If you are going to invest some time into maintaining a social network presence for your restaurant, starting a Facebook page for your business is a no brainer.  Facebook has the largest user base of any social network, and will allow you to reach a massive amount of fans, customers, and diners.  But why stop at just creating a page?  Follow these six easy steps to optimize your restaurant’s Facebook page to reach the widest audience, highlight your business’s strength, and play to the website’s best attributes.

  1. Make Sure You Have Profile Pictures

Nothing makes a Facebook page look more novice or incomplete than leaving your profile and cover photos blank.  To optimize your page’s pictures, remember to use well lit and appealing photos to convey professionalism and catch your viewer’s eye.  A picture of your restaurant front or other recognizable view makes a good profile picture, and a well plated and photographed entree makes a great cover photo.  Just remember, Facebook cover photos display at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on your Page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones, so crop whatever picture you decide to use.

  1. Fill Out the “About” Section

The “About” box on your Facebook page shouldn’t ever be left blank, as a few minutes of your time will go a long way towards optimizing your page’s impact.  Use the “About” area to tell your business’s story, including details about what kind of eatery you like your restaurant to be branded as and fun facts about your founding or history.  And be sure to utilize all of the linking opportunities in the “Aout” area: by plugging in links to your website, other social media accounts, and other relevant sites, you can easily use your Facebook page as a hub for your larger web presence.

  1. Add Your Menu

Now that you have made your Facebook page look nicer, and added some important things to make sure you make a good first impression on your fans, it’s time to add some real substance.  And adding your menu is a great way to start.  Instead of listing menu items in your “About” section, which looks clunky and unappealing, upload a PDF of your menu directly.  First click on the “About” section, then the “page info” tab, and then click to edit menu settings.  Make sure your menu is easy to read and optimized for the web, with bolded entrees and graphics to keep viewers browsing your food fares.

  1. Utilize a Coupon App

While most Facebook page applications don’t offer too many useful functions that aren’t already incorporated into Facebook itself, a coupon app can make a huge difference in assuring your restaurant’s page stands out.  With a coupon app, you can offer deals to people who “like” your page, incentivizing your customers to show their loyalty and encouraging indecisive diners to give your establishment a shot.  Woobox offers a free app that is easy to use and has a lot of functionality, so start off by trying to incorporate them into your Facebook page, and watch your page’s interactions and “likes” soar through the roof.

  1. Post Pictures

For the most part, people who have “liked” your page have already eaten at your restaurant before, and all they will need is a gentle reminder of how great your food is to return and dine with your business again.  By regularly utilizing your Facebook page to post pictures of your menu items, you can be sure that your loyal diners will have their mouths watering in no time.  Additionally, for new customers who have never tried your food, high quality pictures may be just the right incentive to give your restaurant a shot and get familiar with your menu in person.  Consider hiring a professional photographer to photograph your entire menu, and then release the pictures slowly over time.  Or take pictures yourself, as long as they look professional.  Just make sure that your food looks it’s best: a picture tells a thousand words after all!

  1. Post Smart!

Whole books have been written about what “posting smart” means in the context of social media, but there are a few basic things you should keep in mind to optimize your Facebook page for success.  First, post often but not too often.  Several times a day: good.  Several times an hour: spam.  Second, post when people are likely to see the things you post.  For restaurant owners, posting right before meal times is smart posting, as it may lure customers into your establishment.  Finally, post only things that represent your business well.  Think of this as advertising, and remember that badly lit photographs, less than perfectly prepared food, or anything that makes your business look bad is better off not posted at all.