As restaurants pivoted away from dining rooms and adopted new delivery and pick-up methods in response to lockdowns in their communities, the power of social media to create engaging, thumb-stopping content became clearer than ever. Here are some of the most effective start-today tactics for communicating with your audience during — and after — a crisis.
Tell Your Story
More than ever, customers are recognizing the people behind the business. If you want to connect with diners, do so by focusing on you and your employees by sharing your stories and struggles via videos and posts. That can mean the story of how you’re dealing with COVID-19, or how you’re looking after your employees. Or simply tell the story of your restaurant: Why you chose to start it, why the food is important to you, and why you’re fighting to keep it open.
Share Recipes and Cooking Tips
Sharing easy recipes and unique cooking tips — either in written form or in upbeat Tasty-style videos — is a great way to add value to your customers’ work-from-home and quarantine experiences while also keeping them connected to your restaurant. Share recipes straight off your menu, or just stay in a style that is easily associated with your brand. If possible, choose recipes that can be completed with common ingredients you’d find in most pantries so your followers don’t need to make unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
With everyone offering takeout, it’s important to stand out from the crowd with attention-grabbing deals. Promote gift card sales and adopt some popular takeout hashtags such as #takeouttuesday. Try offering food subscriptions, meal kits, wine pairings and other deals to move inventory from your kitchen to your customers’ dining tables.
Give democracy a chance by letting your customers weigh-in on fun aspects of restaurant dining like choosing new menu items. Right now, your messaging should be that we’re all in this together. What better way to demonstrate that than by giving your customers a say in your meal prep? Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat make it easy to host a poll and collect the results.
As we all band together through this crisis, it’s important for customers to see that your restaurant is actively trying to be a part of the solution. Are you donating leftovers to food banks? Supporting first responders or at-risk communities with meal donations? Providing free cooking classes via your website or social media? If you are, make sure you’re tastefully broadcasting it across your social media channels. Not only does it shine a positive light on your restaurant, it fosters a sense of community and encourages your followers to donate as well.
About the Author
Mark Plumlee is the senior copywriter at MustHaveMenus, which offers free social media templates and sharing tools. He enjoys writing about trends in the food industry.