Top 10 Social Media Must Haves for Restaurants

The "US Social Network Usage: 2011 Demographic and Behavioral Trends" analysis published that more than 64 percent of all internet users in the US use social networks to find relevant information. Restaurants can use social media to drive traffic to their restaurant website, announce new events, post recipes, hold contests, promote discounts and daily specials, and even give tours of the kitchen and facilities.

Here's a look at ten leading sites/applications to use in your restaurant marketing efforts:



facebook-square-150Creating a Facebook fan page for your restaurant is very essential. In one study done, 51 percent of people polled said they were much more likely to buy something or visit a restaurant of those they are fans of on Facebook. A fan page provides loyalty and brand recognition. Restaurants can offer fan incentives to "like" the page by providing discounts and offers only for those Facebook members that are a fan of the page. (more on facebook)   (



twitter-birdWho knew a single website that allowed for 140 character messages would become so popular? Restaurants should definitely consider using Twitter, a micro-blogging site that allows restaurants to quickly send short messages, including daily deals and promotions, to all followers. When a restaurant tweets something, followers can re-tweet it, allowing the message to reach a much wider audience. And aside from messages, restaurants can tweet pictures of customers, new dishes, or just fun happenings at the restaurant. (more on twitter)   (



foursquare-200Foursquare is a fun website enabling users to "check into" different venues, including restaurants. Foursquare is available as a mobile application for smart phones. By listing your restaurant on Foursquare, you have the ability to see how many people are "checking in" in real-time. When a person checks into the restaurant the most times out of other individuals, they are proclaimed the "mayor" of that location by Foursquare. A number of restaurants have started to offer special deals to the individual declared the mayor as a reward for their loyal patronage. (more on foursquare) (



If your restaurant has a website, then there is always room for a blog. A blog is the perfect outlet to publish content a restaurant wants to share. It is possible to blog about anything related to the restaurant itself or even the food service industry in general, such as new food service regulations or trends. Restaurants can share interesting information and facts about the food served, recipes of popular dishes, highlight certain employees, or discuss fun events going on. After, the restaurant can link the post to other social media networks for more exposure. (more on blogs)


Yelp and Urban Spoon

urbanspoon-yelp-200Review websites Yelp and UrbanSpoon are important additions to a restaurant's social media portfolio. Restaurants create a page by submitting their business details. These sites help people find great businesses nearby and offer plenty of information including contact details, location, the current menu, and local reviews. The websites also offer the ability for restaurants to respond to different reviews. If a customer had a negative experience, for example, the owner can leave a comment, saying the things they are trying to do to make it better, and even perhaps offer a special deal the next time they come in. (more on urbanspoon & yelp)   (,


Google Alerts

Creating Google Alerts for the restaurant name is the perfect opportunity to track mention of the restaurant online. All a restaurant has to do is set up their account. Google then sends alert messages whenever the restaurant is mentioned. Google sends a link to the website where the name of the restaurant is mentioned. Restaurants do this to see what is written about the restaurant - either positive or negative - and then respond accordingly. (



youtube-logoVideos are the perfect opportunity to provide people with a close up, behind the scenes look at your restaurant. YouTube is the most popular social media website for videos. Potential ideas for your videos include employee interviews, a back stage pass to the kitchen, customer reviews, or even a quick video on how to make a popular dish. Once a video is uploaded to YouTube's website, restaurants can post it on their other social media venues. (more on youtube)   (



flickr-logo-200It is true, pictures can be worth one thousand words and Flickr markets on that idea. Flickr is a photo sharing website where restaurants are able to post photos of their products, services, and things related to their restaurant. A restaurant can upload a photo of its latest special, new renovations, or just happy customers and employees. Then link the restaurant's website and other social media tools to the Flickr profile so others can see the pictures! (more on flickr)   (



Though Facebook and Twitter are great cost-free ways to conduct market research on a widespread basis, SurveyMonkey is often considered the go-to website to find out what customers like as well as do not like in a restaurant. A number of restaurants see these surveys as extremely invaluable as they provide great data. Restaurants that utilize SurveyMonkey tend to offer customers free discounts for filling out the survey and learning more about how the customers feel about the restaurant. (

While there are countless more sites out there, be sure to use this top ten list as a springboard guide to get your social media efforts going in the right direction.


Jaime Oikle is the Owner of and, a comprehensive web site for restaurant owners & managers filled with marketing, operations & service tips to help restaurants profit and succeed.

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