Throughout history, restaurants have gained notoriety or fame just from word of mouth or reviews in the paper. A friend’s recommendation is all one really needs in order to go to a restaurant.

A smashing review by an acclaimed foodie will also bring in patrons by the boatload, and for the time being, the restaurant will flourish.

That’s the thing with restaurants­ most don’t last too long. One can find success for year after year, then for some reason, it’s gone.

It might have been the food, it might have been the management, or it might have been the economy. Either way, it could have been avoided with some savvy use of social media.

Of course, any good restaurant can live off of word of mouth, but some exposure on social media can help entice potential customers, or simply let people know you’re out there, so they know your restaurant is an option they should consider.

One way to build your customer base is to create an Instagram account for the restaurant. Post pictures of some new specials, or even a selfie of each staff member with a short bio as the caption.

If people see the people behind your restaurant, they’ll start to build a connection with the business, as they may have a favorite waiter or may want to know more about the chef.

Give customers the ability to establish some kind of relationship with the restaurant and they’ll keep coming in.

Creating a memorable hashtag, like #sommeliersaturday for example, will help keep your restaurant in the minds of customers; they’ll look forward to the weekly posts dedicated to the hashtag.

A beautifully prepared meal that looks as good as it tastes will get someone’s mouth watering as they scroll down their Instagram feed, and suddenly the name of your restaurant is at the forefront of their memory. I think they’ll be stopping in soon.

Snapchat is another app that restaurants need to get on. Museums are on it, and they have begun to draw in young people who wouldn’t have even known of the museum if it wasn’t on Snapchat.

Join Snapchat, and you’ll have a great chance to influence young people and get them to visit your place of business.
A simple post to your restaurant’s Story captioned “screenshot this and show it to your waiter for 10% off your check!” or a promotion of that nature will surely gain the attention of millennials.

We millennials don’t really have ties to a certain restaurant, so exposing us to you as much as possible, and doing it through Snapchat is a great way to earn the money our parents gave us for this month.

Having a member of your waitstaff post a few snaps to the restaurant’s Story where they give a tour of the kitchen and all the people at work will make it seem hip and casual, which is what millennials look for.

The chef could also post a minute or two’s worth of Stories about how they prepare the kitchen for the day or what new dishes they’ve been working on for the menu.

Sometimes word of mouth isn’t enough to get someone to dine at your restaurant; maybe it’s just a bit too far away or doesn’t sound that great to them. If you show them otherwise via social media, they’ll become a believer and might even take to social media themselves and talk about how great their experience was.

You see, you really need to get going on that Snapchat and Instagram stuff, and I mean right meow.

Think about it like this; big brands try to expose their products and brand to people from a very early age. Restaurants don’t always do the best job at restaurant social media.

Of course, there are obvious reasons why, like a baby can’t call in to reserve a table for two, but restaurants still need to build their brands and market themselves to people at every age.

You may see a Story that a fancy restaurant that you can’t afford to go to posted, but it will be one of the restaurants you remember for when you can afford to dine there.

If they keep seeing your restaurant’s post on social media, they won’t forget about it and will always dream about the day they can finally visit.

You certainly don’t want to overexpose your restaurant, as posting too often will just make people sick and tired of seeing your constant posts. Yes, your specials this week are great, but when you share them every day for a month, people will start to unfollow your account.

For Instagram, posting a few pics a week is your best bet, as your followers will notice when your account posts something, since posts aren’t clogging their timeline every day.

Your social media accounts are not the main advertising resource you have at your disposal. Word of mouth and reviews of critics are what really bring people in, but social media is just an extension of those arms, only in a different space.

Your Snapchat or Instagram accounts will mostly serve as a reminder that you’re there; people don’t think about restaurants unless they’re hungry and don’t want to make anything. Posting a pic of a new dessert or entree on a Friday evening will remind people of your restaurant, and if the food looks great then they’ll convince themselves to come in that night.

I haven’t mentioned stupid Facebook or Twitter, and for good reason. Everyone is on Facebook, and having an account for your restaurant won’t do you much good other than to just mix your restaurant in with accounts of your competitors­ you need to go where they haven’t thought of going.

Restaurants aren’t on Snapchat. Not many, if any, are on Instagram. These are two avenues through which your restaurant can build its brand and expose itself to potential customers.

A boring Tweet or Facebook post about your restaurant will only get drowned out by the countless other posts on people’s timelines, so use images to your advantage. A meal may sound good when described, but seeing a picture of it will give people the details they really want.

When you use social media, don’t do it brashly, just waving your arms around like, “LOOK AT MEEE!!”. Keep it casual­ just slip your name in here and there, keeping your restaurant in the back of everyone’s minds.

The way you use social media will influence how people view your restaurant; think about the image of your restaurant, and if it’s the one you want to portray. If it’s not, take to Insta and Snapchat and change it, creating an image for tons of young people who can support your business for years to come.

If you share it, they will come.

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