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August 11, 2023 | Jordan Rhyner

Savoring Social: Integrating Paid Social Media into Restaurant Marketing

In 2023, restaurants are not just competing for customers in their physical locations, but also in the red ocean of digital space. Having a social media presence is no longer a suggestion, it’s a requirement, and an organic social strategy is not enough.

Cultivating an organic following can be effective. However, integrating paid advertising can drive engagement, increase brand awareness and foot traffic, and ultimately boost the bottom line. The goal is to stand out from the competition, but how does a brand cut through the noise?

Keep reading to explore how to incorporate paid media into restaurant marketing and take your social strategy from good to undeniably great.

1. Set SMART Goals

Before you do anything, set clear objectives and expectations for your brand. The goals should be:


For example, are you looking to increase foot traffic, promote a new menu item, or enhance brand awareness? By setting clear goals, you’ll be better equipped to create impactful campaigns.

2. Know Your Target Audience Every great paid social media strategy revolves around understanding the target audience. Study existing customer data, create detailed buyer personas and map out the customer journey. Keep in mind age, sex, location, and interests. This information will help guide ad targeting and creative content decisions.

3. Choose Your Social Platforms Wisely

In restaurant marketing, not all social media platforms are created equal.

Instagram, for example, is extremely visual and can highlight the best your restaurant has to offer from dinner specials to a beautiful bar. TikTok can encapsulate your brand’s overall tone and vibe, while Facebook offers advanced targeting options to reach certain demographics. Choose the format that best aligns with your campaign goals and target audience.

4. Content Must Be Compelling

Once you’ve decided on which platforms to use, creating engaging content is key. Visually appealing videos or images in a carousel format that showcase signature dishes, the restaurant’s ambience, and special events entice viewers to learn more about your brand. It also encourages them to take action whether that be viewing the menu or getting directions. Bottom line: your content should tell a story.

5. Geo-Targeting

Implementing geo-targeting allows ads to be shown to customers within a specific geographic area which is a vital tool for restaurants. Location-based targeting can be utilized to reach potential users who are nearby and are likely to visit or are actively searching for “lunch near me” or “best martini in Dallas.” This strategy is especially effective for promoting limited-time offers or daily specials.

6. Mobile Is King

It’s rare that anyone goes anywhere without their mobile device these days, so optimizing paid media ads for viewing on a cell phone is essential. Utilize concise copy, responsive design, and captivating visuals that translate well on to small screens.

7. Test, Monitor, and Analyze

In any paid social media campaign, you should always experiment with different ad creatives, copy variations, and targeting options through A/B testing. Regular monitoring and analyzing campaign performance and key metrics such as click-through rates and conversions can help to identify what resonates best with your audience. You can then refine your ads for optimal results.

8. Budget Carefully

Being strategic with your budget will maximize the impact of your paid social media efforts. Allocate a smaller budget at first and gradually scale up as you see positive results. Continuously monitor the ROI to help ensure the most value possible is being gained from your investment.

Following these 8 simple tips can heighten your online presence, attract new customers, and grow deeper, meaningful connections with your audience. Integrating paid social media into your restaurant marketing strategy will help you harness the full potential of your brand’s success and continued growth. The digital landscape is ever-changing, so stay informed about the latest trends by checking in on our weekly blog posts!