Social Media is a hungry beast. It demands creating a constant stream of engaging content which is not an easy thing to do – and which explains why there is so much poor content flooding channels.

While everyone knows it is absolutely essential to have a presence on social media, it’s not enough to just have a page on Facebook or Instagram. To truly connect with your audience in a meaningful way, you need to be posting engaging content on a consistent basis, that is in line with your marketing strategy.

So, for those who might struggle from time to time to come up with ideas that your audience will find interesting, here are some social media tips you might find handy for your F&B outlets.

  1. Get to know your staff

Your staff are an asset to your business. Leverage their individual talents, expertise, personalities, passions and personal networks.  For example, you could share your pastry chef’s favourite dish or best cooking tip, or showcase community pride: did members of staff attend the same school, live in the area or participate in local sports /activities; or can they sing or play an instrument? Also, don’t forget to congratulate the newest employee you bring on board, sharing their background and what they’ll be doing at your restaurant.

A great example of using staff as content comes from those Bearded Bakers @knafehbakery. Check out their pages. It’s no wonder they have over 83,000 followers, without even having a store or a regular location.

  1. Cross-promote

Do you have a ton of Facebook likes, but just a few followers on Instagram? Use your most popular social channels to promote the other channels. The more touch points you can build with a customer outside your restaurant the better and social media is the perfect way to do it.

  1. Get behind the scenes

Give customers a sneak peek into the inner-workings of your restaurant. Behind the scenes, photos and videos should paint a bigger picture of how you do what you do. For example, share a photo or video of connecting with a local or premier supplier or farmer; post b.o.h. favourite staff traditions; show the preparation or the ingredients that go into a popular dish.  Check out the Italian food blog from @vincenzosplate – he does great behind the scenes content.

  1. Re-share user-generated content

Don’t underestimate your customers. With their permission, simply ask via a comment if they would allow you to share, retweet or repost their content from your page. You can find this content in a few places e.g. Look up your location on Instagram to find photos taken at your restaurant; Conduct a hashtag search with your restaurant name; Conduct a Facebook or Twitter search with the name of your restaurant to see if people mentioned it without using a hashtag; Check out the photos and posts you’ve been tagged in on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

  1. Highlight positive reviews

If you get a killer review from a customer or critic, share it and link it back to the original review. Not only does it look good, but it also gives a platform to your customers and members and makes them feel special.

  1. Promote community activities

Share local events you think your customers would care about e.g. Christmas lights, school or charity fetes and fundraisers, local council or chamber of commerce activities and so on. Don’t forget about cross promoting internally. If your club is hosting a show or major promotion or sporting event – let your followers know about it and offer pre or post dining options. If your club has a gym, talk about healthy dining options or tips.

  1. Embrace annual events

Create a calendar of annual events that relate to your f&b operation e.g. Xmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Melbourne Cup etc.  But don’t just post an ad for a lunch or dinner offer. Get your chef or staff to share some of their favourite childhood dishes that mean Xmas to them, or their mum’s favourite recipe or family tradition.  Also look for some of the more obscure events to build content around, like national Pizza Day or Global Champagne Day.

  1. Share recipes, tips and tricks

You don’t have to give away the ingredient for the secret sauce that sells your burgers, but you can keep it simple and share some of the more basic menus items.  Also think about cooking, storage, sustainability, preparation or produce selection tips. These are all great for video content and very shareable.  Remember every post doesn’t have to be about selling a product. Educational, informational and inspirational posts are very engaging and will build your audience.  People will get tired of just looking at another plated meal or cocktail photo.

  1. Go Weather Themed

If it’s raining, post about the yummy soups you offer that are great for warming the soul. Or if it’s scorching outside, centre your posts around thirst-quenching beers or chilled cocktails. If you have a great location, outdoor area or balcony – use that too.  It’s an easy way to not only stay current but to empathise with and reach your customers.

  1. Have someone new take over your account

Think about giving access to your social media account to one of your most loyal customers or staff members to do an account “takeover”. This allows your audience to see your restaurant through the eyes of someone new and a fresh perspective is always interesting to hear. Just make sure you outline specific instructions for running the accounts, basic dos and don’ts while allowing that person to have enough creative freedom to showcase their individuality. Also set the account take over for a specific time or even an occasion. You could even do a deal with a supplier and have a brewer take over you bar account for beer week or a sporting personality take over the account for grand final week for example.