‘Tis The Season: Boost Restaurant Holiday Revenue with Social Media Marketing Tips
December 17, 2020
From content ideas to driving traffic, read insider tips from Madeline Grenadier of digital marketing agency, Digital Society LLC.
This holiday season, restaurants are focusing on driving orders online for special holiday meal kits, catering specials, takeout, holiday merchandise and gift cards. As indoor dining restrictions go back into effect from a surge in COVID-19 cases and outdoor dining becomes trickier with colder temperatures, the website is the restaurant’s most important real estate, acting as its digital storefront. Guests might not know what specials items that restaurants are offering. Restaurants can get creative with their holiday marketing strategies to drive traffic and boost revenue this season. We talked with Madeline Grenadier, Founder & CEO of Digital Society LLC. — a leading digital marketing agency — on ways restaurants can maximize their social media strategy to boost revenue this holiday season.
Why Social Media During the Holidays Is So Important
Social media is a vital part of any business's marketing strategy and this year is no different. “This holiday season is unlike any other we've experienced due to COVID-19 and social media is more important than ever for restaurants. With how much has changed for each business, it's important for restaurants to continue putting a clear and transparent message out to their audience through social media and marketing,” says Grenadier.
She explains that while “it can feel draining to focus on social media at this point in the year, restaurants should encourage their team to get creative, make new content, showcase holiday specials and really have fun with it to grow their community engagement.”
Grenadier explains, “a lot of people are at home scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and will be celebrating differently this year because of COVID-19, so restaurants should let them know that they would love to celebrate with them.”
Restaurants can use social media to highlight all the creative offerings they’re promoting for the holidays. But restaurants who aren’t necessarily comfortable with social media or are new to it shouldn’t feel intimidated.
“A lot of business owners get intimidated with content and posting but they should always remember that it does not have to be perfect. Real, organic content always performs well.”
The Ever-Important Role of a Restaurant’s Website
Restaurant operators are aware of the need and role their website plays for their business. However, they may not know how to optimize it to maximize the potential for revenue.
“I encourage every restaurant to ensure they team up with a website design company like BentoBox, that optimizes websites to work on mobile and that makes it simple to keep fully updated with the most accurate information throughout the holidays. If restaurants are putting in the effort on social media and don't have a website that works when a customer clicks on it, they’re going to lose them very quickly. People want information and they want it that minute, so having an updated website that loads quickly is crucial,” says Grenadier.
But a website can be more than just a place to highlight up-to-date information. Restaurants can utilize powerful website features such as the ability to add message banners, pop-up alerts, social media integrations, easy-to-read menus, online ordering and more. Grenadier agrees.
“Utilize all of these so that your community is aware of what you have going on.”
When it comes to the message that restaurants are looking to convey, she explains the importance of being consistent across all of the restaurant’s brand channels.
“If you have one set of hours on social media and a different set on your website, it's going to confuse people. That could ultimately cause frustration if they show up at the wrong time.”
BentoBox makes being consistent across multiple channels easy with LocalSync. With LocalSync, anytime a restaurant updates their hours, location, phone number or menus, that information is updated in real-time across Google My Business and Facebook — saving restaurant operators time and effort.
Holiday Social Media Trends Restaurants are Using
Restaurants can use social media to their advantage to drive awareness around holiday operations and specials they’re offering. But it’s not all about driving brand awareness. Ultimately, the goal is to use social media channels as a tool to drive traffic back to the website to convert into a paying customer. But first, there are some small changes restaurants should make if they haven’t already.
“Restaurants should change out their bio on Instagram to let everyone know their updated hours, list each way they can place online orders,” says Grenadier.
When it comes to the actual content that restaurants can create to boost engagement with their followers, Grenadier offers insights into trends she’s witnessed this year.
“I am seeing great engagement on behind the scenes videos and photos. Give followers gift ideas and let customers know how they can support the restaurant this year,” says Grenadier. “Make sure that captions link back to the website URL or let them know how they can get to the pages they need. Don't be afraid to have a little fun with captions or even try out a new platform like TikTok.”
She offers a few tips and examples of how restaurants can create further engagement with their followers.
Caption Example: You made it through 2020 — aka the longest year ever — and deserve to have a drink (or 4) on our patio this NYE. Book a table at getbento.com.
Here are some fun content ideas that have been popular:
Video of a member of the team carrying an online order out to a car and discussing how to place an order
Video of a bartender mixing up one of their signature cocktails and discussing going to the website for reservations
Take a photo or short video with a message from the owners about this year and how the community can support the restaurant
Photos with holiday decorations (wreaths, menorahs, lights, Elf on the Shelf, etc.) and the dishes or cocktails that are popular this time of year, encouraging guests to enjoy one more delicious meal before 2021.
With Stronger Content Comes More Engagement
With COVID-19, restaurants have had to rely on their online presence more than ever before. For some, it’s a whole new arena. Grenadier offers advice for restaurants that are new to the digital marketing landscape.
“I know that it can seem overwhelming to add another item to the to-do list, but optimizing the website, social media channels, and overall digital marketing strategy will benefit any restaurant in the long run and help them stay the course into 2021.”
Transparency is key right now and guests are eager to help.
“A lot of people are looking for ways to support their local restaurants so continue to let them know how they can do so. A restaurant’s community is rooting for them, so they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. They should continue to be transparent with their guests and if they are temporarily closed, do not stop putting up content! Keep posting and keep the website active so that they don't lose followers or make people think that they have shut down for good.”
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