As with all the major social networks, when Pinterest started getting media attention, plenty of critics dismissed it as just another fad.
However, since Pinterest has been consistently growing since its launch in 2010 and is now the 27th most visited site in the world, it’s safe to say that the site is here to stay.
A big part of why Pinterest has been able to thrive despite being launched after most of the other major social networks were already in existence is because of its visual nature. Since Pinterest is completely driven by images, it’s the ideal fit for some businesses, while not necessarily the right match for others. As a restaurant owner, you fall into the former category. Because appearance is such a big part of the dining experience, a solid Pinterest strategy has the ability to work up people’s appetites before they ever even step into your restaurant.
If you want to know how to get the most mileage out of Pinterest, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can look at how other restaurants are successfully using the site, then take their main tactics and put your own spin on them. So with that in mind, let’s look at some restaurants that are doing an amazing job with their Pinterest presence:
Now that we’ve taken a look at which large restaurants are using Pinterest to the fullest, let’s take a look at three of their specific strategies that you can utilize for your own restaurant:
With over 36,000 followers, how has Panera Bread made such a big name for itself on Pinterest?
A significant part of their success has to do with their posting frequency and quality. When PinLeague analyzed Panera’s Pinterest performance in 2013, they found the restaurant had published 541 pins. To put that number in perspective, Chili’s only had 117 pins, while Macaroni Grill had just 86. So even though those are very popular chain restaurants, one of the reasons they’re not anywhere near the top of this category on Pinterest is because they don’t post enough.
So the first Pinterest tactic you need to know is to consistently pin new photos.
While there’s a definite benefit to frequent pinning, that doesn’t mean you should throw quality out the window.
A key component of gaining attention on Pinterest is to have people repin your content (click to tweet).
From their 541 pins, Panera had 10,474 repins. That averages out to 19.4 repins for every pin that they post. Since quality is subjective, the best way to figure out what Pinterest users like is to utilize the #analytics data that the site supplies. You can see exactly which photos get the most repins, as well as additional information like what people pin alongside them. This data is a goldmine for guiding your future pinning efforts. If you don’t currently have access to Pinterest’s analytics, you just need to verify your website.
As explained on #this page, that can easily be done in four simple steps.
Although most people would agree that Panera Bread has more name recognition than Maggiano’s Little Italy, the latter restaurant actually has a higher repin rate than Panera. And if you’re assuming that Maggiano’s managed their 20.2 repins per pin simply by being stingy, you’ll be surprised to learn that they actually had 565 pins at the time the report was compiled. Since those stats are so impressive, it’s easy to assume that they used some sort of technology to game the system. In reality, they got creative and started holding Pin It to Win It contests on a weekly basis. By offering a $100 gift certificate each week to a random winner who repinned one item from a specific board and then used the restaurant in a hashtag on Twitter, they were able to dramatically boost their presence on Pinterest.
1. Pin new photos on a regular basis
2. Consistently review your Pinterest performance and adjust future pins accordingly
3. Utilize incentives like giveaways to increase engagement
Even though the three action steps we covered are fairly straightforward, actually doing them can make a huge difference in the results you see. Consistent pinning, regular reviews and focusing on increasing engagement will help you connect with people who are interested in your restaurant’s food.
By making Pinterest a key part of your restaurant social media strategy, you’ll find that this type of online activity translates directly into more customers sitting in your restaurant.
Are you already using Pinterest to promote your restaurant? What specific pictures or other strategies have worked best for you?