As long as you are speaking directly to your target audience and staying true to your brand identity, you’ll be able to see growth.

As the move to digital media continues to increase, and traditional media decreases year-over-year, restaurants need to cater their marketing efforts the same way. Digital marketing allows businesses to connect with customers in ways impossible through traditional means.

For a restaurant to thrive and reach its demographics in today’s new market it is important to look at the differences between traditional media and digital media, to understand how consumers engage with brands on different social media platforms, and how to connect with your target audience using new media marketing.

Helping Your Restaurant Thrive

Social media is an amazing marketing tool for restaurants. In fact, 45 percent of diners in the U.S. say that they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time because of a post they saw on social media. With visually-focused platforms like Instagram and TikTok, restaurants can post pictures of different meals, videos of happy customers, and behind-the-scenes peeks into the back-of-house. These posts give viewers a glimpse of the restaurant experience and atmosphere before they ever set foot inside the building. 

By posting regular content on social media and your website, you will be able to increase brand recognition, connect with your customers, and increase your sales.

Traditional Media versus Digital Media

Traditional media includes methods such as radio, billboards, direct mail, and newspaper ads. These methods can still be highly effective depending on your target demographic and the area in which your restaurant is located. For the best results, however, it is best to add digital media marketing to your already existing traditional media marketing plans.

Digital marketing includes every type of marketing that lives on the internet. This can be the creation of a website, posting on social media, using customer reviews on Google, and partnering with influencers and food bloggers to increase your popularity online.

Consumer Engagement with Digital Media

Consumers engage with digital media every single day. Studies show that 88 percent of people do research online before heading to shop and eat in their town, so having a strong online presence is the best way to make sure those people choose your restaurant for their next meal.

When working on your online presence, your options are to engage in social media marketing, create a website, and partner with influencers and food bloggers.

Social Media

One of the biggest questions for restaurant owners involves money. How much should you be spending on your digital marketing? With social media, there is a wide range of options. If you are a small business owner and you are just starting out, you may choose to run your own social media and rely on organic growth instead of large numbers of paid advertisements.

If you are looking to engage directly with potential customers, social media is the best option in the modern marketplace. For example, TikTok has a billion active users every month, and 65 percent of TikTok’s content creators claim that they have gone to a restaurant because of a video they watched. The average adult spends 95 minutes a day on social media. If they are on Instagram, that time can be spent looking at stunning pictures of some of your best dishes.

Your Website

Having a website is essential for a modern business. With the onset of COVID, a website has become even more necessary. Restaurants can post about limited business hours, take online delivery and pick-up orders, and share information in the form of blog posts.

Having a site for your restaurant allows you to implement several popular marketing strategies. You can post customer reviews from other platforms like Google and Yelp. These positive reviews can positively impact potential customers and convince them to give your business a chance. You can also post blogs, foodie pictures, your menu, and content that helps to establish your brand story.

Influencers and Bloggers

Having a website is great, but having your restaurant featured on other websites helps to increase your reach and brand recognition. One of the best ways to do this is to work with influencers and food bloggers.

Food blogs and vlogs are highly lucrative and popular businesses. Reaching out to food bloggers and offering them complimentary meals is a great way to start a relationship that will help to increase your restaurant’s presence on the internet.

Connecting With Your Target Audience

The internet has created an environment of content democratization, meaning that a wide variety of people can create content and share it with the world. This creates an opportunity for even the smallest of businesses to reach out and find their ideal customers through methods such as social media marketing and blogging.

As you begin working with digital marketing strategies, remember that you can’t be everything to everyone. Figure out your message and your brand voice and stay true to that identity.

Will Your Restaurant Make the Most of New Media Marketing?

Making the most of digital marketing doesn’t mean that you have to be highly tech-savvy. Even entrepreneurs with minimal technology literacy can make the most of digital marketing by working with experts, learning from courses and other resources, and starting small.

No matter how you decide to market your business online, as long as you are speaking directly to your target audience and staying true to your brand identity, you’ll be able to see growth.

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer from the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics and, because she spent over six years in the restaurant business before writing full-time, takes a particular interest in covering topics related to the food and beverage industry. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter.

Expert Takes, Feature, Marketing & Promotions, Technology