As of 2022, most people spend up to 147 minutes per day on social media. Among those competing for everyone’s 2+ hours of likes, views, and follows are restaurants. And it’s an effective strategy for gaining a competitive edge.
Another study shows that 45% of U.S. diners tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post by the establishment. 36% of them follow restaurants on social media. And 42% interact with restaurants on at least one social media platform. Attracting customers is just one consideration factor.
Rather than relying on “help wanted” signs or job postings, savvy restaurateurs also actively recruit their job candidates through social media. By creating a unique online presence, you expose people to your brand and its work culture.
Why people follow restaurants on social media
People follow restaurants on social media to gain an insider’s perspective. To discover upcoming menu items and learn more about their favorite mixologists and chefs. Or for the inclusive feel that comes with being part of a community.
But they don’t follow restaurants to be bombarded by non-stop advertisements or strictly promotional content. People want to be involved in the conversation.
The ways in which you engage with your audience depend a lot on the social media platform(s) you use and the audience your quick-service restaurant (QSR) wants to reach. Let’s get more familiar with the top social media apps around.
Popular types of social media content today
Today’s fastest growing and most popular social media app is TikTok. It’s even prompted Instagram and Snapchat to respond by creating copycat video features of their own (Reels and Spotlight respectively.) For the younger Gen Z audience, it’s also changing how people use the internet to find restaurants. Many Gen Zers now turn to TikTok for online searches rather than Google.
Instagram is the second-most popular social media platform with 33.3 million users (compared to TikTok’s 37.3 million) with those born between 1997 and 2012. When it comes to Twitter, Millennials remain the most active user base on the platform with men between 25-34 years of age its largest demographic.
Facebook and YouTube continue to be the most widely used online platforms for all U.S. adults: 69% still use Facebook and 73% use the video-sharing site.
Whichever audience you seek to attract, the most important thing you can do is create a social media account for your restaurant. Choose the one platform that best fits your target audience and master it by regularly building content.
Tips for easily building social media content
1. Get your best employees involved
If your QSR has some great employees, more than likely they’re connected with some pretty cool people outside of work, too—both online and in real life. Especially your Gen Z staff. As the first generation of digital natives, more than 65% of them use social media each day and care about their online presence.
Their involvement in your efforts doesn’t need to be complicated. Employees already active on social media are likely willing ambassadors of your QSR.
With a little support and encouragement, their participation comes naturally. Ask your employees to post short-form videos, images, hashtags, and other content about your QSR on their social media channels. When a new position becomes available, ask them to reach out and give referrals to their followers.
2. Create a personal brand presence
As you start to establish your QSR’s online presence with social media, don’t forget to build up your personal brand as well. What are the things that make your business resonate with customers? What differentiates it from the rest?
Creating content through the lens of a personal brand will give you focus and provide customers (and followers) something more to relate with.
For example, you could emphasize the craftsmanship and sophistication of your restaurant with behind-the-scenes short-form video content of how your food is made. Your staff is already doing the work, making it easy to capture.
You could become the QSR known for its people. Sharing their perspectives and stories with attention-grabbing visuals or captions via single-photo posts. Or be known for your integrity by responding to customers’ online reviews.
3. Post content on a regular basis
Getting into a rhythm with promoting restaurants and attracting candidates on social media takes time. But it quickly becomes second nature the more often you post. Here are tips for keeping an engaging social media presence going:
Stick to the basics: Whether online, in-store or on the mobile app, the look and feel of your brand (and its voice) should be consistent for your customers on every platform.
Highlight your employees: Profiling the people who make your business unique is an effective way to humanize your online presence and help customers feel connected.
Bring them into your story: Don’t just tell people your QSR is a great place to work, show them. Post a video to let your audience see what it’s like to be part of your team.
Engage with your audience: Host livestream events, Q&A sessions, and interactive polls to create a buzz. Build anticipation and give people a reason to keep coming back.
Above all, post frequently with quality content. Daily or weekly, it’s up to you. There are tools available that let you schedule posts in advance. If someone on your staff is especially tech-minded or interested in crafting social media, it might even make sense to assign them responsibility over your accounts.
The time to build an online presence is now
In the past, many QSR owners and operators were slow to get on the social media bandwagon and put their message out to their audience. But if you’re passionate about this industry, you can no longer afford to be on the sidelines.
Remember, success on social media looks different for everyone. But you’re no stranger to hard work, commitment, or innovation. The more you understand and leverage the technology, the more you’ll begin to attract more employees, get (and retain) more customers, and build more brand equity for your business.
For more insights on using social media as a hiring tool for your QSR, check out our on-demand webinar with restaurant marketing specialist Bruce Irving.