• Rebecca Ernst, Brittany Lopez & Lynne Schultz

Social Media in the Restaurant, Foodservice, and Hospitality Industry

In recent years, social media has become a driving force for marketing and advertising within the foodservice and hospitality industries. Consumers are turning to social media sites to obtain information, lookup reviews, post photos from their experience and more, making it invaluable to your business. If you are not currently utilizing social media to advance your marketing, it is time to think about starting. But where do you begin?


Organic vs. Paid

Luckily, most social media sites are free to use, and if you are just starting out and do not have a large budget, organic or free posting is the way to go. We find that organic social media provides a great foundation for establishing your brand, building relationships with your followers, gaining new followers, and providing support to those that need it.


If you are looking to advertise a particular product or service and need to reach a much larger demographic, then a paid route may be beneficial for you. Many sites give you the option to boost your posts for a fee, which allows you to reach a larger audience.


Using contests, hyper-links, and other tags can help your business track successes and grow your customer base.


Advantages of Marketing via Social Media

Did you know that the average person spends two-and-a-half hours on social media daily? A recent report in the New York Times shows that 72% of consumers use Facebook to make restaurant and hospitality related decisions. Social media is the perfect opportunity to get your business in front of new faces as well as cultivating repeat business.


Advantages of properly utilizing social media include getting information out quickly to the masses, building brand equity, developing culture, and keeping your company fresh in the consumer’s mind. When the pandemic first hit, the hospitality industry was in a whirlwind. The country shut down, regulations were set in place, and the future was uncertain for a lot of businesses. We found that social media was the best way to relay information, notify customers of closings/openings, menu changes, delivery protocol, etc. It was a safe space that we could directly interact with our base while they were at home.


What to Post and How Often?

We get asked this question a lot and the answers vary by business. If you are in the restaurant industry you cannot go wrong with posting photos of your menu items, specials, business information, employee spotlights etc. When we get stuck, we like to look up what National food holidays are coming up. National Pizza Day on February 9th tends to be a crowd favorite with over 300,000 posts including the hashtag #NationalPizzaDay on Instagram. Another great source of content comes directly from your customers. If they tag you in a post, ask for their permission to repost it on your page, this provides you with a whole other avenue of content. The key to social media is to stay current. It’s a bit of a turn off when you visit a business’s page, and they haven’t posted in over two years. This does not mean you need to post five times a day every day, in fact there should be a happy medium. We recommend posting 2-4 times a week on Instagram and Facebook, twice a week if you have a company LinkedIn, and 1-2 times every other day on Twitter. This also varies by business and number of followers. The more followers you have the more you should be posting and interacting.


Most companies understand that social media is no longer just a source of entertainment, instead, it is a vital business platform for companies to showcase and grow their brands. We started the @tri.state.eats Instagram five years ago and it now has close to 5,000 organic followers that interact with us daily. In 2019 we decided to start a social media marketing company called Social Llama specializing in social media startup and maintenance for various industries. We aim to help businesses that either do not have someone on site to handle their social media or simply don’t have the time. If you ever have questions or need social media assistance, please reach out to us at info@socialllama.biz We’d love to hear from you!


The photo with the phone and the food was from this site www.foodingredientsfirst.com.


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