If your restaurant is successful and has been around for a long time, you might be tempted to dismiss social media marketing. After all, there are plenty of other ways to advertise, right? True, but the fact is that most millennials and GenZers (among others) go to social media to find new places to eat. This is where they read reviews, look at photos of food, ask questions, and even book reservations.

If your restaurant doesn’t have a strong social media presence, then you’re missing out on a great way to increase foot traffic, build customer loyalty, advertise new dishes, run promotions, and, most importantly, boost your profit. Social media marketing is the wave of the future, and it’s crucial that your restaurant take part in it. Keep reading for some tips on how to succeed wildly when it comes to social media and your restaurant.

Tip #1: Publish High-Quality Visual Content

What better way to entice new and existing customers than to post visually appealing photos of your food on social media? But feel free to get creative. A video of your chef preparing a meal, pictures of patrons enjoying your restaurant’s atmosphere, and re-posts of user-generated content will all attract positive attention.

Tip #2: Target Your Facebook Audience

The internet allows companies to reach people from all over the world, but is this always helpful? In your case, it might make sense to serve your Facebook ads to people who live locally. After all, these are the folks who are most apt to drop by your restaurant or to order takeout. So make sure that your ads are being shown to your target audience and not to people who are located too far away to care.

Tip #3: Don’t Forget to Use Hashtags

If you’re not familiar with hashtags, it’s time you learned about them. Why? Because they help expose your social media posts and ads to people who otherwise wouldn’t see them. Users of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can all browse hashtag content (and they do!) So the next time you post to any of these platforms, add a couple of relevant hashtags to increase awareness of your restaurant and all it has to offer. #pizza #foodie #forkyeah

Tip #4: Run Polls and Contests to Engage Folks

Incorporating interactive content into your social media posts (like quizzes, surveys, and competitions) will drive higher engagement, which has been found to lead to more conversions. The goal is to get people to like, retweet, comment on, and share your posts. Stuck? How about asking your customers to vote on their favorite pizza topping or to pick the next dish that will be unveiled at your restaurant? Involving them in whatever way possible will pay off in the long run, trust us.

Tip #5: Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

We can’t overstate the importance of having lots of positive reviews about your restaurant’s food, service, and ambiance all over the web. People really do read them and base decisions on them. In fact, they very well might choose to visit your eatery because of the glowing reviews they’ve read on your social media. So don’t hesitate to ask past customers to leave reviews; you can even offer discounts and other incentives to reward them for doing so. Great reviews are like gold.

Tip #6: Make Your Menu and Bookings Accessible

Always make everything as easy as possible for the customer. How? One easy way to do this is to include links to both your menus and reservation and delivery platforms right on your social media pages. Then if a potential new customer discovers your restaurant because of a social media post, they will intuitively know how to move forward with booking a table or ordering food. If the process is too complicated, you’ll likely lose them forever.

Tip #7: Answer Questions and Reply to Feedback

Remember how in tip #4 we talked about the importance of driving high engagement? Another way you can do this is to consistently respond to any communications you receive on your social media platforms. Did someone ask you a question? Answer it. Did they leave you a positive review? Thank them for it. Negative feedback? Take note of it and then promptly respond with an apology and offer to make it up to them. You might just win them back and even win over other readers who like how you handled the situation.

Social media marketing isn’t as hard as it might initially sound, and any effort you make in this area will likely pay dividends in the future. So don’t be intimidated. Even if you start small, follow the tips above to begin establishing a social media presence for your restaurant, and before you know it, you’ll start reaping the rewards.