The Complete Guide to Facebook Marketing For Restaurants and Suppliers

Facebook is making large strides in 2016. Mark Zuckerberg is on top of the social media world, ruling the landscape as his team at Facebook creates new features seemingly everyday. While Facebook is continuing to showcase new features, many are already in place to help a novice marketer make a splash in the food industry.

All business, including social sites, revolve around one phrase - user engagement, and marketing plays a large role in driving user engagement. Aspects of marketing deal with making a connection first, then using language and imagery to keep that connection. So naturally, Facebook can be a major tool for anyone looking to market their services; restaurant or supplier.

Luckily for you, you've cut your ordering down by 90% with BlueCart, so you have the time to read through this all-encompassing Facebook Marketing guide.

The Facebook Page Checklist

Cross these items off your checklist to make your Facebook page stand out from the rest.

  • Make sure you create a page, not a personal account. People are more willing to “like” your page than to “friend” it.

  • Fill out every question Facebook asks, no matter how insignificant it might be. When creating your page, set a preferred page audience.

  • Make sure all the information is in the tone of voice that best fits your service. Often times your page will give off a first impression.

  • Set an away message or instant reply to customers in the case of a big change (i.e. menu change, new location, specials)

  • Keep all your information updated!

In case you’re crunched for time, you can connect to your website and allow Facebook to fill in some of the information for you.

Forget Ad agencies, do it yourself!

Facebook makes it easy for you to advertise. Interested in developing an ad targeted for women within 50 miles of Topeka Kansas, who are interested in milkshakes and Mexican cuisine? That’s easy as a couple of clicks.

Create your eye-catching ad with these three tips:

Choose one of the following objectives

  • promote a specific post or page reach people near your business
  • raise attendance at your event
  • get customers to claim an offer.

Then

  • Set your budget and time frame.
  • Specify demographics (age, gender, interests) you want to target
  • Set a time frame for your ad and keep track of the engagement/impressions with Facebook’s ad manager.

Make your posts like a great sandwich - a lot of substance and very little filler

Nobody like’s their sandwich stuffed with iceberg lettuce, nor do they like to see your feed constantly pushing your sales agenda. We wish we could tell you a certain amount of posts, what days and at what times to post on Facebook, but you’ll have to test and see what works for you and use Insights to determine what is effective. You want to stay in front of your audience, but you don’t want to nag them so that they unfollow or block your feed.

Every post must have value. If you post for the sake of posting, then your engagement will plummet. When debating whether or not to post something ask yourself one question, “What will my followers/potential customers gain from this post?” or “Would I care about this if I saw it in my feed?”

Great posts for everyone, especially restaurants include great images – your beautiful space, your creative dishes and drinks, the people on your team who all make it happen, the awesome events you host etc… You can use this guide to learn how to take quality pictures. The food industry is a visual market; restaurants and suppliers should take advantage of that.

Another way to increase engagement and foster a conversation on Facebook is to ask for opinions. Facebook’s algorithms have shifted to highlight pages where people spend more time. Whenever a person lands on your Facebook page, they are on a stopwatch - and the more time spent wandering through the page, the more likely your page will continue to show in people’s feeds.

Want to introduce a new menu item or add a new product to your catalog, but unsure how it would be received? Post a picture of it on Facebook. See how your customers and fans react. Chances are that someone will comment on it and give you an idea if you should go forward with that item.

Take the Criticism with the Praise

Apps and websites, such as Yelp, have let the average customer critique every aspect of their dining experience. It’s hard to reply to all praise or criticism, but Facebook makes it more manageable.
Customers can review your restaurant and add that review to your page. Obviously, you are going to welcome the comments praising your good service and food. Naturally, you are going to want to hide the comments that let’s say aren’t so kind. We advise against that as people hate that even more. If you’re at fault, own up to it, if perhaps you weren’t, address it professionally.

You can comment as your restaurant on people’s reviews. Apologize if necessary and give thanks for kind words when it’s appropriate.

Bring People Together

Are you having a band coming to your restaurant? Are you hosting a farming demonstration? Donating a percentage of proceeds to a charity? Create buzz by creating a Facebook event to promote it. Like other Facebook services, it’s easy to use.

What can you do with a Facebook event? Follow our guide below:

  • Add a co-host or co-hosts (perfect if you’re partnering with another company)

  • Insert a ticket URL

  • Put your event in a category (Restaurants can put their event in the dining & tasting category)

  • Invite specific people to your event (loyal customers or brand ambassadors)

  • Tag the location where the event is being held, partners, sponsors etc…

After you’re done creating your event, you can promote it via Facebook ads.

Use Resources to Produce Creative Content

Are you not the next Picasso? One of our favorite websites to use for creating graphics is Canva. It’s easy to use and once you start designing you won't want to stop. Canva lays out the perfect dimensions to display on Facebook.

Once you select your dimensions you can create you marketing masterpiece. With Canva, you can upload any image from your computer and add filters to the picture. Want to put some over your image? That’s easy, throw some shade on the image and add some light colored text. The possibilities are truly endless. It’s a great free resource!

Speaking of a great free resource, have you heard about BlueCart? BlueCart is a free communications web portal and app that saves restaurants and suppliers time during the ordering process. Restaurants can order all their supplies in one-click and suppliers receive all their orders in one place. It kind of markets itself, right? Like our Facebook page to see finished Canva graphics and to learn how BlueCart can help your restaurant.

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A recent graduate from Virginia Tech, Matt Katz came to BlueCart as a young social media guru. When Matt isn't writing or putting together infographics, he can be seen running on the Georgetown canal!

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