Many restaurants were able to find a good rhythm to their social media marketing content in 2014. We saw brands get playful with their food, get involved with the seasons, and use the #hashtag in some pretty creative ways.

Brands like Starbucks, Pinkberry, and even Red Lobster were able to find success and break into the next level of great social media content. But what did they do that worked?

Here are 10 tips for further developing your social media content so you can start 2015 out with a bang!

1. Don’t sell sell sell. Be interesting.

Consumers in 2015 will be able to smell out a self-promoted post before it’s even sent. While you want to promote your offerings, it’s also important to generate interesting and sharable content (even if it’s not 100% relatable to the food you serve). If it’s interesting, they’ll share it, and sharing is free word-of-mouth.

chipotle social media marketing

2. Share mouth-watering photos.

Many restaurants mastered the food selfie in 2014. It’s worth investing effort into getting the highest-quality images of your best and newest plates. Customers love following brands who post scrumptious photos.

blue plate taco social media marketing

3. Provide your followers/fans with specials.

Give your customers a reason to follow you on social. Offer time-sensitive deals that are actually worth them going into your business for. Starbucks has done a great job with this, offering good deals with even better graphics to help entice!

starbucks example

4. Engage back with customers.

Show your customers that you’re on social for more than just pushing out promotions. Whether you’re answering questions, addressing concerns, saying thanks, or just responding with wit, your responses will go a long way!

emporium thai social media marketing

5. Share your menu.

Sharing photos of your menu is a great way to inform customers and non-customers of your latest offerings. This can be done through photos of the food (with the proper description) or photos of the actual menu. Give people the easy choice of dining with you.

iota brew social media marketing

6. Use it as a customer service channel.

Answering to negative feedback is more important than ever before, especially in the restaurant industry. Cleanliness and quality are a big part of consumer trust, so these issues quickly resolved is essential.

olive garden social media marketing

7. Show the ‘behind the scenes.’

For more engaging content, share photos of what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ in the kitchen. This is yet another area of great content that doesn’t involve you over-promoting.

water grill social media marketing

8. Get your employees involved.

Get your employees involved through photos, quotes, guest-posts and more. It helps make your brand tangible, and makes your employees feel part of the team. Again, this can be achieved without over-promoting.

pink berry social media marketing

9. Make use of the #hashtag.

Come up with and use a clever hashtag unique to your restaurant (and promote it). You’ll be able to direct and organize the conversation surrounding your business in one easy-to-search space. Promoting your hashtag is important, as customers need to be aware of where to post!

sushi stop social media marketing

10. Incentivize customers to share.

Of course, getting your customers to post about and interact with your business is the main goal of any social media marketing strategy. Who doesn’t love cheap, effective advertising? There are a number of ways to get your customers sharing on social.

You could offer incentives for posting about your restaurant. For example, advertise a free medium coffee for customers who post at your username or hashtag on Twitter.

You could also use live social media displays to get your customers sharing. Live social displays promote your username and hashtag, showcase a live feed of the conversation, and remind customers that you care about their thoughts. Live social media displays started to explode towards the end of 2014, and will make their presence felt in the coming new year.

live social media feed for restaurants