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5 Restaurant Social Media Trends in 2021

  • by: Shannon Harper
  • On: 8, Jan 2021
10 min read

Well, 2020 is officially over. By now, many restauranteurs have found the painfully apparent need to evolve. Regardless of how restaurant professionals feel about social media, it's undeniably an essential component for growth in 2021. Unarguably, guest behavior has changed forever.

In fact, 95% of restauranteurs agree that online restaurant technology improves their business. Many restaurants that have implemented online ordering receive 2-10x as many orders online as they did via telephone.


1. Facebook Lookalike Audiences

A whopping 33% of restaurants are not paying for social media ads. This statistic exists despite the fact that radio, cable TV, and newspapers are fading away. Facebook ads have emerged as the most effective advertising channel for physical locations. However, many restaurants are unaware of the most lucrative way of reaching their target market with lookalike audiences.

How Facebook Lookalike Audiences Work

how to create lookalike audiences on Facebook


1. Restaurants can upload their email lists to create a Facebook Ads audience.

2. Facebook will connect the emails of current Facebook users.

3. Then, Facebook will match the Facebook users in a list to a similar lookalike audience. This audience is similar based on demographics, online activities, and likes.

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Facebook Lookalike Ad Statistics Based on Audience Drill-Down Percentages

Facebook provides the opportunity to choose the top percentage of lookalike audiences. The lower the percentage, the more identical the audience will be to an uploaded email list. 

compare lookalike audiences based on percentages


2. Social Media Reputation Management

Today, 3 out of 4 customers look a Facebook comments and images to make informed decisions on retail or restaurant locations. Gen X and Millennials are 99% more likely to choose a restaurant based on social media and online reviews. Additionally, restaurant customers are more likely to leave high ratings on Facebook than any other social media platform. When restaurant brands engage with customers, they see these customers spend up to 40% moreOver 71% of customers are more likely to recommend restaurants that quickly respond to social media inquiries. 

Unarguably, social media reputation management poses a higher level of importance in 2021 than any other year. Customers are now more comfortable with researching and communicating with brands online than in-person.


How Social Media Reputation Management Differs from Review Site Reputation Management

social media and review site reputation management for restaurants

Proactive vs. Reactive Reputation Management

how to respond to negative restaurant reviews


How to Get More Positive Reviews with Bloom Intelligence & Automated Feedback Loop Campaigns

how to increase positive restaurant reviews

how to automate restaurant reviews

3. Social Media Influencers

Many restaurants and cafes are turning to social media influencers as an affordable marketing method. Below are some examples of restaurant influencers. When choosing influencers, restaurants should:

  • Check to make sure the influencer has a high amount of real followers.
  • Ensure the influencer has high engagement rates based on their follower counts.
  • Determine if the influencer's follower base matches a restaurant's target market.

example of restaurant marketing influencer

restaurant influencer marketing campaign example

4. Social Media Calendars & Scheduling


Accountability is an essential component of social media management in the food & beverage industry. Too often, restaurant owners solely attempt to manage their social media without the time to do so. Instead, many restaurant owners may benefit from hiring a marketing person, working with an agency, or delegating social media to an experienced team member.

content marketing guide for restaurant marketing

Social Media Calendars

Social media calendars also help provide accountability. Every month, restaurant professionals can create a calendar that can include:

  • Food specials (two-for-one specials, drink specials, etc.)
  • Holidays (National Burger Day, Columbus Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, etc.)
  • Events (live music, game nights, etc.)
  • Promotions (loyalty programs, catering, etc.)
  • Team features (featuring employee birthdays, anniversaries, introductions, etc.)
  • Customer spotlights (featuring loyal customers)
  • Sports events (football catering, Baseball on TVs, etc.)
  • App features (in-app ordering, loyalty programs, etc.)
  • News and public relations

The best time for restaurants to post to social media is between 1 and 3pm. These times are when most social media sites receive the most traffic. Restaurants and coffee shops can also use social media management platforms like Hootsuite and SproutSocial to view their own best times to post based on engagement rates.

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5. Social Media Optimization

Similar to listings such as Google My Business, restaurants need to optimize social media pages.

Social media pages should include:

  • Address
  • Hours of operation
  • Menus
  • Phone number
  • Reservation links
  • Ordering links
how restaurants cafes and bars can beat competition and win

Tackling social media and reputation management can help restaurants decrease acquisition costs. As more customers visit a location, more customers will share their experiences to encourage other first-time visitors. Then, loyal customers are more likely to return. In the end, loyal customers bring more revenue than one-time visitors. For this reason, it's important to provide customer service where your customers want to reach you. While adapting to social media management may be uncomfortable, it is an essential element for success in 2021.



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