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Pulling pizza patrons in your door with these social media 'hooks'

| by Hannah Hambleton
Pulling pizza patrons in your door with these social media 'hooks'

Even in these days of ever-increasing food service delivery and ghost kitchens, restaurant footfall remains essential to business success for a huge number of pizza brands. Naturally, restaurant "curb appeal," a magnificent menu and topnotch service are all critical, but social media strategy can be the hook that brings all those faithful feet through your door for a pie or two. 

This holds particularly true for the seemingly infinitely increasing popularity of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat that really put the emphasis on communicating with the pictures that patrons take of menu items, in-restaurant meals and even great engaging staff. 

Harness the power of social media to boost customer visits to your location or locations since it can be a hugely cost-effective and efficient way to keep customers coming back. Start your footfall-increasing social media efforts with these ideas. 

Create an Instagram-friendly pizzeria (+pies) 

Instagram's influence on restaurant design is really taking hold, so take this into account if you're looking to freshen your decor. Instagrammers and food bloggers want great lighting, food that stands out creatively and restaurants that offer a little something extra. 

Feature walls, neon signs and unusual decor can really help make your restaurant a talking point, which not only prompts more shares on Instagram, but more feet through your pizzeria's doors. It's also a good idea to consider how social media-friendly your food is too, in order to prompt shares, likes and "Snaps" or images relayed on Snapchat. Photogenic food will take your brand a long way on social media.  

Target local customers with geotags

Online reviews and local reputation are both vital to restaurant footfall, so it pays to make it as easy as possible for new customers to find you while they're on the go. Fortunately, social media was made for this. 

Increasingly, Instagram users are searching the app to find local businesses. You can tap into this potential, while even boosting impulse purchases by using geotags with your Instagram posts to urge Instagram users to find your restaurant when they're looking for a quick bite. 

Similarly, you can also add locations to Instagram hashtags. Sharing your location on all social media posts you make for your brand will quickly boost your overall footfall.

Get 'engaged' 

Customers want to engage with brands that capture their interest, and one of the best ways to bridge that gap with customers and grow engagement is topnotch content creation and sharing via your pizzeria social media channels. Use Snapchat to share deliciously sloppy burger Snaps or Instagram Stories to take customers behind the scenes in your kitchen. 

Take the time to also interact and engage with your followers by responding to their comments, asking for in-restaurant selfies or just polling on patrons' favorite dishes. This technologically assisted customer engagement builds a bridge between your brand, its customers and even potential customers. 

Rummage up those rave reviews

Great reviews contribute to positive "social proof," meaning more people will want to visit your restaurant since it has more reviews. It's vital then to garner as many great reviews of your restaurant as possible. 

Ask all your customers to leave a review on your Facebook page. Encourage Instagram followers to review you, too. Consider offering a coupon to anyone leaving a review (for example, on Tripadvisor or Yelp) and sharing it to their social media. 

Reviews work not only as a search tool to attract new customers in the area, but also as a way to keep your brand top of mind for recent guests by encouraging those all-important repeat visits.

Keep 'em comin' back 

Repeat customers are your most profitable patrons so encourage greater footfall from returning diners, by enhancing their feelings of loyalty toward your brand. So, yes, encourage them to engage your brand on your Instagram or Facebook pages, but also use social platforms like Snapchat as a kind of digital loyalty card. 

That means, use Snapchat to provide friends there special discount codes for their next visit, or share coupons with Instagram followers. This has two benefits because it increases footfall while simultaneously boosting your brand's social media engagement. And that in turn, also fuels any future marketing drives.

'Contest' it

Social media contests are effective brand engagement tools that also build footfall. So consider staging a "selfie contest" where customers who share selfies on Facebook or Instagram from inside your restaurant are entered to win prizes. This is a great way to bring diners in and build a connection with them at the same time. 

The bottom line here is that social media is a low-cost, efficient and creative way to test strategies to increase your restaurant's footfall. The big benefit is that you simultaneously build both loyalty, engagement and just overall connection to customers you will hopefully retain for many years to come.  

Photo: iStock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Delivery, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Pizza Ingredients, Restaurant Design / Layout, Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, Systems / Technology

Hannah Hambleton

Hannah Hambleton is the Content Manager for and writes about marketing and social media trends for small businesses and the hospitality industry.

wwwView Hannah Hambleton's profile on LinkedIn

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