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The good news is that social media consumption and engagement is up, as many diners are stuck at home and therefore glued to their devices. Data from Sprout Social shows an increase in engagements on brands’ social posts of around 44 per day in April, compared to Q1 2020.

Get The Basics Right 

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the basics right. If you’re pretty well-established on social media, then great! Scroll down this page for advice and guidance on how to drive engagement.

If you’re less au fait with the inner workings of the main social players, or even question why you should use social media at all, then we’ve got you covered.

Why use social media?

  • Why not?! There are over billion daily users on Facebook alone, with people sharing, posting and liking all manner of content.
  • From snapping their meals to leaving reviews, consumer endorsement and advocacy via social can be really powerful. So if you want to grow your customer base, social media is sure to give you that added reach.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: How do I make the most out of each platform?

  • Firstly, consider whether it’s worth your while having a business profile on each of the main social platforms. Do you have the resource to manage and regularly update all 3 channels? If not, prioritise one or two based on the type of content you’re willing and able to create, your audience demographic and your business objectives.
  • Take the time to understand each platform and tailor your content accordingly, using the language and tone most suited to each. Facebook is casual and informative; use strong images and hashtags on Instagram; and keep it brief on Twitter.
  • Check out our more detailed guidance on each platform.

Share Your Safety Protocol and Build Diner Trust

When it comes to eating and drinking out, diners will be looking for things such as commitments to safety and the local community. Invest the time to build strong relationships with customers via social media and this will help to ensure that your business will be considered first when they do venture back out.

Whilst ensuring the safety and health of you and your team is paramount, the next step is to get creative and develop a strong diner engagement plan:

  • Show diners that you’re committed to minimise the spread of the virus by adhering to cleaning and sanitisation guidelines. They need to see that you’re fully committed to ensuring their safety.
  • In order to adhere to social distancing measures you will likely need to move around your furniture and will not be at full capacity. Communicate this as a positive message and use photo and video to show customers the changes you have made front of house.

Don’t Forget About the Food

You might be competing for custom from those wanting delivery or take-out as well as those dining in, so ensuring your dishes are visually appealing and therefore attention-grabbing is important.

  • Consumers opting for delivery usually do so in order to experience restaurant-quality food at home, so if you’re marketing your offer using social media be sure your dishes look the part.
  • Keep to your own house style – this isn’t about being something you’re not – but aim for the best quality photography you can manage. Check out our guide to perfecting your food photography.

Plant-based eatery Clean Bean, Seaham, uses well-lit imagery to showcase the vibrancy of their takeaway menu:

User Generated Content is Your Friend 

As customers start to return to your establishment, consider how they can become your advocates for driving even greater footfall.

  • Reviews via social media should be encouraged and could really help to bolster footfall. Simply having a Facebook page set up could mean that your loyal customers can mention your business when recommending their favourite places to their friends.
  • Why not make a weekly habit of re-posting your positive reviews? You might be surprised at the level of quality photography some of your customers can achieve with their own smartphones. That way, customers will be consistently reinforced about your brand and your social media timelines will be full of great content. Your customer will feel special – and you get free quality photography! Just be sure to credit the original photographer.
  • Be creative in how you use user-generated content. For instance, if you're looking for some feedback on a new dish or rejuvenated menu staple, why not use social media? It could be as easy as posting a photo with the caption 'what are your thoughts on the new special?' Happy customers will often be much more vocal than you'd expect if given some encouragement.

We love how independent Italian eatery Sugo Pasta Kitchen uses customer photos to engage with their following whilst they’re closed for business:

Join the Conversation

If someone gives you a great review on any of your social media pages, then it's a nice touch to say thank you. Taking a couple of seconds to respond will go a long way, and it'll highlight the review to the rest of your audience.

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