November 11, 2022

Social Media Marketing for Restaurants: A Complete Guide to Promoting Your Business

Restaurant Social Media Marketing, Instagram

Social media marketing for restaurants is a highly engaging way to bring in new diners. According to one study, 45% of U.S. diners tried a new restaurant because of a post they saw on social media.

Restaurant social media posts can convince someone to give your place of business a try for the first time, but what do you need to do to nail social media for restaurant marketing?

Posting isn’t enough. You need the right strategy to expand your customer base and turn first-time customers into regulars. Let’s examine the importance of social media strategies for restaurants and the elements that make up a great post.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

Social media marketing for restaurants is a critical avenue for creating an omnichannel marketing strategy. The best restaurant social media campaigns have clear goals and know how to employ different platforms for maximum impact.

So, what are some of the benefits of using social media for a restaurant?

Drive Traffic

Many people use social media to decide what to eat. Approximately 75% of people said they bought a product after seeing it on social media. With billions of potential customers using social media platforms to consume content, you can leverage paid and organic marketing to reach your target audience where they are.

Update Your Customers Instantly

Social media is the fastest way to update your target audience on the changes hitting your restaurant. Social media lets you share holiday promotions, happy hours, and menu updates at lightning speed.

Start a Dialogue

Unlike fliers, billboards, and radio ads, social media is a chance to start a conversation. It’s a cost-free way of fielding questions and other queries about your restaurant. Creating dialogues strengthens those emotional bonds.

Visual Advertising

Restaurants do well on social media because they are highly visual platforms. Show off your best dishes and give people a window into a typical dining experience at your restaurant, rather than your customers relying on blind trust.

Remember, we eat with our eyes. On average, a post is worth 60,000 words because that’s how much faster the human brain can process an image compared to a text-based post.

Get Insights into Your Offerings

Most people won’t confront you directly but will tell you about it on social media. Your feeds offer insights into what people really think about your restaurant, which acts as a basis for giving your audience what they want.

Reach Anyone

Social media advertising allows you to target a hyper-localized audience easily. Don’t waste your advertising dollars. Great restaurant social media post ideas can target specific segments, leading to a greater return.

Gain More Credibility

Social media is a hub for user-generated content. Nothing has more credibility than content published by people who aren’t associated with your business. Sharing restaurant posts from your diners carry more weight with potential customers than the posts you develop.

Improve Your Searchability

Becoming active on social media enhances your SEO and makes it more likely that you’ll be found by people looking for a great place to eat out.

In turn, this creates a cycle whereby you’ve got a constant stream of people landing on your page and choosing to check you out.

The Elements of a Great Restaurant Social Media Post

Restaurant marketers commonly talk about the value of creative Facebook posts for restaurants for a successful marketing strategy, but what does that actually mean?

Truthfully, there’s no such thing as the perfect post, but there are elements that all of them have in common. In the realm of food marketing, it all comes down to your visual content.

Here’s what you need as part of every post:

  • Clear and concise branding
  • Engaging copy
  • Relevant hashtags
  • Call to action

Acing your social media restaurant marketing strategy means accompanying the above with a high-quality HD image and/or video. You won’t hit that sweet spot every time but practice these principles, and you’ll eventually get your expected return.

Check out some restaurant social media post examples from the most successful brands in your area and see how they’re nailing their social media marketing campaigns.

Where to Post on Social Media for Restaurants

You can’t cover every social media channel. You need to hit the right channels where your audience is most engaged. Unless you’ve got an entire team or you’re investing in social media management for restaurant businesses, it’s best to focus on two to three channels.

Traditionally, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are best equipped for targeting and connecting with those keenly interested in food.


There are nearly four billion active social media users globally, and almost all have a Facebook account. It’s the most popular U.S. social media platform, so you must be present there. See Facebook as an extension of your website and your brand.

As a restaurant, you’ll be looking to create an informative page and one that acts as a meeting place for your biggest customers. Announcements, photos, and information on specials should all form part of your feed.

It’s also a great way to host contests, flash giveaways, and user-generated check-ins to boost your visibility.


Did you know that Instagram is the 7th most visited website in the world? It’s also a hub for images, which is critical for increasing engagement.

It’s a visual platform that doubles as a discovery engine for people searching for a great place to eat. Take advantage of viral hashtags and show pictures from behind the scenes at your restaurant. It’s an excellent way to inspire your audience and project the visual side of your brand.

If you’ve got the time, you can use Pinterest the same way, but if you don’t, it’s always better to focus on Instagram because it’s got the biggest audience and a direct connection to Facebook.


Many businesses dismiss TikTok, thinking it’s simply a platform for silly dances and challenges, but it has value, particularly for those in the restaurant business. Since launching in 2016, it’s commanded more than two billion downloads and counting. Users have also shown that they spend a considerable amount of time on TikTok, averaging 52 minutes daily.

To successfully utilize TikTok as a restaurant marketer, you need to market your business effectively on the platform. It’s a place for lighthearted content, so the focus here is on strengthening those connections between you and your audience. Informative cooking tips, branded challenges, and in-depth recipes do well here.

Generation Z and younger millennials live on TikTok. If you really want to reach this audience, you need a presence there.

10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Restaurants Should Follow

No matter what kind of restaurant business you market, these strategies will apply to you. Introduce them according to your branding guidelines, and you’ll soon find yourself pulling in more customers and raising your brand awareness.

If you’re struggling with where to start, here are some great ideas for marketing yourself on social media.

1. Share Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Present your team to your audience. Share images and videos from the kitchen and put a face and a personality to the front-of-house and backroom staff.

People connect better with businesses they can relate to, so show your business in action. Highlight your hardworking staff and give people a peek at where the magic happens.

2. Respond to Customer Reviews

The average consumer wants to feel heard. They want to feel like they matter. According to one study, 96% of customers say customer service influences their loyalty to a brand.

Yet customer service doesn’t start and end in the restaurant. It continues online. Make an effort to respond to reviews. Thank your customers and acknowledge any negative experiences they had.

Don’t just respond to the people praising you. Address negative feedback directly, pledge to improve, and display your changes. This shows that you’re a restaurant that cares about what its customers think.

3. Highlight Staff

Your staff can make or break your brand. Highlighting staff goes back to sharing behind-the-scenes videos. It helps people build personal connections with your brand by showing the human side of your restaurant.

It also has the dual benefit of improving the employee experience. In a notoriously high-turnover industry, emphasizing your staff is a great way to show your appreciation.

4. Capitalize on Trending Topics

What’s trending right now?

If you don’t know, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Think about what’s happening in the social media space by looking up the trending hashtags and tapping into any relevant conversation you can.

You can also incorporate relevant social media holidays into your restaurant promotions. For example, if you run an ice cream business, it would be wise to take advantage of National Ice Cream Day when it’s trending. According to Bloomberg, 391,000 posts were made with the hashtag #NationalIceCream Day in 2021. This trending holiday also translates into boosted sales, with businesses anticipating a 15 to 20 percent increase due to the day’s popularity.

Search “National Food Holidays” and find the one that connects best with your business. You want to be able to capitalize on this traction.

5. Produce Engaging In-House Content

Not everyone has the resources to dedicate to unique content. Link the content playing on your TV screens in-house with the content you’re putting out on social media. It’s vital for brand consistency online and offline.

Atmosphere offers an easy way to help you produce content people want to watch. With our streaming services, you can combine relevant advertising with exciting content from more than 60 channels, matched to the ambiance you want in your restaurant.

6. Host Trivia and Contests

Social media isn’t a billboard. It’s an opportunity for a two-way conversation. Create opportunities for your target audience to interact with you.

Trivia games and contests are easy ways of encouraging people to post to your feeds. Instagram is the place for engagement, as it enjoys an 81% engagement rate, compared to just 8% on Facebook.

7. Drive Email Sign-Ups

Does your restaurant have an email list? If not, it should.

Let people know you’ve got an email list, how to signup, and the benefits of joining your list. Note that there should be a tangible reason for joining this list. Exclusive content and offers are all sources of ignition for your customers to act.

8. Vary Your Content Per Platform

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is reposting the same content to all their social media feeds. There’s a time and a place for this, such as if you’re gearing up for a major holiday, but it can make everything feel somewhat stale.

Give people a reason to connect with you everywhere by posting different content on each platform. Throw out Facebook-only promotions while offering an Instagram-only competition. Not everyone will sign up for all your platforms, but you’ll get more results if every feed has a uniqueness about it.

9. Create an Immersive Consumer Experience

Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You're instantly limiting your potential by relying on people to stumble across your pages.

It’s 2022, so it’s time to take advantage of the digital possibilities. Increase the engagement potential of your TV screens by linking them to your social media via a QR code. You can even operate regular competitions. For example, you can encourage your patrons to post a selfie of themselves in front of your promotion. Customers who follow through can get a free drink or coupon.

Atmosphere can help you produce the best advertisements for your business. Get the ad that engages and stands out among all others.

10. Spotlight User-Generated Content

User-generated content is authentic and has far more credibility than anything from your pipeline. It sends the message to people on the fence that you’ve got a solid following that loves what you do.

Spotlighting user-generated is imperative to a successful marketing strategy. But how do you get user-generated content?

Your raving fans will do it organically, but there’s nothing wrong with putting out a call for people to post what they love most about your business. You can even sweeten the deal by offering a small discount for people who post pictures of your restaurant for you. You can also use this technique to encourage happy customers to leave reviews online.

If patrons share the content in their feeds, even better. This is the essence of word-of-mouth marketing and is a proven way of bringing more first-timers into your restaurant.

Expand Your Marketing Efforts with Atmosphere

Tackling social media is tough for a restaurant, especially if you don’t have the budget to outsource the problem to a dedicated agency. Begin with two to three platforms and focus on building your following there.

Social media is only part of the equation. The best restaurant promotion ideas are built on the proper marketing strategies for success. With Atmosphere, we expand your marketing presence through quality content and engaging in-house ads that will catch customer attention and maximize sales.

To learn more about how Atmosphere can build your brand, help you connect with your customers, and boost your marketing power, sign up now!