From Likes to Loyalty: Using Text Marketing to Turn Social Media Followers into Regulars

A women in a beanie smiling at a restaurant cash register.

In today’s digital world, a solid social media presence is a must-have for any restaurant. You curate eye-catching photos, craft engaging captions, and run fun contests, all to build a community and attract new customers. But let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like those “likes” and comments don’t quite translate to full tables and bustling business. You might wonder, “Is all this social media effort really driving sales?”

A vibrant social media presence is fantastic, but the key to restaurant success is converting those “likes” into loyal customers. This is where text marketing steps in, fostering a direct connection that drives engagement and repeat business. 

At Olive + Leo, our platform was designed to help restaurants integrate text marketing and other digital marketing tools, such as social media, to cultivate customer loyalty and increase revenue. Here’s what we’ve learned about using text marketing to turn social media followers into loyal customers.

Transforming Social Media Followers → Text Subscribers → Loyal Customers

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to leverage text marketing to transform your social media followers into loyal regulars:

1. Create a customer loyalty program to capture phone numbers.

The foundation of a successful text marketing strategy lies in building a subscriber list. The best way to accomplish this is by developing a customer loyalty program that incentivizes repeat business. Encourage customers to join the program by providing their phone numbers during their visit, texting a code word, or signing up through an online form. This provides a valuable exchange: exclusive perks in exchange for a direct communication channel.

2. Build a text marketing program for your restaurant.

Once you have a list of subscribers, it’s time to craft engaging and personalized text messages. There are numerous user-friendly platforms available, including Olive + Leo (of course!), that allow you to create targeted campaigns, schedule automated messages, and track key performance indicators.

3. Promote your loyalty program on social media.

Leverage your existing social media channels to promote your new loyalty program and the benefits of joining. Create eye-catching visuals to advertise the perks of joining. Announce the launch with a fun contest or giveaway or highlight the ease of signing up. You could also run contests or giveaways on social media where the entry involves opting into your text list.

4. Continue to cross-promote text marketing on social media.

Keep promoting your text marketing program after the initial launch. Regularly incorporate calls to action (CTAs) in your social media posts, encouraging followers to subscribe. Share user-generated content from loyal customers who have benefited from the program, showcasing the value proposition and fostering trust. You can also consider running targeted social media ads with special offers or incentives for those who opt into your text marketing program.

5. Offer exclusive deals and promotions via text.

Reward your text subscribers with exclusive deals and promotions that aren’t available anywhere else. This creates a sense of value and urgency, enticing them to visit your restaurant and redeem the offer. Think limited-time discounts on popular menu items, flash sales on specific days of the week, or special offers for celebrating a customer’s birthday.

6. Provide value beyond discounts.

Text marketing can be a powerful tool for enhancing customer engagement and building a base of loyal customers. But to be effective, you’ll want to go beyond just offering discounts and promotions. Send valuable content such as recipe tips inspired by your chefs, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your kitchen operations, or sneak peeks at upcoming menu items. The Olive + Leo platform offers a variety of text marketing campaign ideas, including interactive polls, surveys to gather feedback and preferences, and fun contests to keep your audience engaged.

7. Track and analyze performance metrics.

The actionable and insightful amount of data you receive from text marketing campaigns is one of the most beneficial aspects of using text marketing. As you build your database of customers, be sure to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as subscriber growth, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Track these metrics over time to identify trends and see what resonates with your audience. Use these insights to adjust your strategies and maximize the effectiveness of your text marketing campaigns.

Best Practices for Cultivating Loyalty Through Text Marketing

Remember, successful text marketing for restaurants hinges on a few fundamental principles:

  • Keep it personal: Use customer first names in your messages and tailor offers based on past purchases or engagement history.
  • Focus on value: While discounts are attractive, highlight the other benefits of your loyalty program, such as exclusive content, early access to new menu items, or VIP perks.
  • Maintain frequency balance: Text marketing is much more effective because it connects directly to customers. 98% of text messages are opened compared to a much lower email open rate. However, don’t bombard your audience.
  • Make them feel like an insider: People love feeling like VIPs. Your text marketing program can offer exclusive peeks, promotions, or behind-the-scenes content that makes your loyal customers feel like valued members of a special club.

Olive + Leo: Cultivating Loyalty and Driving Results

By implementing these strategies, you can transform your social media followers into a loyal customer base. Text marketing fosters a direct connection with your audience, nurtures relationships, drives repeat business, and ultimately increases your restaurant’s revenue. 

Ready to unlock the power of text marketing and social media integration? 

Olive + Leo’s platform offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help restaurants cultivate customer loyalty and achieve their marketing goals. Explore our customizable packages to discover how Olive + Leo can help you leverage the power of text marketing and social media to cultivate lasting customer loyalty and increase revenue for your restaurant. Don’t let those “likes” and comments remain virtual; turn them into loyal customers who keep coming back for more

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