Social media has proven to be a highly effective marketing tool for many businesses, including restaurants.

Consider some of these statistics and it’s easy to see why businesses are using social media:

● 87 percent of small business owners report that social media helps their business.

● Companies that receive more than 1,000 likes on Facebook experience 1,400 visits to their websites each day.

● Social media sites reach 8 out of 10 U.S. Internet users.

● Given these statistics, it’s no wonder business owners are putting so much into social media marketing.

Social media can definitely have an impact on a restaurant’s success. It’s a great way to get the word out about your restaurant, build your brand and get the word out about changes you have made—such as menu items.

Consider these tactics for letting your customers know about changes to your:

1. Design a web-based menu. With a web-based menu you can easily share links to new items and all the info will be pulled in, including the image for your new scrumptious item. Here’s an example from Simmer in Milwaukee.

 



It is absolutely essential that you have a web-based menu, not a PDF menu. Why? For simple sharing on social media, it’s easier to share web pages versus PDFs. With a web-based menu, the social sites can pull more detailed information like titles, descriptions and images. These elements help provide a richer experience on the social site, which increases engagement.

Also, once you have the attention of people on social media with the rich content they can easily access your web-based menu. Once your visitors are on your site they are more inclined to interact with your menu and can be enticed to come in and try out the new item, or perhaps place their order online.

2. Share high-quality images. You can entice your followers by sharing high-quality images of your new dishes on social media. Images can do amazingly well on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Images really pop compared to regular text updates.



It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s especially true when it comes to marketing a menu. An eye-catching, detailed image of your food can cause someone to start salivating and induce them to come in and give that dish a try.

You can take the images yourself, but food photography can be tricky. It might be worthwhile to hire a professional to take shots a couple times a year. Try offering them a free meal in exchange for a couple of photos.

You should upload these directly to your social profile from time to time, but also include them on your website where anyone can share them.

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3. Include social sharing buttons. Check the social sharing buttons underneath this delicious soup. Simmer in Milwaukee knows how to do it.



Social sharing buttons on food items on your web-based menu will allow those who are interested in your food to very easily share it with others. The more sharing that goes on, the more people are going to know about your restaurant and the more customers you are going to attract.

4. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile users. Your site should be mobile optimized if you want to reach smart phone and tablet users. People using their smartphones are driving the growth of social media, and many are choosing restaurants from their phones. Having a mobile-optimized website allows those who are seeing your food items on their mobile devices to easily access your website directly from their smartphones or tablets.

5. Partner with other businesses to promote new items. Partnerships can really expand your potential audience, especially on social media.

You could create a menu item inspired by another business in your area. Ask the local radio DJ what his or her favorite dish is and create a version of that. Then share the new item on social media and mention the local celebrity. They’ll likely reshare the update with all their followers and might even mention it on the radio!

There are tons of ways to include others in your dishes and it can really expand your social audience when you share those new items. Just use your imagination.

What are your tips for sharing new menu items on social media? Please share in the comments. We want to hear from you!

Brian Casel is the founder of Restaurant Engine, a website design solution for restaurants. Get a free Restaurant Website Checklist on the Restaurant Engine Blog.