3 Ways Restaurants Can Grow Their Business with Social Media

Apr 2013
true food kitchen, instagram for restaurants, katie wagner social media
Photo credit: @true_food_kitchen (one of my favorite restaurants)

If you own a restaurant, you’ve probably seen your customers checking their smart phones while sitting at the table or waiting in line. Harness the power of that activity with these three simple tips to get your customers talking about your restaurant on social media.

Yelp Check-in Deals

These days, most restaurants have been reviewed on Yelp.  Great reviews are good for business. But encouraging check-ins on Yelp can help you reach your customers’ friends across their social networks.

First, be sure to set up a Yelp business owners account and claim your listing.

Once you have claimed your restaurant’s listing, you can setup a check-in deal.  A check-in deal offers anyone who checks in to your restaurant some kind of a discount or free item that you choose.  You could give them a free appetizer, or 10% off their bill, or even something ‘fun’ like a high five or a bear hug!

You want to encourage people to check-in to your restaurant because when they do, a message will go out to all of their connections on Yelp, Facebook and Twitter.  It’s free advertising.  Or at least, advertising for the price of an appetizer.

You can offer check-in deals on other sites as well (like Foursquare), however I prefer Yelp because customers can leave a review for you later.

Facebook Ads

Yes, you need to have a Facebook page, but that is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce wedge when it comes to using Facebook to get new customers.  Once you have a Facebook page, start a Sponsored Story ad.  This ad will target the friends of your current fans.  I have included a screenshot of what it would look like.

facebook sponsored story, how to create a facebook ad, katie wagner social media

For example, when a friend ‘likes’ a page, it shows me a message.  I can then click directly to the Facebook fan page.  It is leveraging the network of your current fans without them having to do anything.

These ads are relatively inexpensive to run and can be very effective at attracting fans to your page, and ultimately customers in your restaurant.  If you have never set one of these up, feel free to contact me (Stephen@ and I can help you get started.


Instagram is hot right now, but more importantly, pictures are hot right now. Your social media content needs to be driven by photos, and Instagram is a simple and easy way to take and share attractive photos of your restaurant.

Take pictures of the food, take pictures of the servers (giving people high-fives) and take pictures of your restaurant!  Give people a chance to feel comfortable and know what to expect even before they set foot inside.

But don’t stop there.  Take the pictures that you have shared on Instagram and share them on your Facebook fan page as well.  Put them anywhere else you have a social media presence.   Let people get a glimpse of your restaurant without having to visit it.


Attracting new customers through social media largely depends on raising awareness of your restaurant, and the easiest way to do that is through the people that already love you! Using Yelp, Facebook Ads and Instagram, you can leverage your existing customers’ social networks, and build a bond with those who haven’t come in yet.

Want to learn more about how social media can help grow your business?  Please join us on our Facebook page!

Katie Wagner Social Media Blog, stephen wagner, social media





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