most popular subjects. With just a few taps on a mobile device screen or mouse clicks on a computer, your promotion instantly reaches and engages the customers you want.

Social media benefits restaurants by engaging customers where they are – online – which raises brand awareness to positively drive sales.

Social media enables you to send narrowly targeted ads to the customers you’ve identified as ideal. You can get granular with whom you are targeting based on qualifications like age and income.

The best part is, with social media your customers are doing a lot of your promotion for you. People trust reviews from other customers rather than direct advertising, so they’re more likely to read and believe this organic content. But you need to have a balance of user-generated content and your own campaigns, to control what you promote and how you sell it. You can’t wait for customers to promote your new menu items or events.

That means you should have one person designated to handle social media for your restaurant, to coordinate campaigns and to respond to customer posts. If someone complains about the service or food they received at your restaurant, your social media coordinator can often defuse a potentially damaging situation with a swift and sincere apology. Thanking customers for compliments also goes a long way to build strong relationships that can turn into increased sales.

That doesn’t mean it has to be their only responsibility, but it helps create consistency to have one person in charge who understands social media and enjoys using it. They should have a fun personality – that helps too!

Which platforms should you use?

There are many different social media platforms out there, but not all of them are relevant to every business. Choose the ones that work for you, and don’t limit yourself to just one or two.

Facebook and Instagram have the most users of any platform. They are both owned by the same company, and you can easily advertise across both and get granular with your targeting efforts.

Pinterest is great for getting an organic following. While not as many people use it as Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest fans are loyal to the platform and use it regularly for inspiration including for food and recipes.

TikTok is geared toward a younger generation and demographic, but it is gaining popularity with older users and should not be ignored.

Once you’ve chosen your platform, be strategic about what you post. Special promotions are essential because they have a clear call to action; you need to tell the customer what you want them to do. You can’t just tell them about a discount; encourage them to “Come in today and save with our 2-for-1 deal” or whatever the offer is.

Get clever and creative with your posts. Don’t just post the same stuff over and over again with the same messaging. Mix it up and leave a mark in people’s minds about your brand.

Using photos and videos

Use photos in social media, especially for food. If you see a picture of something, it can be a quick call to action or lead to an impulse buy. You want pictures that are flattering and will make people want to order from you. It helps to have your photos professionally done, with the right lighting and staging. Don’t rely solely on amateur photos from your customers’ phones.

Including video content is also key – but not from your own page. If you can get somebody with a large following to post a video review, it could be huge.

Keep videos short. People have a short attention span. You don’t want a 3- to 5-minute video about food. You want it short; you want the food to look good, and you want it to drive your viewers to visit your website and restaurant.

Instagram Reels are an interesting way to organically get in front of people. But like everything else in social media, there’s no guarantee that people will click on it and watch. Make sure to give it an attention-getting opener so people don’t just scroll past it.

Tell your story

People love telling stories, and social media is one of the most effective tools you have for creating and sharing the story of your restaurant. Use it strategically and smartly, or your customers will decide what your story is and how to tell it.

About the Author

Brady Lee is President of Graze Craze®, a booming new concept in charcuterie boards and boxes for healthy lunches, office catering and special events. He is also Chief Operating Officer of United Franchise GroupTM (UFG), an affiliated family of brands and consultants including Graze Craze®.

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