The restaurant industry is fast paced and full of competition. In 2018, 63% of restaurants reported using social media to advertise. Despite a growing number of restaurants joining social media, a sizable amount of restaurants are making 5 major mistakes…

Inconsistent aesthetic and branding

Many restaurants make the mistake of having an inconsistent brand image and aesthetic on social media. Potential customers view the content you post on social media as a means of foreshadowing the experience and vibe they would experience while there. Restaurants must ask themselves, “What impressions, moods, and vibes do I want to portray?” Is your restaurant a friendly family outing spot? A trendy bar and grill for millennials? A high brow, sit-down restaurant aimed at sophisticated urbanites? Whatever the brand image is, it’s important to stick to it when posting on social media. When people visit your social media pages, they aren’t just seeing each post in a vacuum. They see each post alongside all the rest, which if consistent, can create an overarching brand image and aesthetic. This is particularly true on Instagram as the grid layout of an account lends itself to creating an overall visual mood.

Once you have chosen your brand image and aesthetic you may ask, “How do I maintain consistency in my posts?” To build a consistent visual aesthetic, try using photos that compliment each other. This can be done through several means, such as having a consistent color scheme, using the same editing style in all the pictures, using similar photo styles and even using the same camera. The content of your social pages will appear like one, unified collective body of work once you’ve achieved a consistent visual aesthetic.

Low Quality Photos

Many restaurants make the mistake of posting low quality photos. Social media users have become accustomed to high quality images and anything less is simply below par. Due to the design of social media feeds, your restaurant’s post appear on the same footing as the friends, artists, and celebrities potential customers may follow. Modern technology has made producing high quality images cost-efficient . Most premium smartphones produce high quality images and entry-level digital cameras can be purchased for just over $500. Image quality isn’t just dependent upon the camera that you use, however. High quality images also have strong composition and proper exposure.

Not leveraging User Generated Content (UGC)

It might be safe to say the majority of restaurants are not leveraging user-generated content to the extent that they could. User-generated content (UGC) is social media content created by your customers. When customers post content about your restaurant, they are introducing your brand to their personal network of social media followers. In general, people are more likely to try a new product or service if it was recommended or approved by a friend. This same phenomenon extends to social media.

Not investing in paid ads

Many restaurants believe that they don’t need to invest in paid social ads. While some restaurants may see notable organic growth on social media, they represent a minority. In reality, growing your page organically tends to be a long, slow process involving a fair amount of luck. Using paid ads allows you to expedite your rate of page growth and engagement. Paid ads also allow for detailed targeting and insights on potential customers.

Not having a social page

Perhaps the biggest mistake restaurants make on social media is not having any social media at all. Recent estimates say the average American spends over 2 hours and 22 minutes a day using social media. If your restaurant is not on social media, then you are missing out on a reliable channel to reach potential customers. Social media also can be used as a means of shaping public perception and increasing social credit.