A guide to paid social media advertising for cafes

Organic reach for cafe social media pages is at an all time low, but don't panic buy ad placements. Read this guide to get the most out of your budget.
October 30, 2017

If you run a cafe you no doubt have some sort of social media presence for your business. At the bare minimum you should have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account, as well as a Tripadvisor page. These platforms are vital ways to be found in an extremely competitive space.

Over the past few years, many social media sites have made it increasingly difficult for cafes to speak to their potential customers by drastically reducing the visibility of their posts. At the same time, networks have made it much easier for business owners to spend money promoting their pages.

How to avoid wasting advertising budget on social media

From popups and notifications, through to buttons attached to every post, it has become so straightforward to advertise on social media that many do so, quite literally, without even thinking about it. Do you spend money on social media advertising your cafe? Have you seen any results compared to your organic posts? Yes, organic unpaid reach is achieving less and less for cafes, but that does not automatically mean that spending money to gain visibility is going to actually benefit your business.

Using organic and paid social media to grow a cafe business is not a lost cause, but both unpaid and paid campaigns need a thought out approach in order to be effective. Ever seen a notification like the one below? Don’t be taken in by them, hold back and approach things with a real plan. Let’s take a look at how to make the most of paid social media for those running cafes.

Facebook boost suggestion - A guide to paid social media advertising for cafes food-drink-marketing

Setting a goal for your cafe’s social media advertising

Having a goal for your advertising is really important to make it effective. By setting a goal, we can start to form a strategy. For a lot of cafe owners the goal might simply be to increase revenue through customers and orders, but how might you achieve that? Is there a particular product you sell that has a higher profit margin, or something unique you specialise in?

Just making more people aware of your cafe is not going to be enough, you’ll need to give people a reason to be interested in coming to your place in particular. What do your customers want? Coffee? Cakes? Could you promote a specific event or holiday special offer?

How to create content for cafe social media

With an idea starting to crystallise about what you’re going to achieve, we can start to plan our content. For social media advertising to achieve the greatest possible reach, the post itself has to be a really good one. The comes from the angle of the post and the visual element you use. You could use a picture, a video clip, a 360 degree image or something else entirely, just make sure it’s really engaging. Pictures with people in them tend to get good engagement so that’s a good place to start, but you also want to make it relevant to your cafe.

Think about the angle too, what is your post saying? “Come to my cafe” is not appealing enough. Everyone loves free stuff, how about encouraging users to retweet or share a post and offering a free coffee to some lucky people that do? You could start your own hashtag like #FreeCookieFriday and give a lucky visitor who uses it a cookie based reward. These promotions shouldn’t cost much to run but will really get people to engage. By incentivising people to share your advert you are effectively supercharging it’s reach and getting way more for your budget.

Promoting an event at a cafe on social media

Another strategy that works great for cafes is to host an event. This could be anything from coffee cupping, to having a friend DJ in your space for the afternoon or even a charity event. Promoting this less sales-driven material can help get you on the radar of a much wider group of people. Make sure you’ve got your social profile usernames on display in your cafe so that anyone who visits can easily find you and tell the world how great you are.

Targeting social media for cafes to a relevant audience

Don’t fall into the trap of continuously clicking tempting buttons like ‘boost post’ or ‘reach a bigger audience’ without spending some time making sure your targeting is properly set up. Think about the type of people who visit your cafe and who you would like to visit. Are you a hit with young, arty types, or with older business people? Is your cafe especially dog friendly or does it offer some other benefit for a certain type of person? Social media sites allow for really accurate targeting. You will only get good results from your campaign if you spend time setting this up. Most important of all, make sure your posts are geographically targeted, there’s no point in showing your cafe to people who cannot become customers.

Twitter post boost - A guide to paid social media advertising for cafes food-drink-marketing

Researching your cafe’s audience on social media

Use any data that social sites give you about your audience to help you. Most sites collect a ton of data for business pages and you can use this to your advantage. The ‘insights’ sections of Twitter and Facebook can show you when most of your visitors are active, so make sure you at least schedule your advertising to go out around these times and you’ll naturally increase the engagement you get.

Setting up cafe social media pages for higher conversion rates

By advertising your cafe on social media you’ll increase how many people see your profile pages. Before you spend anything, take a full audit of the information you have on your profile pages. You’d be surprised how many cafes make simple errors with addresses, postcodes, opening times and other business critical information. You can update this information whenever you like, so always switch it up if you have different opening hours over a holiday or if you’re open late for an event. Make sure your branding is consistent across all your channels so visitors can be in no doubt they’re in the right place.

Choosing a marketing partner to improve cafe social media

Hopefully this article has been helpful to you. Much of it does assume that you have plenty of time on your hands to set up and manage your campaign properly. Of course, not every cafe is going to have the resources to do this. A dedicated agency can help take the pressure off and see that everything gets carried out properly. By working with a campaign partner you’ll quickly recoup your costs and you’ll have the security of knowing everything is being taken care of. If you could do with a hand, why not call our team for a friendly, no obligation chat today. Having worked with a number of cafes and restaurants we’re in a great position to help you out. You can find out about our other social media marketing services here.

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