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8 things you can do to put butts in seats with social media.

Or 8 things you’re probably not doing in your restaurant with social media that you should be doing.

There is a conversation going on through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Google Places, just to name a few, that will take place with or without you. As a restaurant operator, you can either participate and have a say in the outcome of how your restaurant looks as a business in all of these places, or you can let it happen without you.

Either way, people are going to talk.

They will either talk with you, or about you.

In the past decade or so, HotOperator has worked on social media for our clients to help them become the cool place to check in on social media. In that time, we have come across a number of immutable laws of social media management that work. These are the essentials. What we’ve noticed over the years is, very few restaurant operators do these essential activities at all, or correctly. So we thought, let’s share some of what we’ve learned and see if we can help restaurants attract more customers to their restaurants using social media.

Here Are the 8 Immutable Laws of Restaurant Social Media

1.Commit To Social Media. So many restaurant operators do as little as possible on social media. And many just skip it all together. This is a huge mistake. The people on social media are people who might visit your restaurant. When you don’t spend time on social media “talking” to your potential customers, you are missing out on what they have to say. Not just about you, but about what they like and don’t like. So step one in getting good at social media is to go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. every day and just hang out for a few minutes and see what people are talking about.

2. Build A Branded Page. Now this part is a little harder. But it’s essential to have a nice looking social media page. If you have trouble being creative, steal genius from other social media sites you like. Just don’t copy them exactly, but instead, make your site special, different and better. This is where your brand will live online.

3. Get Good Photos. Either learn how to take a good photo (click here to contact HotOperator and we’ll walk you through how to take a better photo for FREE), or hire a professional. But keep in mind, people eat with their eyes first, and if your photos don’t look appetizing you will drive people away from your restaurant, rather than into it.

4. Post. A Lot. Most restaurant operators, and really most businesses, do not post enough. They maybe post once per month, or once per week if they’re lucky. But when you consider that more than 80% of people visit Facebook everyday, many before they even get out of bed in the morning, you can see very quickly that posting just once per month or week is just not enough. If you have trouble figuring out what to say, follow this link and sign up with our monthly calendar. It has really fun stuff with photos you can post a few times per week. And it’s cheap.

5. Answer Every Engagement. When you start to post, you will eventually get people to comment, share, like, love and otherwise engage in what you posted. As you get better with your posts, you will have more and more contact with potential customers. Make sure you answer every comment. Even the good ones. Be nice, be direct and answer. People want to be listened to. Even if it’s just liking what they have to say.

6. Remember, Most Conversations Online Are public. So don’t be a jerk. Instead, make sure that you maintain a level of composure when talking to a potential guest. People online will say really nasty things. But as a business, you must be cool. It’s like my grandpa used to say: “When you fight with a fool, nobody can tell which is which.”


7. Advertise. If you think social media is free, think again. Social media sites are set up by really smart people, and they are in business to make money. And when we say they are smart, we mean they are smarter than you (and us, too for that matter). So when you post something, get more people to see it by boosting it with a few bucks. But make sure you have the right audience when you do. If you would like a half hour lesson on how to advertise on social media, click here and set up a free consultation.


8. Think Ahead. This requires planning. We recommend making a calendar with special events, promotions and featured products you want to promote for your restaurant. And remember, it takes a couple of days for a post to get traction when it comes to a special or featured item. So if you want to sell a lot of Chicken Fried Steak on Tuesday, make sure you post a nice photo of the Chicken Fried Steak a day or two before and boost it for a day or two as well.

HotOperator recommends signing up for their monthly social media calendar. It’s the easiest way to plan your social media. When you sign up, you get 12 – 15 posts with photos and at least 2 promotions each month. Click here to find out more!

Mark and Kelly are a design-engineer team and managing partners of HotOperator. They have been working in the restaurant business since 1989. Either can be contacted through the HotOperator website, or by calling 800-316-3198.