It’s the question every restaurant owner wants to know – is my social media strategy working? How can I measure it? How can I prove it?
To answer these questions you first have to answer this question: What are your social media goals?
Not all Facebook pages are built to do the same thing, so there is no blanket answer to how to measure yours. Look at your goal and then look at your current content – is it driving toward that goal? That is what you need to measure to understand whether it is working.
Here are some examples of how you can match your social media content to your goals and measure their success.
I want my Facebook Page to…
Provide General Awareness of My Restaurant and Who We Are
Let’s face it – every restaurant needs a Facebook Page today. Customers will try to check in, leave comments or just generally check you out, and you need to be on Facebook in order for that to happen. In this case, focus content on items that would let a general audience learn more about you: interior photos, food photos, staff photos and fun facts, highlight menu items, share community events and news, provide recipes or pairing tips, chef profiles and pictures, food facts, etc. The goal is to have an ongoing presence, stay top of mind, respond to comments and look like you are in business (i.e. you have to post a couple times each week, don’t start a page and abandon it).
General Facebook analytics will help you track general awareness:
- Look for steady increase in weekly number of page likes (people who follow your page) and look for minimal weekly unlikes (people who stop following your page).
- Monitor post reach (number of people who saw your posts). This is tricky because Facebook recently announced that they limit organic reach (unpaid), but look for large dips or spikes to determine what types of post are reaching more people. Benchmarks and trends are the way to measure success here.
Engage with My Followers
Online engagement with your restaurant can keep it top of mind for customers. The more engagement with a post, the more it will be shown in followers’ newsfeeds, too. Engagement can mean clicks, comments, likes or shares. There is no one silver bullet for what works here, consider your specific target audience/follower base, your restaurant personality and type of restaurant.
Then test different types of posts that may illicit a response, such as links to relevant stories, photos/albums, videos, jokes, questions, and combinations of all the above. Think about the action you want them to take (i.e. like, share, comment). For instance, people are probably less likely to comment on a post about a nightly special than they are to comment on a post asking what wine you would pair with that specific dish – you have to give them a reason to interact, not just to read it.
Look at the “Posts” tab in your restaurant Facebook page Insights to see a snapshot of:
- Publish date
- Post (the content you shared)
- Type (text, link, photo, etc)
- Reach (how many people saw it)
- Engagement (interaction with it)
This is a quick way to see what gets the most engagement. Obviously links will have more clicks than text posts, but text posts can boast more comments – they are both forms of engagement. See what is working for you and getting the most engagement overall. And monitor spikes and dips in engagement – is it related to reach, to the type of post, to the content of that post, or maybe to the day you posted? This will help you narrow in on what is most engaging to your audience and when.
Increase Restaurant Traffic Among My Followers
If you crave offline results for your online efforts, you have to get creative in both posting and measuring, and it takes a lot of work. Be warned – it’s not all-inclusive or always accurate, but it can be directional. Focus the majority of content around current and immediate happenings in the restaurant: daily specials, photos of the chef preparing something that day, reminders of events or deals, photos of food served that day/time (i.e. brunch reminder with Bloody Mary or daily featured pizza coming out of the oven), secret words/phrases/codes/etc for a free drink or appetizer good that day only, etc. The idea is to get in front of followers at the right time with a message telling them why they should dine in your restaurant that day. Immediacy and relevance are key.
This may be an opportunity for the occasional paid ad on Facebook or Twitter, too. You can target prospective customers in your area or use the Custom Audiences feature on Facebook where you can supply a list of customers (i.e. from your newsletter or loyalty program) and show ads to those customers on Facebook.
Tracking these results isn’t as easy or automated as things like engagement on the page, but not impossible with a little offline work. Some ways you can measure if Facebook drove more traffic or sales to your restaurant include:
- Track secret words or codes (that you posted on Facebook) used for free drinks/appetizers. If those secret words were only shared on Facebook you know the source. Use different secret words on Twitter or other social media channels to track channel effectiveness.
- Compare sales for menu items that you featured on Facebook one week to the week prior to featuring that item on Facebook. There are a lot of factors that can affect sales week to week, so this is purely directional, but may provide a small glimpse if you see a spike.
- Ask your customers. Your servers can ask guests if they follow you on Facebook and if they saw today’s post. (This is also a great way to get new Facebook followers if they say no).
If you use Custom Audiences on Facebook for paid ads, and you can tie emails, phone numbers or addresses to sales, you can actually compare purchase behavior of customers who saw an ad on Facebook with customers who did not.
And don’t forget to use your Facebook Insights to see the times of day when your followers are typically online. This is when you need to post to get their immediate attention.
Increase Traffic to My Website
If your website is a big revenue generator with online ordering, your restaurant Facebook page may be a good source of traffic. The key is to get followers to click through from Facebook to your site. This will take more than general posts about your restaurant – your followers already know about your restaurant. They need a reason to click through. One solution could be a blog on your website. This provides content that you can share on your Facebook page, with click-through to your site. Explore content ideas that showcase your expertise, your staff, and your specialties for a blog, and use those articles, photos and links on your Facebook page.
You can track clicks on Facebook in your page Insights, and depending on your web tracking software, you can measure spikes in web traffic, traffic sources and other changes in your website behavior.
There is no one answer for how to measure your restaurant social media strategy. Be clear in your goals, set your strategy to match those goals, and measure the specific impact to those goals. And then go back, refine and optimize based on those findings, and continuing measuring.