In an era where user-generated content, high-engagement rates, and page “likes” can ensure the survival of a business, restaurateurs no longer have the option to be social-media illiterate. When it’s a fact that one in four restaurants fail within the first year, according to Sage Journals, it’s clear restaurant owners need to do everything they can to help keep their doors open.
Just consider this: The Social Media Monthly reported that a staggering 72% of consumers had used Facebook to decide whether or not to eat at a restaurant. Consequently, if your restaurant doesn’t have a Facebook business page, or it’s old and outdated, you’re missing out on a massive target market.
What makes staying in business all the more challenging is the fact that Facebook has more than 50 million active business pages. So, not only do you need a business page, but you also need to stand out among the crowd. While there are countless social media marketing strategies, we’ve outlined some basics to get your Facebook business page started.
Acquire A Taste for Success
How do you know if your Facebook page is helping your business? First, you need to define what success means to you. If you don’t establish clear, measurable goals, you’re going to have a hard time calculating the potential return on investment (ROI). To help you outline your goals:
Create an objective
Do you want more foot traffic?
Do you want to amplify brand awareness?
Are you trying to reach new audiences?
Look at your objective in a S.M.A.R.T. way
Is your goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely?
Understand your Facebook page’s current position
How many people are your posts reaching?
What are your engagement rates?
Create a way to evaluate your efforts
Can you ask new customers how they found you?
Are people engaging with your posts?
Have you received more website traffic?
Start With The Basics
Jump start your Facebook page by filling out your profile in its entirety. Not only does it add to your restaurant’s credibility, but it also provides the customer with usable information. Further, without supplying your basic information, you’re reducing the probability that your page will appear in Google’s search engine results in pages (SERPs). While creating your page, be sure to fill out your:
Founding date & history
Hours of operation
Garnish Your Page With Badges
Facebook has two main acknowledgements for restaurants, the most common of which is the grey verification badge. According to Facebook’s Help Center, there are only four sets of criteria your page needs to fulfill in order to earn the verification badge:
Classify yourself as a business page
Include a profile picture (170 x 170 pixels)
Include a cover photo (820 x 312 pixels)
Provide a company listed phone number or business document
After you’ve met the requisite criteria, Facebook’s Help Page provides the following steps to earn your badge:
Click Settings at the top of your Page.
From General, click Page Verification.
Click Verify this Page.
Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country, and language.
Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code.
Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue.
Business Insider reported that about 270 million Facebook profiles are duplicated or fake. To prove you’re the real deal, earn your grey verification badge, so Facebook users know you’re legitimate.
Facebook also recognizes businesses with a “very responsive to messages” badge if you respond to messages quickly. This means businesses must respond to messages within 15 minutes and have a response rate of at least 90% over the course of one week in order to receive this accolade.
Why’s this important? Customers want to be acknowledged quickly—very quickly. In fact, a study completed by Altitude found that 80% of customers expect a response through social media within 24 hours.
Cook Up Some Quality Content
Facebook is by far the frontrunner for social media platforms with more than 2.2 billion active users, and they’re all hungry for engaging content. That’s why you have to keep your page fresh with captivating status updates, blogs, eBooks, photographs, videos, and promotions.
When creating content, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind. First, Facebook allows status updates as long as 63,206 characters, but in the case of performance, it seems that less is more. In fact, Buffer Social notes that posts that were 40 characters or less receive 86% more engagement than their wordier counterparts.
Second, consider including a call to action (CTA) in your posts. Invite followers to check out new menu ideas, read a blog, or try your latest feature. Pairing a strong CTA with quality content gives your customers clear directions on how to engage with your business.
Blog posts are naturally rich in SEO content and are great for social media material. Your articles should be entertaining to read while still adding value for the reader. For restaurateurs, potential topics could include:
New menu items
Updates in your restaurant
EBooks are another rich source of highly-engaging information. Compose one yourself or reach out to a content marketing agency that specializes in the written word. Once your eBook is published, serve up some delectable, long-form content by sharing a download link on your Facebook business page. To get the biggest bang for your buck, ask users to subscribe to your email newsletter in exchange for this tasty text (be transparent about what you do with their information!). Taking a deep-dive on a topic will not only establish trust between customers and your restaurant but will also boost your search authority.
High-quality images on Facebook go a long way. Buffer Social reports that photos are 93% of the most engaging content on Facebook. So, whether you’re snapping a picture of a delicious looking dish or your smiling staff, be sure you’re posting some rich visuals for your followers.
When it comes to your profile picture, be sure to keep it simple. Show your customers your logo or your storefront so that they can recognize your brand and location.
On the other hand, cover photos have a slightly more personal and exciting purpose. Consider using a picture of the entire staff or a featured dish. Don’t worry—you can change up the photo to see what kind of image receives the most engagement. Plus, Creative Complex suggests that you should change your cover photo every two weeks anyway.
According to Cisco, online video traffic will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic by the year 2021. But that doesn’t mean that all of this content is worth watching. If you’re posting videos, be sure you’re capturing something your customers will find interesting. Consider filming:
Facebook videos can be up to 45 minutes in length. However, the quality over quantity rule continues to apply here. To ensure you’re maximizing engagement and minimizing production time, consider reaching out to a scriptwriter.
Promotions, Surveys, and Coupons
Believe it or not, asking people to like your page does work. Increasing your page likes could be as simple as, “Show us that you liked our Facebook page at checkout, and we will take 10% off your bill!”
Facebook is also a great place to offer coupons. Instead of paying for advertising space in the newspaper or magazine, you can post it right to your wall, for free.
Customers will like your Facebook page in order to keep an eye out for a good deal. As Entrepreneur notes, elaborate and memorable posts cause users to identify your brand as innovative, interesting, and refreshing. For example, if your goal is to increase your page likes, try sharing a coupon or photos of your featured dish. However, if you aren’t posting at the right times, your followers may not see your posts.
One of the most common approaches to boost likes is to host a contest. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad approach, please note that Facebook is cracking down on contest rules.
Businesses are no longer allowed to call a post on their wall a “contest.” So, before posting a contest, read over Facebook’s guidelines or reach out to a professional social media marketer to make sure you’re following the rules. If Facebook detects an “illegal” post, your business page can be suspended.
Map It Out Like Meal Times
On average, about 293,000 statuses are updated every minute, which means you need to find the best time to post your content to stay out of the weeds. Without utilizing the “quiet” moments, you could be drowned out by all of the noise on a customers newsfeed. Adweek reported that posting at the incorrect time can reduce your reach to as low as 2% of your followers. Hootsuite research shows that the best times to post are:
Sunday & Saturday
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Monday thru Friday
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Keep The Bugs Out
When you share content, it often comes in the form of website content. The first time a page is linked to Facebook, the “Facebook Crawler” will scan—or scrape—the HTML to gather and display information, such as the website title, description, and thumbnail image. However, sometimes Facebook’s preview image is outdated or not available at all. In this case, use Facebook’s Debugger to scrape your website if you’ve made recent updates.
Enter the URL
By entering your website into Facebook’s developer tool, you’ll see what Facebook sees. If your image is unavailable, it may be an issue on the backend of your website.
Ask For Reviews/Ratings
When you notice someone loves your restaurant (likes many your posts and engages with your content often), invite them to submit a review on your Facebook page. BrightLocal found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, 68% of people will visit a business if they have read positive reviews on it first.
Furthermore, should you earn a review, be sure to thank customers for taking the time to share their thoughts. ReviewTrackers found that 53.3% of people who left a Facebook review expect a response within seven days.
Remember, starting a business page does open up your restaurant to negative comments. However, this added level of vulnerability also provides a chance for redemption. PeopleClaim reported that 95% of people who have had a negative experience and leave a bad review would revisit the business if the problem has been resolved.
If you’re interested in serving up some binge-worthy content on your Facebook page, click here to reach out to Ethos Copywriting. From blog posts and eBooks to online magazines and video scripts, we’re here to help you stock your shelves with the freshest social media material around.
If your shelves are stocked, that’s all good! Feel free to tell us what you thought of the blog, hit the like button, and share it on your social media page. And when you’re ready to restock, we’ll be here ready to help you cook up your next great plan.