With over 1.8 Billion daily active users on the platform, there’s plenty of eyes on newsfeeds. Facebook is now the largest advertising platform with over $8 billion spent by advertisers in 2016 and that number will increase dramatically in 2017 as more and more businesses realise the benefits of advertising on the platform.

As hospitality businesses, people are the lifeblood and it’s important we have not only new customers but previous ones come back also. Facebook allows us to do just that for a relatively cost effective price. It’s all about exposure and having this as a competitive advantage over your competition could be the difference between success and failure.

The following is 15 ways you could use Facebook to advertise and promote your business. There’s probably a thesis on what can be done – but we thought 15 would be a good start. Hopefully there’s some that you can begin implementing into your business after reading this post!

1. Run a like (or awareness) campaign

Promote your business page to potential customers in your local area using targeting. This is a great way to drive awareness of your business and brand and have them connect with your page and stay updated.

2. Get people to claim an offer

Through Facebook you can create an offer – perhaps 25% off or promoting a 2 for 1 night that you can promote using the Facebook ad platform. You can choose to target people who like your page or use interest based targeting to find new customers. Using this method will get people to take action whilst finding new customers.

3. Promote your page posts – Boosted

Are your social posts on Facebook not getting enough engagement? This is a common problem a lot of business owners have when it comes to posting on your page. You have the ability to promote (or boost) your posts so you can get more exposure. Facebook is a busy platform – if you have something you think worth seeing it might be worth adding a budget to promote that post and get more exposure. You have options to promote it to people who like your page or you can expand to their friends as well as targeting people based on their interests and vicinity to your establishment.

4. Share a customer testimonial video (and tell everyone how good you are)

Social proof (someone actually telling others how good you are) is a great way to convince potential new customers or previous ones that you know what you’re doing. If you’re lucky enough to have a decent quality video of this you are able to use Facebook to promote this to not only your page likers but also putting it out there for the rest of the world to see and know how good your are. You’re also then able to target people who watched more than 10,20,50, 80% of the video with additional ads – using “Audiences” – check out #14 for more info on audiences

5. Create a Facebook Event

Want to raise some more bookings or have something special you are wanting to promote? Creating a Facebook event will help get more eyes and generate more interest (and hopefully more bookings!). This can be set up via your facebook page and you have the ability to promote it to your page “likers” but you have the ability to target more people with a paid event promotion which will give your event more exposure – which is awesome.

6. Run a Facebook Live

By now everyone’s probably experienced a Facebook “Live” this is where you hit the record button and then you’re instantly live to your audience. If you have a business page (which i’m hoping you do!) you also have the ability to “Go Live” via your page and connect with your audience. Keep it short and sweet – what would they want to see. Perhaps a behind the scenes, or something cool that you’re doing – such as an event or new dish. Its also a great way to introduce your team and show people your personality.

7. Get your customers to review your facebook page

It can be a little scary but having customers review you on your facebook page can also have exceptional benefits. A recent study found that 85% said they read online reviews for local businesses and 79% said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So if you’re doing a great job – why not encourage your customers to leave you a great review. Every Time someone does, it not only strengthens your credibility online but you also get more exposure as that review is also shared with that customer’s entire network!

8. Add a custom Tab – instantly book or download your menu

Your Facebook page has some basic customisation you can use to get more engagement on your page. Custom tabs let you create a much richer user experience on Facebook and control the content your visitors and followers see when they come to your page. Providing your menus for easy viewing or download or even offering a instant booking where your customers can book online.

9. Upload your database to Facebook and advertise to them.

Been collecting emails for your ‘weekly or monthly newsletter’ that just isn’t getting any traction? Let’s put those emails to good use because they’re most probably your customers who would more than likely like to dine with you again right? Well with Facebook Custom Audiences we are able to upload this list into the ads platform and show ads directly to those customers Facebook news feeds. Pretty exciting right? So know you don’t even have to find new prospects (or cold audiences that don’t know you) you can go directly to those who may have already dined with you and know who you are (i’m guessing because you have their email address) so a big reason why you should always look to collect emails, names and numbers where possible!

10. Use Facebook Ads to find new customers

Need new customers in your establishment and can’t wait for word of mouth or previous customers to come back? It might be time to use Facebook to generate some new customers for you. With Facebook ads we’re able to target potential new customers with interest based targeting. With over 1.8 Billion (and growing) active Facebook users on a daily basis there’s plenty of eyes on news feeds even in your local area. Craft an offer that your potential customers would love to take you up on and put those ads right in front of them. Pretty cool right? And it’s not about spending a bomb on your ads it’s about finding the right ads that work for your business. Test, test, test!

11. Use Facebook Messenger to speak to your customers!

With the massive uptake of the Facebook Messenger platform by users – it has proved to be a successful communication method for your potential customers to connect and speak with you. With more and more of the population preferring to text or type rather than pick up the phone and call businesses need to be adaptable and responsive to messages from customers. Messages left unanswered is like not answering the phone! Ensure you a responding to messages to your page as your customers may have questions about their booking, food. You can also set up facebook Ads that automatically being a conversation with your business via the messenger platform once they click the ad.

12. Use Facebook to Promote your Instagram Page

Have you go an Instagram account for your business? Facebook now owns Instagram after it shelled out $1 Billion for it a while back. The best part is that you can create ads for Instagram within the Facebook ads platform. Being such a visual business, showing off our food, coffee and cocktails Instagram is the place for it and if you want to get more exposure, followers and customers at the end of the day then you need to try Instagram ads!

13. Install the Facebook Pixel on your Website

Going to try to keep this one simple! But essentially facebook supplies each business with a specific piece of code that’s individual and unique to you. This code is then inserted on your website (and any other pages) and once installed is able to track who (from Facebook) has visited your page. This is what allows you to set up “Custom Audiences” that you can then serve advertising to these people via the ads platform. So think about it like this. If 100 people came to your website to check out your menus but only 10 booked, you would still be able to advertise to them via Facebook as the have been “pixelated” which means we have tracked they have come to your website and now Facebook will allow you to send ads to them. No you’re not a stalker – everyone’s doing it, plus it’s cheaper than trying to find colder audiences through targeting. So get your pixel installed on your website asap (your web developer can help!)

14. Encourage your customers to “Check-IN”

If someone uses the Check-In function on Facebook when they visit your business, they are telling their friends on social media that they are currently at and enjoying your services or products. This results in free advertising, increased brand awareness, and is essentially an endorsement from that user. It’s a great idea to offer incentives for your customers to check in or ensure your staff are actively asking customers to check in when arriving to your establishment.

15. Keep it fresh and updated.

Ensure you keep all your page details updated. It’s really important to ensure the information is correct – things like opening hours, menus, location, parking and the like are all things your customers will be checking out on your page possibly before coming to your establishment. Also keeping your latest photos and videos updated and organised on your page is also super important. Your customers will eat with their eyes in the first instance so make sure your images are looking fantastic and delicious!

So now its time for you to go ahead an start implementing at least a few of the above strategies. By doing this you will not only be creating AWARENESS & EXPOSURE for your establishment but connecting with new and previous customers on their favourite platform.

Good luck!