How to use social media ads and hashtags for your restaurant marketing

Published by
Geert Roete
Last update:
September 9, 2022


73% of consumers claim that they have been influenced by a brand’s social media presence when making a dining decision. It’s no wonder worldwide investments in social media advertising for restaurants are expected to soar in 2022.

This is how to build an effective social media paid advertising strategy for your restaurant:

  1. Brand awareness - This means getting your name out there. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid solely publishing promotional messages. Instead, focus on content that emphasizes your personality and values first.

Remember: Focus on local demographics ;)

  1. Leads and sales - Whether online, in-store or directly through your social profiles, followers don’t make purchases by accident.  For example, are you about alerting customers about new products and promos? Make sure you are integrating your product catalogue into your social profiles.
  2. Brand audience - Growing your audience means finding ways to introduce your brand to folks who haven’t heard of you before and engaging in conversations around your business and industry. Having a pulse on these conversations helps you expand your core audience and reach adjacent audiences much faster.
  3. Community engagement - Research shows that 46% of consumers think brands that engage with their audience are best in class, so it’s worth exploring new ways to grab the attention of your current followers. For example, does your brand promote user-generated content and hashtags? Your customers can be your best cheerleaders, but only if you’re giving them the chance.
  4. Website traffic -  Promotional posts and social ads help you keep an eye on conversions and URL clicks. Any combination of these goals can help you better understand which networks to tackle. Keep your social media marketing strategy simple rather than complicating it with too many objectives.
  5. Create audiences on Google Analytics and re-target them

Do you know that Google analytics can help you create custom audiences of your website visitors based on page visits, date of visit, location, language… So you can choose to send retargeting ads to your website visitors of specific demographics, interests or simply your non-purchasers. Leverage customer data to stay on top-of-mind and create a second chance to sell.


How to get the best of Hashtags for your restaurant marketing:

  1. Hashtag performance -  What were your most successful hashtags? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand? Having these answers can help shape the focus of your content going forward.
  2. Number and placement of your hashtags - In a recent study, SocialInsider examined 650,000 Instagram posts to determine how hashtag use affected their performance. What they found was that overall, posts with 7 or 30 hashtags hidden in the caption got the most engagement.
  3. IG hashtags in the caption -Instagram limits the amount of text shown on your feed and hides additional text behind a “show more” link. Your goal is to get your hashtags to appear after that link. The solution is to type a character (a period is most inconspicuous, but you could also use asterisks or anything you like) until you have at least 5 lines. Add your hashtags underneath.
  4. Hashtags related to your brand - Check out what hashtags influencers and brands like yours are using. It’s a great way to ensure your posts are reaching appropriate audiences. Before you use a hashtag, search it yourself to see who is using it and what kind of content comes up.
  5. Combine popular IG hashtags - It’s the eternal dilemma: should you use popular hashtags, which have a wider reach, but a lot more competition? Or should you use smaller niche ones, which have smaller audiences, but are more likely to be seen by people looking for that specific kind of content? The answer: BOTH!
  6. Keep a list - You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you post something. Compile a list of hashtags relevant to your brand. That way, when you create a post, you can consult the list and choose appropriate hashtags without having to conduct exhaustive research all over again.
  7. Switch it up - Varying your hashtags makes it possible to reach a wider and more diverse audience. Using different hashtags in each post gives you the opportunity to try out lots of different hashtags and see which ones get you the most engagement.

These are the leading examples of some of the most popular worldwide restaurant related hashtags:

Location specific hashtag compilation for your restaurant:

#yourcity #yourcityvariations #yourstreet #yourestaurantnamehere #restaurant #food #foodie #foodporn #instafood #foodgoals #instagood #photooftheday #picoftheday #foodporn #nomnom #foodgasm #food #hungry

Hashtags for an italian restaurant :

#photooftheday #instagram #italianfood #picoftheday #homemade #gourmet #seafood #pasta #bhfyp #ristorante #restaurants #like #beer #summer #italy #photography #coffee #breakfast #gastronomie #cuisine #takeaway #party #healthyfood  

French hashtags for a restaurant:

#restaurant #restaurants #Resto #Restos #Restoparis #bistrot #platdujour #restaurantparis #bar #gastronomie #baravin #bonvivant  #bonappetit  #mangerdestrucsbons #cuisine #dinerentrepotes #savourez #restaurantfrancais #menu #menudujour #faitmaison  #entree #plat #dessert #chef #bonneadresse #miam #chefmode #atable #instantgourmand #terroir #traiteur #cuisines #sommelier

French Restaurant hashtags:

#delicious #food #foodporn #foodparis #foodlover #pariseats #foodgram #foodie #lunch #frenchfood #sogood  #instafood #foodstagram #dinner #yummy #hungry #onmytable #healthy #foodpassion  #gastronomy

Don't forget to check our complete guide to restaurant social media (Instagram & Facebook) to master social selling! We also have amazing articles on how to leverage TikTok and Twitter to grow your restaurant business. Do it!

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