The One-Stop Facebook Marketing Guide for F&B
You probably already have a Facebook page is for your restaurant. It’s essential – if people have heard of your restaurant, you can bet they’re checking online for reviews, promotions or even just opening hours. The Page shows also acts as a channel of communication. You can tell customers if you’re closed on a particular day for a private event and they can tell you what they love (or hate) about your restaurant.
The big question is, how do you use your restaurant’s Facebook page to get loyal customers and reach new ones? In May, iCHEF teamed up with Facebook to help restaurant owners figure this out and boy, was there a big turnout!
Here’s what we learned about Facebook marketing so far
1. Use Facebook AND Instagram
Instagram is where people go to look for food recommendations, and discover new restaurants. That doesn’t mean you have to shell out for food bloggers or “Instagram influencers” to eat at your F&B outlet. Try hashtagging: #foodiesg, #igsg, #instafood…
Our guests from Soi 55 shared how they got creative with Instagram: they built a wall! (No, not the kind that Donald Trump wants.)
Displaying their customers’ Instagram photos actually encouraged more posts on Instagram. Plus it’s a cool way to pay their customers a big compliment. Pretty smart use of social media there!
People only visit your Facebook page if they already like it or are searching for it (unless you advertise on Facebook.) Hashtags and the “Explore” option, which shows you posts you might like, make Instagram good for organic growth and gaining visibility.
2. Use attractive graphics and well-taken photos.
You don’t need to invest in an expensive camera; with the many photo editing apps available nowadays, there is no excuse for having bad photos. Here are a few web apps we like: Canva, Pablo (https://pablo.buffer.com) and for a free solution to Photoshop, Pixlr (https://pixlr.com).
3. Try Facebook’s Local Awareness ads.
They target people in the area around your business in real time and shows only them your ad. You get to choose the distance around your business and the age and gender of potential customers that you want to reach. You’ll always reach the relevant audience, it’s great for creating awareness, and people are more inclined to try a new place if it’s nearby.
4. Videos are the best for engagement.
The average video post gets more than twice the views of photo post. If you’re going to boost a post, a video will probably get better results.
It’s important to capture audience’s attention in first 3 seconds. Videos play silently and automatically in your Facebook News Feed. Try to grab viewer attention with bold imagery or a great shot to so they turn on the sound and continue watching.
Now there’s Facebook Live video as well, which lets you stream a video on your page in real time. That’s great because livestreaming is a lot more personal and utterly no-frills, so anyone with a smartphone can post a video. Facebook Live is only available on the Facebook App for now.
5. Content generation:
Your restaurant’s Page represents of its personality and usually customers, especially regular ones, like to get to know the people serving them, preparing the food they love, etc.
Try posting behind-the-scenes photos or videos, like staff birthdays, the kitchen getting ready for service, where your ingredients come from, etc. Share about your eatery’s story and you’ll build a loyal fan base.
6. How to respond to bad reviews:
if you think about it, 1* reviews are another opportunity to engage with your customers. People want to read 1* reviews to find out what’s bad or wrong. Nobody reads 3* or 4* reviews, but 1* reviews attract attention, which is a good thing. Make sure you give a personal, sincere response that actually addresses the problem – not a standard reply, even if it’s an apology.
This is your opportunity to show customers how much you care and how good your service really is. If you write the right response, you might actually convert someone who wouldn’t return to your restaurant to a fan.
7. Calls to action
Calls to action help you to get more engagement on your ads. Remember, the number of likes your page has does not translate to customers eating at your restaurant.
According to AdRoll’s statistics, the overall click-through rate increase from using a call-to-action button is 2.85x. These call-to-action (CTA) buttons help people to understand what you would like them to do after viewing your Facebook ad. Some examples of CTA buttons are:
8. Lastly, what and when to boost?
Instinct will tell you to boost posts with low view or engagement rate. Don’t.
Boost the posts that have the highest number of interactions to reach even more people because they have proven engagement. It’s a much better use of your advertising dollars.
Cheryl Tay is the editor and marketer at iCHEF Singapore. She also manages iCHEF Club, a growing community of F&B owners in Singapore – organising events, an online newsletter and the F&B Entrepreneur Bootcamp, the only regular workshop on opening a new restaurant in the country. In her spare time, she attempts to read every book that’s ever won a literary prize and watches cat videos. Like any proper Singaporean, her love for food runs deep – especially spicy food. Chili is life.