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Small businesses, in particular, small restaurants, do not get to fulfill their potential in terms of revenue generation because they have to bear the ever-increasing costs of paid advertising and other marketing activities. In the developed countries, including Australia, small restaurants bet on Facebook and Instagram advertising relying too much on their excellent opportunities for targeting and segmentation. The success of small restaurants and cafes largely depends on customer retention rates that makes Facebook and Instagram paid advertising even more reasonable (Mueller, 2018). 

The owners of small companies are willing to spend more on social media to build their brand and trigger customers’ purchasing behavior while ensuring their business keeps running. However, analytics have already expressed several concerns regarding the cost-effectiveness of paid ads and their ability to add value for small restaurant companies. 

This article provides an insight into how small restaurants and cafes can diversify their marketing strategy to decrease the reliance on Facebook and Instagram ads.

Based on thorough research on how social media marketing impacts the performance of small restaurants and cafes, it was established that small restaurants choose Facebook and Instagram for marketing purposes in hopes of improving acceptance rates and increasing brand awareness (the company’s visibility). 

Whether they choose a sponsored ad or a post depends mostly on the topic and style of promotional content the company wants to publish. Standeberry (2018) claims that a sponsored post improves the Facebook page visibility only when it 2originally appears on the company’s timeline. It fades over time, significantly decreasing the profile of the brand on Facebook. The evidence of this trend is presented in the article by Standeberry (2018).

Figure 1.

Thus, even though sponsored Facebook posts are the best for small businesses based on the costs involved, their opportunity for promotion is limited to the existing page only. Therefore, such generic posts require small restaurant companies to make an extra effort to reach out to the target audience. 

On the contrary, running Facebook and Instagram ads is cheaper than posting sponsored posts. Small companies get a chance to save money, reach to customers, and optimize their marketing using social media ads. However, their marketing strategy does not benefit much from such advertising.

Figure 2.

  • Facebook and Instagram ads can increase unique social media’s fans reach by up to 90%
  • Facebook and Instagram ads increase the number of followers for business pages by up to 77% 
  • Such advertising increases Instagram or Facebook page clicks by up to 96%
  • Facebook and Instagram paid advertising increase page impressions by 126%
  • Facebook has over 2 billion active users, 65% of them access their pages daily. Thus, paid advertising ensures greater visibility.

The scheme above explains why small restaurant businesses prefer sponsored ads to generic posts. Running Facebook and Instagram ads indeed facilitate reaching out to customers but also prevents companies from using other means of advertising that some of their competitors have already successfully implemented. 

For example, even if 65% of active Facebook users access their pages daily, SMS marketing still controls a more significant part of the target audience. Everyone has a smartphone or mobile device now, so SMS seems to be indeed a perfect way for small restaurants and cafes to reach out to customers allowing them to save money along the way. 

Moreover, such means of advertising guarantees instant success and high reach because around 98% of people read their SMS (Lemzy, 2017) compared to 65% of Facebook users who may or may not see the ad or post. 

Such statistics prove that small restaurant companies have other advertising options besides Facebook and Instagram ads, which can be more economical and practical. In this context, special attention should be paid to online widgets and SMS as alternative marketing platforms.

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