best social media platforms for restaurants

If your restaurant is not on social media, does it even exist? Joking aside, social media is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants that is 100% worth exploring.

Learn what the best social media platforms for restaurants are and how restaurants should use social media to increase engagement and boost sales.

5 Benefits of Social Media for Restaurants

Before we check out the best social media platforms for restaurants, let’s have a quick look at the importance of social media for restaurants that want to make a splash online.

1. Social media marketing for restaurants is free

Perhaps the most convincing reason why restaurants should use social media is because it’s free. Creating a business profile on the most popular social media platforms comes at no cost, as does posting.

In the highly competitive restaurant industry, it would be an oversight not to take advantage of free marketing that can help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

While all social media platforms come with paid features such as ads, these are entirely optional. Before you decide whether they’re the right fit for you, you can experiment with free food marketing on social media, such as posting photos of your dishes or promoting your food offers.

2. You can engage with customers directly

As a restaurant owner or manager, interacting with customers in the restaurant doesn’t happen that often. In comes social media to help you take the pulse of your target audience by engaging with them online.

From asking questions, creating polls, and replying to reviews, to organizing contests or giveaways that require follower participation, you can become more than a brand by showing the person behind the business.

3. It helps build a strong brand personality

The way you present yourself online is a huge part of your brand identity. Your online persona should be an extension of your physical presence, from logo to brand colors, but also the way you interact with customers.

Ideally, to maintain a consistent and cohesive voice on social media, you should have the same person interacting with customers on all platforms. That way, you will create an instantly recognizable brand.

4. It can drive traffic to your website

Another way in which social media can help restaurants is by serving as a promoter for your website. Especially if you’re relying on online ordering through your restaurant website, your goal is to direct as much traffic there as possible.

An excellent way to do that is to add your website to the bio, with the mention that people can place orders online.

On Facebook, you can even add your menu to their Start Order button to enable customers to browse your menu and order without feeling like they’ve ever left your Facebook page.

Follow the steps in this guide to add your menu to Facebook.

Enable Facebook ordering for free Add our smart link to the Start Order button to accept orders now

5. You can use it to keep customers up-to-date and generate excitement

Whenever you’re in need of restaurant social media content, consider your future plans and think of creative ways to promote them online.

Social media is an excellent place to keep customers informed about new menu releases, events, promotions, or new services.

For example, let’s say you’re planning on releasing a brand-new burger next week. Post a photo a day on Instagram featuring a different part of the burger until the big picture is complete on launch day. This will keep customers guessing and make them crave it, so you can get many orders on the day.

5 Best Social Media Platforms for Restaurants

1. Facebook

If you’re just getting started with social media for restaurant owners, Facebook is the first platform you should be on. It’s easy to set up and understand, and it can help you reach a more mature audience such as Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Here are some of the best Facebook posts for restaurants to attract a strong following:

  • Exclusive Facebook offers (e.g.: free delivery on orders coming from Facebook)
  • Contests or sweepstakes (e.g.: comment your favorite dish on the menu for a chance to get it for free)
  • Share your restaurant’s backstory (it could be an interview with the owner or encouraging people to visit the About page on your website to learn more)
  • Announce daily specials (e.g.: Grab it while it’s hot: Today only enjoy the Meat Master burger)

Learn more in our Facebook marketing guide.

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for restaurants that pride themselves in taking mouth-watering photos of their dishes. By being a mainly visual platform, Instagram is great for attracting foodies who love snapping photos of their meals.

Check out these restaurant Instagram post ideas for inspiration:

  • Advertise daily specials in Instagram Stories (e.g.: Sunday Special: The Chicken Coleslaw Burger)
  • Use Instagram Reels to take customers behind the scenes in the kitchen (e.g.: follow your chef around for a day)
  • Repost stories and posts by your customers (and don’t forget to ask their permission beforehand)
  • Create engaging polls in Stories (this vs. that, what would you like to see on our menu next?)
  • Partner up with Instagram influencers (e.g.: a sneak peek of your newest menu in an exclusive tasting)

Learn more in our Instagram marketing guide.

3. TikTok

TikTok for restaurants might be relatively new as a concept, but as more and more people are taking to this platform, so are brands.

Here are some social media posts for restaurants that want to shine on TikTok:

  • Create a hashtag challenge (e.g.: #pizzathrowchallenge where you challenge followers to a dough throw while your chef shows them how it’s done)
  • Partner with influencers for fun skits (e.g.: 5 types of restaurant waiters)
  • Post short how-to videos in your kitchen

Learn more in our TikTok marketing guide.

4. Snapchat

You might not think Snapchat can benefit restaurants but in fact, there are many creative ways in which a restaurant Snapchat can draw customers’ attention and convince them to visit or revisit the eatery.

Just getting started with Snapchat for restaurants? Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Create a Snapchat geofilter for your restaurant (users can add it to their snaps as an overlay, which will expose your brand to more potential customers)
  • Post a snap with a limited-time offer (it will disappear in 24 hours)
  • Use Snapchat Stories to announce menu updates or events
  • Add a link to your menu when you post a snap so customers can easily access it

Learn more in our Snapchat marketing guide.

5. Pinterest

Finally, another one of the best social media platforms for restaurants is Pinterest, due largely to its visual content. It can help you advertise your dishes by making customers crave them.

Check out these restaurant ideas for Pinterest promotion:

  • Create a board for your entire menu (e.g.: Restaurant Pronto menu)
  • Add a link to your online menu in your dishes’ description to enable customers to place an order
  • Create industry-related boards such as recipes, cooking tips, cocktails, and more
  • Pin and repin to populate your Pinterest boards with attractive food images
  • Interact with food bloggers, recipe critics, and influencers by following their work and suggesting a mutually beneficial partnership

Learn more in our Pinterest marketing guide.

Wrapping up

Social media is a vast environment that can seem overwhelming to small business owners. But if you take it bit by bit, you’ll see that it’s actually intuitive and valuable. Ultimately, know that the best social media platforms for restaurants are the ones that work for you and your audience.

Use the restaurant social media post examples above as guidelines for each platform so you can test it out and see if it’s the right choice for you.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.