How to get the most out of your Facebook page as a restaurant or cafe

Recently I’ve done a bunch of study with Facebook and last week sat their new Digital Marketing Associate certification and passed – woohoo!

This has caused me to do some serious study on Facebook and all it’s features, and even though I thought I knew the product pretty well, I’ve learnt loads more.

Even better, is I’ve got to apply a lot of what I’ve learned on client accounts.

Most people know Facebook can be a wonderful tool for people in the hospitality industry i.e. restaurants, bars, cafes, delis etc, IF they use it to its full potential.

However from recently overhauling x3 hospitality Facebook business pages in Tasmania, I thought a post on how I approached this and some of the features I applied and why might be helpful to other hospitality businesses out there.

STEP 1: GAIN ACCESS

Whilst I can take a surface level look at any given Facebook page without any admin access, I generally ask my clients to give me admin level access so I can get in and have a good poke around at not just the front end (what people see when they look at your business page) but also the back end of their Facebook page.

STEP 2: FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT – MAKING SURE THE PROFILE PIC + COVER GRAPHIC ARE GOOD

I generally commence my ‘poke around’ with first impressions. For instance have they got the basics right of a page, with the profile image having a clear and well cropped logo and their cover graphic using the prime real estate of sharing some relevant imagery in the form of one well sized image, a slide show of up to x5 relevant images or a video? If not, I’ll locate their logo and the best pictures I can find to showcase the business in question (video cover graphics are probably my favourite) and then upload this.

STEP 3: CHECK THE SETTINGS / TEMPLATES & TABS

The next thing I generally check is what template the page is using. A hospitality business should generally be using the Restaurants & Cafes page template, but surprisingly not every one is. So if this isn’t in place, I’ll amend the template to suit.

With this in place I’ll then scroll down the tabs and turn on any which are relevant which aren’t already on. 

STEP 4: REVIEW THE PAGE INFO (ALSO UNDER SETTINGS)

The description area in this area of your Facebook page settings is pretty important. It’s your 255 character chance to tell the world about yourself and what makes you unique. In the case of one of the businesses I worked on, there was nothing on there at all, so here’s what I added given the character limitation:

Pasini’s is a pizza and pasta lovers paradise in Burnie, Tasmania & available for dine in or takeaway. Whilst we’re famous for our pizza and pasta, we cater to all dietary requirements & also offer seafoods, deli food, home baked goods, local wine & more.

The logic was that I was clearly communicating what the place prides themselves on and was known for, and let anyone reading it know that they do dine in, takeaway, cater to dietary requirements (very important in hospitality) and had plenty more to offer.

I also checked the categories and add any relevant, check all the contact details are up to date and correct (amazing how many aren’t!) and anything else which seems relevant. 

NOTE – Some of the fields in this section will be removed on September 1, 2019. So consider adding the information that will soon no longer feature to your Page’s Description or Story in the About tab.

STEP 5: REVIEW THE ABOUT SECTION

Every page on Facebook has an about section, so make sure you also check this information too. In this section, I’m always looking to make sure that the opening hours are correct, payment methods accepted are outline, any other social networks or website is featured, and the page ha a ‘Story’. This is your long form opportunity to tell even more about your business so best you use it!  For restaurants or cafes, it’s also generally important to make sure the menu is added here. It’s common after all for people to see what you have to offer before they book. To add a menu:

  1. Click About on the left side of your Page.
  2. Below More Info, click Add Menu.
  3. Upload a photo or PDF file of your menu, or click Link to Website Menu to link to your website’s menu.
  4. Once your menu has finished uploading or you’ve added a link to your menu, click Confirm.

STEP 6: AMEND YOUR CALL TO ACTION BUTTON

There are many options available to your page when it comes to adding / amending a call to action button including:

  • Book with you
  • Contact you
  • Learn more about your business
  • Shop with you
  • Call now
  • Download your app or play your game

In the case of restaurants I’d say the ‘Book with You’ is the most relevant option to choose IF you have an online booking system (which I’d highly recommend, more on this below). If not, call now or contact you is probably the next best thing. 

STEP 7: ENSURE YOUR PHOTOS ARE UP TO SCRATCH

If the images on your photos page are sub standard, this is definitely something to fix when it comes to a restaurant or cafe page. Prospective guests will definitely judge you by the look of your food, so either arrange a photo shoot (we can help, see our packages here) or go looking for images your guests may have taken and uploaded on networks like TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google My Business. These can be really good! With these I’d advise on creating one or more photos, depending on what you can turn up out there and the quality of them. For instance if you can get your hands on enough high quality breakfast shots, potentially create an album dedicated to your breakfast menu, lunch menu and dinner menu. If not, you may just have one menu called ‘FOOD’ or similar to showcase your food.

STEP 8: CHECK AND AMEND YOUR MESSAGING SETTINGS

There is a lot you can do here, and many businesses haven’t activated the power of messenger. These days, people expect to be able to find you and message you on Facebook to make general enquiries such as whether you are family friend, cater to dietary requirements, take private bookings and more. Make it easy for them by going into the settings area and messaging and consider activating the following:

1/ Prompt people to send messages – People visiting your Page may see more ways to send you a message, such as an open chat window. These will appear if you’re online or if your Page is very responsive to messages.

2/ Automated responses – once located under your messaging settings, these are now under the inbox tab. I’d recommend activating the following for a restaurant & cafe:

Away messages – When away messages are on, your Page is away and sends away messages. You can manually make your Page away in Inbox or schedule times for your Page to be away each week. You can customise your message to let people know how long you’ll be away and when you’ll respond. I’d recommend setting away messages for outside of your opening hours UNLESS you intend to be responsive at all times (which could be good for business, but exhausting).

Instant reply – Respond to the first message someone sends your Page. You can customise your message to say hello, give them more information about your Page or let them know when to expect a response.

Here’s an example for a message of a restaurant that prefers phone bookings:

Welcome to Pasinis! We are excited to welcome you into our cafe/wine bar/deli. The best way to get a hold of us is during working hours 8am – 8pm via phone on (03) 6375 1076 otherwise leave a message and we will be back to you as soon as we can.

Contact information – Respond to a message asking for contact information.  You can customise your message to include additional contact information, such as a WhatsApp number or an Instagram link. Here’s an example:

We are located at Shop 2, 70 Burgess St, Bicheno Tasmania 7215. Our phone number is (03) 6375 1076.

Location – Respond to a message asking about the location of your business. You can customise your message to include additional information about your location, such as options for parking or public transportation. Here’s an example:

We’re located at Shop 2 / 70 Burgess St, Bicheno, Tasmania 7215. We hope you come visit too. We’re open 8am – 8pm.

Custom questions – Suggest questions for people to tap so it’s easier for them to start a conversation. Then set up automated responses to those questions. Here’s some questions we added for a client we worked on recently. Tailor these to suit you:

  • Do you cater to dietary requirements?
  • Do you cater to groups?
  • What kind of food do you offer?
  • Can I see your menu?

Other things which could help your restaurant or cafe with it’s marketing:

1/ Set up a website – whilst you can do a lot with a Facebook page, as a restaurant or cafe, we’re of the belief you still need a website, and on this you can integrate your Facebook + Instagram page so you can optimise it and have a chance of ranking on Google.

2/ Set up a Google My Business listing or claim any you do have – these turn up really

3/ Create or gain access to your Instagram and also fix this up (maybe a part 2 article!) This should be connected to your Facebook page so you can use the all in one inbox feature on a Facebook page to manage all enquiries/comments.

4/ Get an online bookings system and connect it to the page, and start to take online bookings. We’d recommend checking out: 

  • thefork.com.au/ (was known as Dimmi, Trip Advisor now owns it)
  • opentable.com.au (one of the larger players)
  • yelp.com.au (ranks well on Google)

Once you have an online booking system set up, you can  add a book now button and start taking bookings via your Facebook page!

5/ Build /clean up the rest of your online presence for your restaurant/cafe. Make sure you have a spreadsheet with all the places you’re listed on such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and more, then fix them all up with current contacts, menus, opening hours, photos etc and then list on more to build your online presence.

We hope you’ve found this blog helpful. Let us know your thoughts and feel free to share this with anyone else who may find it helpful.

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