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Traditional media is almost obsolete. While there is still something captivating about reading print ads or books and magazines, the rise of online platforms above all others is undeniable. How can it be avoided when everything is readily available at one’s fingertips?

Digital media has given the restaurant industry a unique boost. Now that everything is accessible online, it’s become much easier for restaurants to advertise their business and reach a wider audience. Social media is essentially a marketing tool for businesses, which can be harnessed to boost sales. Here are a few basic tips for turning your social media account into a powerful marketing tool.

1. Post and think like your customers

This is probably the golden rule for all busineses on social media. Think about your brand identity, stick with it, and post according to how you would want your customers to perceive your business. Create all your content with that unique personality in mind. 

If you want to be a neighborhood joint with a loyal and consistent following, post content with a friendly, casual tone that fits your restaurant’s vibe and resonates with your target audience. If you're a fine dining establishment, you might want to build an aura of exclusivity and luxury. Know what gets people talking and the trends they’re responding to. Fine dining restaurant Mecha Uma, for example, posts elegant and minimalistic food photos. Their Instagram feels luxurious and exclusive, and speaks to their target audience.

2. Post food porn frequently

One of the most popular hashtags on Instagram is #food, so the more photos you post of your menu, the more likes and potential visits you get. And since great food porn spreads like wildfire, you need amazing visuals for people to want to bookmark your restaurant as one they want to visit. 

Local restaurants Locavore and Sarsa, for example, post almost daily. Study the posts gaining the most traction on their accounts in terms of likes and response, get insights to improve your menu offerings and learn which promos work best. Locavore and Sarsa have tons of followers because they give netizens what they want: food porn.

3. Engage with viewers

People often forget how personal social media is. Try subtle marketing instead of overt promos. If netizens feel that your feed is run by a person instead of a machine, you’ll do a better job of selling your business. Constantly engage positively—reply to comments, DM back as quickly as possible, ask questions and listen to feedback. If there’s negative feedback, apologize sincerely and find a positive solution. A great example of a restaurant that engages its readers is MasarapBa, who reply to almost every comment. This constant engagement goes a long way towards increasing their following.

4. Use all relevant social channels

With each platform catering to a specific need, it's not enough to be on one platform. Facebook is the first stop for most patrons, so keep your opening hours, menu and other important information updated. Instagram is the most personal, where people look at your food photos and respond quickly with comments. 

Utilise new features since algorithms favour pages who update often. Insta Stories and live features give viewers an insight into your business. Aside from concentrating on your own feed, look for influencers that you can partner with and find ways to increase your viewership with these partnerships, ensuring tags and hashtags are used to direct people to your business.

5. Make the most out of it

As a general rule, use your social media often and well. This is your main channel of advertising, so invest time and effort into it. Boost your posts, check insights, run contests. Think of what will engage people and innovate. 

Making the most out of it could also mean researching ways to improve, such as discovering new trends, looking at other restaurants, researching the best suppliers, etc. 8Cuts Burgers, for example, has a great Instagram feed featuring social media-driven contests, new deals, and really eye-catching visuals and gifs to keep people entertained.

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