Promoting your restaurant on social media is a worthwhile way to boost your profile and attract new customers.
But thanks to online bookings, you may well have an up-to-date list of email addresses of people happy to receive online newsletters from you as well.
Which is more effective – direct marketing via email or social media posts that can be shared and engaged with by anyone?
Email marketing – pros and cons
One clear area where email marketing performs better than social media is ‘reach’ – how many people will see your promotional content.
No matter how many social followers you have, you can’t guarantee they will see what you post, whereas a spot in someone’s inbox is more likely to stand out.
Algorithm changes on many of the major platforms over the years have meant that organic (not paid) reach has plummeted. But with an email, you’re much more likely to get in front of the eyes of the person you were hoping to reach. People are more likely to click through to a landing page from an email received as opposed to a social post as well.
Numerous studies have shown that people are more likely to consent to receiving email content from businesses than to start following on social. But with certain inboxes having filters that separate promotional emails into separate inboxes, you may need to push people to add you as a safe sender.
Social media pros and cons
Although it’s a distant second to email in terms of reach – social media is the undoubted winner when it comes to engagement.
Maybe a tiny percentage of your followers will see a post – but if it’s interesting enough, it could get shared, commented on and recommended for much longer.
You’ve all seen viral videos where staff will perform some theatrical service with a dish at the table, or chefs showing the perfect way to cook a steak.
Would ‘Salt Bae’ ever have become as famous without the amplification provided by fans on social media?
Ideally, the long-term ‘sticky’ potential of social media content is the perfect complement to the personalised immediacy of email marketing.
Which is best for your restaurant?
If you’re organised and think strategically, there’s no reason why you can’t combine social media and email to help with promoting your restaurant.
New menu items, promotions and more can be shared on both platforms effectively and be further amplified by third platforms like our dining guide.