How to Create Engaging Social Media Content for Restaurants

Apr 26, 2024 | Restaurant Marketing, Social Media

When you’re juggling the demands of restaurant ownership, carving out time to post on social media regularly can be an exhausting thought and can easily fall by the wayside. (Trust us, we get it!)

In this blog post, we’re going to give you lots of great information to guide you on how to create engaging content that will actually get you more visibility and visitors to your restaurant.

NOTE: We will be targeting this blog post to Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok as these are the best social media networks for restaurants to use to get new visitors.

First, let’s explore: What makes social media content “work?”

Ever wonder why some posts go viral, and some don’t?

There is one element of social media that is the common thread to all successful posts.

And no, it’s not professional photography, or having tons of followers.

The key is engagement.

Think about the posts you see that you are compelled to share with a friend or story- or comment on. It’s often that you’re not the only one doing so. The posts that get the most traction are ones that are engaging.

Social media algorithms also tend to “push” a type of content out. It’s worth keeping up with the trends to see what that is. It’s probably no surprise that right now, video reigns supreme online.

In 2024, social media networks are prioritizing video content. Mastering the art of short form video is a surefire way to get more engagement to your page.

Now let’s now explore what specifically goes into engaging social media posts, including video.

How to Get Higher Engagement


1. Focus on your audience

To boost your engagement, you need to focus on your audience and not just on you.

  • Relate to their concerns, needs, and wants. What are the things your audience would care about? Not just what you care about.
  • Incorporate humor. People use social media to be entertained and have fun! Think- how can you incorporate humor and lighthearted trends into your restaurant’s social media content?
  • Entertain your audience. Think of ways that you can present your content in an entertaining and engaging way? Maybe you tell a story going into the history of a menu item, or how you started your restaurant. You could also relate to current pop culture and news, show off something unique people have never seen before, or use creative editing .
  • Create conversation. Do you have a new point of view to bring to the restaurant industry? Maybe you have an “unpopular opinion” about how a burger should be made. Create discussion. Embrace a little lighthearted controversy! That gets engagement. People love to give their opinions.

2. Be Real and Authentic

  • Show your Authenticity: People like to see real people’s challenges, behind-the-scenes, and day to day life. Don’t feel like you have to be so perfect to get engagement on social media. Make sure we are seeing the real people behind the business. People connect with people!
  • Show, Don’t Tell: Use photos and videos to showcase your team, culture, and menu items. They don’t have to be professional, but they do need to be high-quality and aesthetic. Keep it simple.
  • Personalize Your Brand: Share behind-the-scenes glimpses with a human touch (stories, humor).
  • Spark Conversation: Respond to comments in engaging ways (consider using video replies).
  • Build Consistency: Create a content series with a recognizable format.
  • Tell a Story: Do you have a funny or insightful story to tell?
  • Share your History: How did you build your brand or organization?

3. Incorporate Humor

  • Create memes about the restaurant industry and tropes others can relate to
  • Hop on fun trending audios and incorporate your staff/owners to play along
  • Brands like Wendy’s rely 100% on memes and humor and benefit from it.
  • We would suggest to lean into humor only if it makes sense for your overall brand and voice and if your target demographic skews younger.

4. Make sure your content is shareable

Content that gets shared is rewarded with higher visibility.

What is something you can show that would make people share your post with a friend and say “we have to go here soon!”

We think Later stated this really well in their article:

“To make content truly shareable, it needs to be one of six things: useful, entertaining, inspirational, timely, thought-provoking, or relatable.
Shareable content has that “wow” factor that makes people want to comment, repost, and send to their friends.”

The best way to turn any piece of content into shareable content is to add a hook to it.

A hook is a text overlay or an introduction to a video that immediately draws somebody in.

Here are some examples for shareable hooks for a restaurant:

  • Instead of just clips of making a coffee– put a text overlay that says “this initial owes you a latte!” and in the video you’re creating a letter out of pizza sauce, latte art, etc.
  • Instead of just clips of your restaurant, put a text overlay that says “Your next date night” and share clips of a romantic ambience and even better- a couple finishing it off with a smile and a kiss.
  • Instead of a video of your rooftop that says “Come check out our rooftop” put a text overlay that says, “POV: You found the prettiest rooftop in NYC”
  • Instead of a photo of your pizza restaurant, create a video clip of a closeup shot of pizza with a huge cheese pull and text overlay that says, “Is this the best pizza in Atlanta?”

Tools for Creating Engaging Content

So you’re not a professional videographer. That’s ok! Here are some tools that can help you get high quality content without spending a lot of money.

You really don’t need to have a professional DSLR camera to get engaging video and photo content. A smartphone works really well.

(Just make sure to clean the lens! Extra important in a restaurant setting where grease can easily get on your phone.)

1. Make sure your phone settings are set up for success. Here is a great article that has guidance on the best settings for an iPhone.

2. Make sure you have good lighting. Natural light is always great if you can find it. (see images below to make sure you use it correctly.)

If you don’t have natural light, using a ring light or small LED lights is recommended.

Using natural light: The only difference in the 2 photos above is in the first the subject is facing the window, and in the second the subject is facing away from the window. Both were taken at pretty much the same time. You can see just how much of an impact good lighting can make!

3. Make sure your audio is high-quality. You can use a wireless lavalier microphone If you’re doing video content that includes interviews or speaking particularly in outdoor settings or settings that can be loud.

4. A lightbox can be great to really highlight a specific cocktail or dish.
5. A phone tripod can help add stability or allow you to be able to film yourself.
6. Video editing tools like the CapCut app can help you edit your videos and add captions easily. We highly recommend it to make your workflow easier. it also has premade templates you can insert clips into for immediate editing.

(If you know you don’t have the time or patience to handle creating video content for your restaurant, consider hiring somebody to take care of this task for you. We also offer this service if you’re local- so contact us and we’d love to help!)

Using Influencers

One of the best and easiest ways to get high quality content and extra visibility for your page is to invite influencers to come to your restaurant. In exchange or a comped meal, you will receive brand awareness as well as content that you can then possibly reuse, saving you time and money.

Keep in mind the influencer industry is a bit of a wild west situation. There is no standardization so just keep that in mind.

How to Start Using Influencers in Your Social Media:

  • To find influencers, do some research on local hashtags to find the popular posts and see who posted them. Most of the time they will have their e-mail in the bio.
  • While some will post in exchange for a comped meal, keep in mind the more followers and engagement an influencer has, the more they may charge. Everyone is different and there is no standardization. You just have to reach out and see what people’s terms are. You will run into an influencer with 20,000 followers who is just fine for a comped meal, and you may run into one with 1,000 who expects payment.
  • Make sure to set clear terms as far as what content you are expecting to receive. You may want to usea form service like Typeform to create a form/agreement that you have influencers fill out that can serve as a written statement of work as well as capturing essential information like name/address to ship product.
  • It helps to keep up a spreadsheet tracking prospective influencers to reach out to and to keep track of their posts once you select them.
  • Make sure you are given allowance to use the content as organic or ads (if you choose to run ads with is) as some have usage fees.
  • Make sure to receive the raw content your influencer shoots so you can repurpose it on your channels if you are given usage rights.
  • Have the influencer send you an invoice for your records then pay promptly if you are exchanging money.

If you’re interested in working with influencers but know you don’t have the time to handle it, let us take this on for you. Contact us and let’s chat!

General Tips for Social Media Success

  • Prioritize quality over quantity. 3 impactful posts a week are better than daily spam.
  • Plan content in advance (monthly/quarterly) for efficiency.
  • Use relevant hashtags (3-5 on Instagram) and keywords in captions and text overlays.
  • Look at the top posts in your industry and adapt the concept for your brand.
  • Follow social media experts who relay updated information about algorithms and give out ideas! One we like is Shannon McKinstrie for social media strategy inspiration.
  • Engage with others. Make an effort to follow other similar accounts in your niche and engage with them. It’s a great way to create community.

Measuring Your Success

Remember, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Track your social media performance to understand what’s working and what’s not. This will help you refine your strategy and achieve better results.

You can view all of your analytics natively on social media platforms, but the best way is to have a single dashboard to view all of your metrics in one place.

Analytics dashboarding is something that we offer and can be extremely helpful in knowing what content is working, what is driving traffic to your website, and more.

In Conclusion,

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses, but it requires a strategic approach to be effective. By focusing on your audience, creating engaging and shareable content, using the right tools, and measuring your performance, you can maximize your social media presence and achieve your business goals.

How Country Fried Creative can help you with your social media:

  • Consulting & Coaching
    Let us create a new social media strategy custom tailored to your restuarant or business. Includes regular coaching calls and customized templates.
  • Content Creation & Capture
    If you don’t have time to generate content yourself, let our skilled social media team come and capture content as well as create high-quality videos and photos for your social media channels.
  • Full Management
    Let our team handle your social media fully, including content capture and creation as well as posting. Includes monthly calls to review analytics.