There’s no doubt that social media users and usage have ramped up as people are spending more time indoors to avoid catching the coronavirus. Not only has the audience grown, but the time we’re spending on our smartphones is up by almost 26 minutes per day, and the food and beverage e-commerce industry increased by $13 billion.
Your restaurant, hotel, or venue is now fighting for attention against all of the businesses and people that fill your followers’ social media news feeds, and you need to be on top of your game if you want to capture their dollars. Follow these tips and examples to help your hospitality venue stand out on social media and drive business.
Include the information your customers are looking for
The information that customers use to make purchasing decisions at hospitality businesses has changed because their needs have changed and because your business operates differently than before the pandemic.
They’re looking for your business hours for dining, your takeout and delivery information, whether you have outside dining available, your COVID-19 safety protocols, the types of events you host (and new trends like microweddings), what makes your venue special (your neighborhood, employees, or your location), and anything new you have added since the pandemic (tastings, cooking classes, meal kits, or cocktails to go).
Make sure that you are updating your followers in your social media posts and in your profiles with this information:
- Business hours
- Takeout and delivery info
- Indoor and outdoor dining options
- Safety protocols
- Event packages
- Something special
- New experiences
Use the right keywords
Whether they’re searching on social media or skimming your profile, there are certain keywords customers use to choose a business. Use these keywords in your profile information and social media post copy so customers can find you. You can also list these keywords as hashtags in your Instagram captions or Twitter posts.
- Venue type: Restaurant, hotel, or unique venue
- Cuisine type
- Events and event types
- Indoor and outdoor dining
- Takeout and delivery
Where and what to post on social media
First of all, you need to be in the right places to reach the right people. The social networks your restaurant, hotel, or venue should use are the ones that connect with the audience that you want to talk to. And your posts should reflect that audience. Here’s a quick look at the social networks and their typical audiences.
- Facebook: Reach your customers
- Instagram: Reach customers and build a brand with photos and videos
- LinkedIn: Reach corporate clients and industry contacts
- Twitter: Reach media, industry news, and industry contacts
When you’re crafting content for any of these platforms, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you need to ask yourself, “Why does my customer care?” Think about the message you want to post and if it’s relevant to your audience. Telling your audience that you are now booking for summer events is not going to be as interesting to your followers as talking about a discount you’re offering for early bookings, a new event package they can take advantage of, or seasonal menu items that are around for a limited time.
The second thing to consider is to always include a call to action (CTA). You need to tell your audience what you want them to do next and provide them with a link to take that action. If you don’t include a CTA link, your customers won’t take the time to go online and search for your website, your lead form link, or your reservation page. Make it easy for them to take an action with your business at the time they are thinking about you and viewing your social media post.
24 examples of social media posts
Here’s a look at 24 different Tripleseat restaurants, hotels, and unique venues that are doing social media right, and the types of posts they’re sharing that will drive business.
What to post: Visuals
One thing you’ll notice right away about these examples is that none of them are text only. Social media followers are looking for interesting visuals in their feeds. There’s a lot of visuals to choose from these days, from photos and videos to GIFs, stickers, livestreaming, reels, and Stories.
This Instagram Story from Puesto combines a photo, text, and stickers to announce their La Jolla location’s reopening for indoor dining. Instead of writing a long text post, SPIN shared a video of one of their ping pong players on LinkedIn. When promoting their Valentine’s Day dinner and special offer of roses, Wingtip shared colorful photos on Facebook.
What to post: Private dining and events
Now that cities and states are reopening, private dining and events are making a comeback. After a year of staying home and avoiding COVID-19, people are ready to get out and celebrate with friends and family. Let them know about what you’re offering and what customers will receive in your event packages.
In these examples, Cote NYC shares the details on their private cabanas on Instagram, Fiola talks about their private spaces and safety practices on Twitter, and Encore St. Kilda Beach shows off their beautiful wedding space on Facebook.
What to post: Your space
You have put the time and care into making sure your venue has the atmosphere and amenities that will give your customers a memorable experience. Show it off on social media. These posts visually share that experience on social.
Te Deseo‘s Instagram photo is a great way to invite followers to have a seat at the bar. The Betsy Hotel‘s Facebook post puts you right under their atrium for a wedding under the stars. Eataly‘s Los Angeles location gives their Twitter followers a video tour through the restaurant that ends up in their outdoor space.
What to post: Food and drinks
Your food and drinks are one of the many reasons your loyal customers keep coming back — and it’s the perfect subject for photos and videos. Your menu items are colorful, interesting, trendy, and hunger-inducing.
Show off your cocktails, as Bostonia Public House did on Facebook with their special Cider House Margarita for National Margarita Day. Got something unique on the menu like TAO Las Vegas? They retweeted Food Insider’s video of their giant fortune cookie on Twitter. Post about your creative offerings, like Iberian Pig did on Instagram with their charcuterie board to go.
What to post: Catering
Catering has grown in popularity over the last year as a way to safely celebrate by holding events at home with a smaller group. Show your customers how you can help them plan their celebrations by talking about your catering on social media.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant showcased their Italian specialties — which include lots of extra cheese — with a video on Twitter. Vestals Catering is kicking their catering options up a notch with their new cocktail brand, and they announced it with a cocktail photo on Instagram. Meat eaters will stop mid-scroll when they see this delicious photo of Sweet Auburn BBQ‘s catering setup on Facebook.
What to post: Your new offers
We’ve been impressed with the creativity that restaurants, hotels, and venues have shown by pivoting their operations and adding new products and services that satisfy the needs of our new normal. Customers are excited about these trends and are eager to experience them, so make sure your business promotes them on social media.
Prime + Proper has embraced the cooking class trend and used this Facebook post to promote a package where customers can host a one-of-a-kind dinner at home prepared by one of their chefs. Union Square Hospitality Group developed menus for individually packaged breakfasts, lunches, and snacks delivered to office workers, and shared this information on LinkedIn as a way to reach prospective corporate clients. Hotels have been creating all kinds of new offers to drive bookings, and the Hotel Commonworth shared their Vacancy Package, which includes a $75 dining credit, late checkout, and a bonus $75 credit for a future booking on Instagram.
What to post: News, updates, and announcements
Your business has a lot of information to share about changes to your operations, events or initiatives you’re involved with, reopening guidelines, and news items. Sharing this information on your social media accounts to help spread the word to your followers.
If a news source, blog, or business writes about you, post a link to that article, like Wiseacre Brewing did when they retweeted their listing in an I Love Memphis post about things to do during the week. When SixtyFour Wine Bar and Kitchen reopened for 25% capacity and small events, they shared that update on Facebook. STARR Restaurants got a huge publicity boost for their newest location when it appeared in the New York Times, and they posted a link to the article on LinkedIn.
What to post: What makes you special
Every business has something that makes them stand out — like their employees, their venue, food and beverages, neighborhood, or atmosphere — and it’s important to show off what makes you special.
The Williamsburg Hotel recently shared a series of posts on Facebook that profiled the people behind the businesses in their neighborhood. Chef Deb Paquette is the face of Etch restaurant and often shows up in their social media activity; this Instagram post asks followers to submit questions for Paquette for an upcoming Q&A session. Guests at The William Vale hotel this winter experienced something that few hotels offer — an ice rink overlooking the NYC skyline — and they posted a link to a Forbes article about the rink on Twitter.
Next steps for better social media marketing
Use these tips and ideas for inspiration when creating social media posts, but don’t forget to evaluate how effective they are in bringing you engagement, website traffic, and event leads. Start by using Tripleseat’s lead form link and TripleseatDirect link in your social media posts when talking about private dining, events, catering, tastings, meal kits, and other products and services customers can access through those sites.
Then, use Tripleseat’s reporting tools to discover which social networks are sending you the most activity and put more effort into the networks and post types that work. Not yet a Tripleseat customer? Find out how Tripleseat can help streamline private events at your venue.