Denver Restaurant Week is quickly approaching; BPR’s Social Media & Digital Manager, Merideth, joined the discussion panel at DRW Bootcamp this morning to provide professional insight and tips for effectively marketing restaurants across a variety of social media channels during this annual food-lover’s fest. Read on for general best practices, as well as suggestions for promoting your business during the weeks leading up to Denver Restaurant Week, and beyond.

Menu Promotion
Determine your menu with plenty of time (i.e. one month in advance) to effectively promote it leading up to Denver Restaurant Week. Make it available on your website, with a call-to-action on your home page if possible, post it on your social media channels and submit it to Visit Denver by Jan. 26 for the DRW website and promotional use.

Begin posting photos of featured menu items, along with any drink specials, on your social media channels, with descriptions. Tag #DenverRestaurantWeek and utilize your own hashtag(s), if applicable. Short videos are also a great tool to drive engagement, and can feature your Chef preparing DWR dishes, your bartender making a fun cocktail and general restaurant activity.

One of the best ways to engage customers and potentially grow your fan-base is to offer an incentive. Consider running a contest in conjunction with DRW with a desirable prize, such as a gift card, dinner for two, or a private chef/VIP experience.

Example contest post: Are you joining us for @Denver Restaurant Week? Share a photo of your favorite dish or cocktail from your #DenverRestaurantWeek experience with the hashtag #___________ to be entered to win a $100 gift card. Cheers!

User Generated Content (UGC)
Let your guests do some of the work for you! Using the search function on Instagram, search for your restaurant’s location and view photos that have been tagged by guests. It is a best practice to ask each Instagram user for permission prior to repurposing their image on your social media feeds, but if their account is public, they typically are excited to allow you to share. Remember to always give the photographer credit, using their Instagram name, when you use their content.

On Facebook, you will receive notifications when guests check in and share a photo. Due to privacy settings, it is not always possible to reach out for permission to share their image, but it is a generally accepted practice.

Twitter users who tag your brand, either with your handle name or hashtag, are easy to engage with. Simply retweet their original tweet, reply to their tweet, or favorite their tweet, if it is positive.