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How to Get Started With Advertising on Facebook


Jackie Prange

This just in: social media is a must have marketing strategy to entice potential customers to eat at your restaurant. Crafting a picture perfect Instagram feed and actively promoting your daily specials on Twitter will surely help whet their appetite, but don’t stop there.

Posts on your feed are only seen by users already following you or the ones who know enough about you to actively seek you out. This is great and all – but what about all of the hungry people who have never heard of your restaurant?

Let us introduce you to a great tool: Facebook advertising.

If you’re a business on Facebook, it’s now pretty much certain that you need to pay to have your content seen on people’s feeds (organic reach is all but dead for business pages – a sad but true story). So say goodbye to your run-of-the-mill ad in the local paper or that early morning radio ad that’s been playing on a loop for five years. With Facebook ads, you can spend as much (or as little) as you want to help fill your restaurant’s seats.

Here are a few ways you can get started with Facebook advertising at your restaurant.

Run Your Restaurant's Social Media Like a Pro

Want to fill seats, generate revenue, and get diners to spread the word?

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Set Some Goals

Don’t be the person who puts a bunch of time and money into Facebook advertising without first setting some clear goals and markers of success. Do you just want to increase likes on your page so more people will be aware of your brand? Do you have a specific discount promo or special you want to push? Do you want to encourage people to fill out a form to book a reservation? Think about the end goal: what do you want this particular ad to accomplish for your restaurant?

By setting a clear budget and clear goals from the outset, you’ll be able to see if your advertising efforts were a success or if they’ve fallen short.

Create Timely Geo-Specific Ads

Now the ad fun starts! A great way to drive local traffic to your restaurant is with the help of geo-targeted ads, which will hit people who are closest to your restaurant.

When you create your ads in your Ads Manager account, select “Reach people near your business”. You’ll then be prompted to select a few more targeting options, like radius, age, gender, ad placement, etc.

On top of location, you’ll want to make sure your ads are being delivered only when it’s most relevant for your customers. (Remember: social media is all about the here and now!) For example, if you’re looking to capture some foot traffic during the lunch rush, set your ads to run from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

The worst thing you can do is pay for ads when you don’t need customers. If you know you’re completely booked Saturday night, be sure to pause your ads during that time.

Leverage Your Email List

Don’t save your email list for weekly blasts – upload it to Facebook! With the help of ‘Custom Audiences’ you can easily upload a CSV of email addresses that deliver ads to those Facebook accounts associated with the list.

You can choose to segment your list, too.  Maybe you split your lists into customers, repeat customers, potential customers, etc. Whatever it is, upload the list and start advertising to them!

Turn Facebook Ads into an Instagram Ads

By nature of the name, you’d assume Facebook ads are made for, well, Facebook. Not quite! Any ad you create within Facebook can also be promoted on Instagram. The best part? You don’t even need an Instagram account to do so. This is a perfect option if millennials are your target audience and you still want your ad efforts to resonate with them.

Run Ads at the Same Time

Don’t think of Facebook advertising as a “one and done.” You should strive to have at least two ads running at any given time. This method allows you split test multiple offers and calls to action to see which ones resonate best with your customers.

One easy way to split test is by swapping out imagery: run one ad with a photo of a menu item while running another with a photo of your customers dining. Or, you can test your wording with your call to action: you’ll want to know  whether “Call Now” or “Get Directions” performs best.

Get Creative with Your Ads

Potential patrons want to see a few key items before deciding on a restaurant. First, your menu. Second, your prices. So why not create an ad that will push people directly to your menu? Bonus: you’ll have endless ideas for images, as you can feature whichever photogenic menu item you desire.

If you’re looking for ways to creatively drive traffic to your restaurant, it’s time you consider Facebook advertising – I mean, unless you can find a way to micro-target location, age, and income by way of your newspaper advertisements … then have at it, I guess?

Run Your Restaurant's Social Media Like a Pro

Want to fill seats, generate revenue, and get diners to spread the word?

Get the Guide

Jackie was a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro before moving into business development role. She covered the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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