Using #Hashtags Effectively For Your #Restaurant

Whether you’re using Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – or all three – for your restaurant’s marketing – one thing that you should know is how to use #Hashtags effectively.

WHAT IS A #HASHTAG?
A #Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#). They are used to facilitate a search by identifying a keyword, topic of interest, or theme.

While it’s not necessary to use them on these platforms – your business posts could potentially be more engaging and reach more people if you use them. What makes hashtags so unique is their versatility. There can be a trendy hashtag for even the most specific niche, and there are also commonly used hashtags across the country that are used to caption a mouth-watering picture of food.

#CREATEYOUROWN
The best thing about hashtags is you can create your own. If you want to use a hashtag for all of your restaurant posts – you can use the name of your restaurant or a phrase that is specific to your business. Encourage all of your guests to tag their posts with the same hashtag if they are posting a picture of your food or your business.

#YOURCITY
When you add your city name as a hashtag to your posts, you’re targeting people who keep their eyes open for social activities and news around town. It may seem like a very broad term to add as a hashtag, but when you add your city name you’ll find an audience that’s engaged with things such as the culture and night life in your area.

TIP:Do a quick search of some of the more popular Instagram accounts and businesses in your area. There may be a pre-determined local hashtag that is commonly used and you’ll want to jump on that bandwagon. For example – In the Hudson Valley some of the commonly used Hashtags include: #845 #845live #midhudson #lohud #hudsonvalley #upstatenyCouple at a restaurant looking at a cell phone

#LOCALFOOD
As an independent restaurateur, you’re part of the local food community. If you actively engage with farmers, bakers, artisans, or other independent restaurateurs on a daily basis – use that to your advantage online. For example, if a special on your menu includes local ingredients, use a hashtag such as #localfood or #local.

#TYPEOFCUISINE
Including a hashtag about your cuisine can help potential customers discover your restaurant if they are searching for a specific type of food, such as #ItalianFood or #ChineseFood. Alternatively, if your restaurant doesn’t focus on any one type of cuisine, using this type of hashtag for specials or new menu items will help you market your new dish to your followers.

#NICHES
If your menu includes dishes for a specific niche market, such as #vegan, #vegetarian, or #glutenfree– hashtag it. Tap into that niche by using the appropriate hashtags and you’ll bring your restaurant closer to this audience.

#TRENDING
Invented, promoted or trending hashtags are not necessarily self-explanatory, but are made popular because they are clever, unique or thoughtful and often are references to pop culture. Some examples include: #yolo #noregrets #TBT

#EVENTS
Events, either local or national, often will have a general hashtag around them that can also be tapped into, such as #mainesfoodshow #christmas #newyear2015 or #superbowl.

#GENERIC
These are some of the most popular generic food hashtags that you can also consider using in any of your posts to increase your reach: #food #foodporn #foodie #yummy #foodgasm #nom #hungry #cleaneating #healthy #delish.

Facebook Tip:
When it comes to using hashtags on Facebook, it’s best to use them less frequently and more cautiously. Some Facebook audiences can be less receptive to the use of hashtags, although they can be useful in very specific cases, such as for an event or a promotion and not necessarily when it comes to everyday posts