Blog Post / June 8, 2019

A Guide to Managing Facebook for Your Restaurant

by Selina Spinelli

Facebook continues to be the most influential social media platform when it comes to consumers finding new restaurants. And with 2.2 billion people logging into Facebook every month, managing your restaurant’s Facebook page should be a top priority for your business -- helping you to promote your restaurant and build strong relationships with your guest.

Restaurant Influence showing Facebook Marketing

In fact, having a powerful Facebook presence can help a restaurant stand out in a highly competitive market, with a recent survey uncovering that 23% of respondents turn to Facebook to find their next dining spot.

In this post, you’ll discover simple ways to ensure your restaurant Facebook page is being managed effectively, including the importance of a high customer engagement rate, book now buttons, shareable content, and event posts.

Customer Engagement

Consumers use Facebook as a tool to find out more details about the restaurant, ask questions, post their feedback and read reviews. With these interactions, diners are providing restaurants with the opportunity to engage with them and build a relationship before they even walk through the door. Here are two ways to ensure you are taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with your current and future guests.

  1. Install a Facebook Messenger Pop-Up: A quick and easy way to help manage communications with your guests is to add a Facebook Messenger pop-up to your business page. This not only allows you to be a resource for your guests, but is a more secure and private way for customers to ask questions and engage with your business in seconds. For example, if a guest wants to find out if you have a gluten free menu you can easily send them a link to your gluten-free options, hopefully converting them from discovery into a paying guest.

*Pro Tip* When talking with a guest, make sure you share a direct booking link for your website. This will not only help you save on third-party costs, but will give them a direct call to action to book a reservation at your restaurant.

  1. Engage with Organic Guest Content: Facebook the social platform consumers go when they want to share their experiences. This is why it’s important to check out and engage with all the posts your restaurant is tagged in. You’ll stay top-of-mind for consumers when you like their posts and leave comments thanking them for visiting or asking about their experience, leading to more brand loyalty down the line.

*Pro Tip* Use your activity log on Facebook to make sure you don’t let any posts you’re tagged in slip through the cracks. Here’s how:

  1. Offer Incentives to Your Loyal Followers: With authentic engagement being harder than ever in 2019, it’s important to give your loyal followers a reason to stay engaged. Restaurants can do this in a few ways. To generate more content and engagement on your page, offer guest’s 10% off their meal or a free cocktail if they ‘check in’ and share their experience on Facebook. You can also create special follower-only offerings -- like a secret menu or special monthly cocktail -- to reward guests for liking your page. Increasing the number of posts from your guests is an easy way to not only spread the word about your restaurant, but gives you more opportunities to engage with customers online to make every guest feel like a VIP.

*Pro Tip* Promote special Facebook offers through a postcard in the check, a decorated ‘follow us!’ sign near the entrance, your waiters, or even via reservation confirmation emails. This will keep the promotions top of mind for your guests, and will help increase your follower count in the process!

Book Now Option

A ‘Book Now’ button on your Facebook business page is the best way to drive more reservations when a potential guest is in search and discovery mode. If you already have a customer on your page and they like what they see, having a book now option should be a no brainer. This is a convenient way for guests to make a reservation without ever leaving your page -- and convenience is key for consumers.

Using a system like SevenRooms, you can effortlessly include a trackable link to your booking widget through the ‘Book Now’ button. Through this social log out, operators will gain access to a whole host of publicly available guest data collected through Facebook, including a guest’s full name, email and birthday. This feature creates a seamless process for the guest as well as making their experience at your restaurant even more unique and personal.

Below is an example of our Chicago-based client, Etta, using SevenRooms’ Book Now button in conjunction with a Facebook Messenger pop-up and an on-brand cover photo.

Etta Facebook Marketing Example

*Pro Tip* Make sure your Facebook presence and booking widget matches your overarching brand, colors, logos and photography. Your Facebook page is an extension of your websites online presence, so make sure you treat it the same as any other brand asset.

Shareable Content

When deciding what to share on your Facebook page, consider whether you think others would want to share the content. People love to support their favorite places, so when they see an exciting post, they’ll want to share. This is a great way to help increase your restaurant’s exposure to your follower’s networks to build your restaurant’s likes, comments and shares.

Still wondering what makes for shareable content? How many times have you been scrolling through Facebook and stopped to watch a video of your favorite dessert being made? Or to learn a bit more about new taco recipes to wow your guests for Taco Tuesday? Video is key.

With Facebook videos getting an estimated 8 billion views a day, sharing your own videos is a quick way for people to get an inside look at your restaurant’s personality, menu highlights, events, team members and more. This can be anything from a backstage look into the kitchen during pre-service, to showing how to make your homemade pasta or taking a dive into the history of your restaurant with a tour of your dining room. Content like this can give people an extra incentive to dine at your restaurant so they can eat that one of a kind pasta dish, enjoy the warm atmosphere that your GM creates or learn more about the rich family history of secret recipes you serve.

89% of US diners are using social media, so when a customer sees a post they like or want to share, they will tag their friends. When they see a mouthwatering dish they want to share with their friends or family, they are going to share and tag all of those people, so they all know which restaurant they are going to eat at next. Share photos of your signature cocktails or your fan-favorite appetizers and, chances are, they’ll get shared with fellow food lovers, who could be your next new customers.

Post about Events

Hosting a special event, unique wine tasting or pre-fix dinner? Sharing these upcoming events on your Facebook page is a sure way to increase reservations and drive revenue. New to creating Facebook events? Follow these steps to make sure your event is posted correctly.

From your News Feed, click Events in the left menu.

  1. Click + Create Event on the left side.
  2. Click Create Public Event. Anyone will be able to see your event and search for it, even if they don’t follow you. Remember, once you created a public event, you won't be able to change it to private later.
  3. Fill in the event name, location, date, time and description. This is a great place to drop in a link to your website where guests can buy tickets or book directly.
  4. Type and select keywords about your public event so it can be better recommended to people who are interested in that topic (example: food festival, wine tasting).
  5. Choose who can edit and post in your event and then click Create. You'll be taken to your event where you can invite guests, upload photos, add a cover photo or video, share posts or edit event details.

Facebook is the perfect platform to promote your restaurant’s events and get the right people through your door. In addition to posting organically on your page, restaurants can easily pay to promote events to specific audiences and target their followers, positive reviewers and people who like their page and posts.

Below is an example of how Downtown LA-based Otium, a SevenRooms restaurant partner, posted on Facebook about their Mother’s Day Brunch event.

Otium Example of Brunch on Facebook for Restaurants

This allows people to see the exact date and time of the event, along with being able to buy tickets straight from Facebook. With SevenRooms, our clients are able to post ticketed events and direct people to pre-purchase tickets before the event, without ever leaving Facebook.

With 23% of Americans looking to Facebook to find new restaurants, it is important to find ways to take advantage of this social channel. Facebook is a great place to better engage with your customers, promote your brand and share content that highlights all the great things you are serving and doing at your restaurant. These tips can help you take advantage of all these opportunities available on Facebook.

Want to learn more about using Facebook as a tool to drive direct reservations? Request a demo with SevenRooms today.

About the Author

Selina is on the Sales Development team at SevenRooms and found her passion for marketing while studying at Montclair State University. She’s always looking for ways to help restaurants connect with new and existing guests. In her free time, she’s an avid Italian foodie always searching for the next best bowl of pasta.

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