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7 Faux Pas to Avoid When Advertising Your Restaurant

If you’re trying to increase your online presence and get people engaged with your brand and queuing up at your restaurant, you must know how to market your business. 

Here’s how to avoid making advertising faux pas so you create a successful advertising strategy. 

Low-Res Pictures and Videos

The images you post on social media must be high quality, clear and zoomable.  

Invest in quality photography tools like light diffusers and a good camera – or hire a professional photographer. While the pictures don’t have to be so perfect that every napkin is ironed, aesthetically pleasing and high-quality pictures will make your menu attractive.   

Too Little Video Content 

In this day and TikTok age, video is the currency for increased customer engagement. People spend the most time on TikTok with 23.5 hours on average per month. This is where many of your potential customers are, so it’s wise to increase video content in addition to pictures on social media. 

TikTok Video replies. Find a trending topic, see where your restaurant fits in, and reply to a popular video. 

Use a trending TikTok sound. TikTok sounds are easy to integrate into your videos since they can be anything from voiceovers and sound clips from popular movies to trending music. 

Be yourself (or in this case, be your brand).  As much as trends get views, you also want to create organic content that’s true to your values and culture as a restaurant. You could make a series on the restaurant’s origins, perhaps show a family tree with your grandfather if he started the restaurant or how you took a leap of faith and bought an empty building to turn it into a cafe. 

Create a Food transition video. If there’s one thing that TikTok viewers love, it’s watching tutorials or process videos. This is a video where you show the process of creatively making a popular menu item with different angles, like spices falling into the camera or smoke rising from the frying pan. 

You can find inspiration using #foodtransition or partner up with an up-and-coming videographer to film and edit the video. They will know how to present your food to attract your desired attention. They will also post it to their page, which can direct their followers to your restaurant. 

A Marketing Strategy Without Google Ads

With Google Ads, you can find keywords related to your restaurant and use them in your content and ad campaigns, so when people search for specific food items or restaurants in your location, your restaurant is among the first to come up. 

You can also use the keyword planner tool to search for keywords that are searched for often but have low competition. You might think best pasta in San Francisco is a highly used keyword until you use the planner and see that you have a high chance of getting noticed with the phrase. 

Missing Links and No website (or a bland website) 

The Restaurant Times says 90% of people searching for a restaurant will visit it (sometimes within an hour). Help customers find you by confirming your business details on Google with links to your website and social media accounts. 

Get your website upgraded or redesigned if it needs some work. Some features that you may want to include are: 

  • Responsive, mobile-friendly design 
  • Modern design
  • Updated content in the form of blog posts, news, deals and promotions 
  • A functioning search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
  • An online ordering function (even if your restaurant is on UberEats, you would be surprised how many people prefer to order directly from your restaurant

Your website is useful if people want to contact you or get details like your restaurant’s capacity for big reservations. Include these details on your website.  

Exaggerated, Tone Deaf and Scandalous Advertising 

Whew, those are a lot of words you want to avoid associating with your business. The best thing you can do for your business is to avoid producing content with controversial topics associated with race, sex or class. Some trends aren’t worth your time, even if they seem popular. You risk looking like you’re trying to capitalize on social issues. Stick to your values as a restaurant in your content and it will pay off. 

You also want to give people a realistic portrayal of your food. While a taco with double cheese and extra guacamole looks attractive in a picture, if it’s different from what’s being served, it shouldn’t make the cut. Take it from the Arby’s court case, in which the restaurant chain allegedly advertised approximately 100% more meat on sandwiches than served in reality.  Consumers complained that the ads were inaccurate because people received less food and different menu items. 

Promising free food in exchange for comments or likes 

A better way to do this is running an ad campaign offering 20% off a family meal if users repost your content on their Instagram stories or make a TikTok vlog visiting your restaurant. This is enough to make people want to post but not so much that you run at a loss. 

Abandoning traditional marketing methods 

While social media can put your restaurant on people’s screens, word of mouth has always been the greatest advertising strategy. In addition to your advertising, keep traditional advertising methods like loyalty programs, community boards and community engagement in your schedule. 

Focus on providing great customer service so people will want to share about your business and give good reviews. If you do get bad reviews, engage! Making things right and treating customers respectfully can turn a bad situation into an awesome review about your service and efforts to keep people happy. 

Restaurant Advertising Done Right

The best way to advertise is to represent your restaurant’s brand authentically and engage with customers in memorable ways. When you create an advertising strategy, remember that connecting with your audience and building relationships will get you far. 

People will be attracted to your restaurant and you can keep them coming back – with your food and engaged social media presence. 

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