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  • Writer's pictureMathew Collins

Digital and Social Media Marketing Ideas for Cafes and Restaurants

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Fifteen years ago, before the world became addicted to social media, cafes and restaurants used more traditional forms of marketing – like newspaper, radio and flyer drops in letterboxes. Plus there was the all-important word-of-mouth from happy customers.

Social media is like the online version of the local coffee shop – it’s where people come to hang out, spend time, and catch up on what’s been going on. There’s never been a better or more influential time to have a social media presence for your café or restaurant. On social media, you can promote your wares, communicate with customers, and attract new business.

It’s likely the obstacle between your business and effective, ongoing social media activity is lack of time. While social media is potentially a low-cost way to promote your business, it does involve the investment of a few hours every week.

  • Everyone needs to eat. Everyone has a Smartphone. This provides new opportunities for Cafe and Restaurant owners to market and engage with existing and new customers.

  • Posting regularly will allow you to build your brand and increase awareness of your business in the community.

  • Use popular hashtags to make your posts searchable and give you the ability to reach a broader audience.

  • Great dishes make great photos. Those photos (sometimes referred to as food porn pics) provide images and content that can feed your digital and social media channels. Photos can have logos and branding added to give a more professional look and feel.

  • While we are on the subject of images and the fact that today’s Smartphones provide excellent quality video, consideration should be given to producing and editing some video content. Video attracts 6-8 times higher engagement and can be part of a content strategy to keep your audience interested.

  • Facebook advertising done right is very cost-effective and will bring customers through your front door and put bums on seats. Facebook advertising gives you the ability to achieve laser-targeting of your audience. There are some simple clever ways to grow your business with a good Facebook ads strategy. Facebook advertising will work for your business.

  • Develop a response policy so any comments positive and negative can be dealt with

quickly and professionally. There are industry-specific guidelines to follow that make this easy.

  • All Digital Marketing success is built on the foundations of contact details. Make sure you have a policy in place to collect names, email addresses, and if possible phone numbers. Audiences on Facebook and Instagram can be built and expanded through customised audience features.

  • Once you build up a database/CRM of contacts you can then implement an Email Marketing strategy. Email Marketing delivers the highest ROI of any digital marketing tactic. It may not happen overnight but taking a long term view of how to grow the business with a marketing plan will deliver the results.

  • Think about when to schedule posts and ads on your social channels. Post when your fans are online.

  • Pin a welcome post from the owner to your Facebook feed. This will remain at the top and will be one of the first things that visitors will read.

  • Develop a personality, show your sense of humour, post about local and community activities, comment on the rugby result from the weekend. Make the space your own and individual by planning your content in advance so it is always kept interesting. Tag these types of Posts to bigger FB pages e.g. great result by the Canes this weekend and tag the Hurricanes post to get exposure to their audiences and followers.

  • Use special offers, promotions, and calls to action to drive new customers. This will mean you need to do some simple campaign planning. Start by understanding your target customers or customer avatars so you can develop messaging and offers that reach out to potential new customers. This helps you understand their behaviour, demographics and lifestyle pattern. Understanding who you are selling to is the primary foundation of your marketing strategy.

  • Think about the creativity elements of any campaign.

  • Ask for customer reviews and stories. These can become part of your content.

  • Use competitions and surveys.

  • Post menus and recipes.

  • Promote your social media activities in-store. Customers are usually sitting in-store with a smartphone in their hand.

  • Ask your audience for menu suggestions and preferences.

  • Post photos of your customers with a quote or comment to help build your community.

  • Take advantage of seasonal, celebratory, or special holiday periods e.g. Anzac biscuits or Hot Cross Buns at Easter.

  • Keep your website current.

  • Consider using a blog section on your website to support your SEO strategy so you can be found for free online.

  • Think about incorporating a loyalty programme so you keep customers coming back.

  • Have you considered doing office lunch deliveries?

  • Market and advertise events and catering as additional services.

  • Highlight and introduce staff as part of your content strategy.

  • Consider using Facebook live in specific ways to increase reach.

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