Lacking the marketing budget of large chains, independent restaurant operators must use their creative skills in the fast-growing social media world to reach customers where they are.
And that means getting familiar with free or low-cost platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and even podcasts, all of which offer opportunities to stand out in ways that a Facebook Page or Twitter account might lack.
These programs have the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people and often require very little money to go viral. Many of these apps can use user-generated content and influencers can be a game changer. And the return on a small investment in creativity can be huge.
Earlier this year, the story of a Dallas restaurant rescued by a viral TikTok created by the owner’s grandson made national headlines, and restaurants awakened to the power of the platform, served by nearly 29 million people in the last year alone downloaded from the United States.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy. Here’s a look at how four restaurants have used social media to build audiences, from Tiktok and Instagram to YouTube and podcasts.