Use Your Restaurant’s Email Lists to Supercharge Your Facebook Ads

[feat-text]Ever since we as mere mortals have had access to Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool (thanks to Power Editor), marketers and brands have been looking for ways to make the most of this incredible power. [/feat-text]

If you still aren’t sure what Custom Audiences are, basically this is a way for you to target your customers/patrons in Facebook ads, even if they don’t follow your Page. This is a great paid marketing strategy for restaurants.

To create a Customer Audience in Power Editor, click on “Audiences”, then “Create Audiences” and select “Custom Audience.”

create custom facebook audience

Facebook will then ask you how you want to create this Custom Audience. You have a few options to choose from, but seeing as many restaurants and foodservice brands find success when building out their email lists, we thought it useful for you to learn how to use your contact lists to boost your Facebook ads.

So, for our purposes today, you’ll want to choose Customer File, which will lead you to this dialog box:

add customers to audience

Choose the option that best matches your needs. If you choose to upload a file, then you’ll use either the CSV or TXT format. For your email list, it’s best to use just one column in your file, with that column including just the email address of your customers/patrons.

Facebook will then go on to do what it does, which is to generate a list of Facebook users who are also on your email list, and this will become your new Custom Audience. Our digital marketing department recommends naming this new Custom Audience something easy to recognize (Email Subscribers, perhaps) as you’ll reference this name in the future.

Creating this Custom Audience group is pretty simple to do, but what are you going to do with it once you create this audience? Glad you asked.

1. Increase your Page Likes

One of the first things you should do once you have your new Custom Audience list created is to increase your Page Likes.

You already know that the people on your email list likely have some interest in your restaurant and branding. Now you just need to get as many of them as possible to like your Page (if they don’t already) so that you can stay top-of-mind with them.

Here’s how to make that happen when choosing your Audience for your ad:

Within Power Editor:

  1. Exclude your current Fans from targeting for this ad
  2. Add your email list to the targeting

To exclude your current fans, so that they don’t have to endure your ads in your News Feed, you’ll see a CONNECTIONS area in Power Editor’s Audience screen. You want to enter your Page name within the text box for “Target users who are not already connected to …”

add connections to audience

You’ll then want to click the “Advanced” link within the Audience setup and enter the name of your newly created Custom Audience that represents your email list.

Now your ad will target everyone on your email list who isn’t already a fan of your Page.

So, now that the backend is done, what type of ad should you create? Our recommendation is to create a standard Page Like ad that drives users to a landing tab on your Page where you offer something of value in exchange for a Like.

For example, you could say that your restaurant offers exclusive discounts and promotions to Facebook followers only.

2. Extend the reach of your posts

Facebook is a great social media tool for restaurants of all sizes and specialties. The platform allows you to introduce new dishes, promote seasonal specialties, feature promotions and more. But on average, your Facebook posts reach around 10-15% of your Fans, if you rely merely on organic strategies.

Chances are you’ll want to target a larger contingency of your audience, which you can do by promoting your post (hold off on clicking that Boost Post button for the moment!).

You can also target non-fans who have similar interests to your niche, as well as non-fans who are on your email list.

First things first: promote a post. The Objective screen in Facebook’s Power Editor makes it really simple to choose what purpose you have for your ad:

choose your objective

You’ll then be taken to your Ad Set screen, which includes the option to target certain audiences.

target audience with ad set

Follow the same exact process you did for example #1 above to target non-fans who are on your list. The result is you’ll reach more people who are already interested in seeing your content (they signed up for your email list). As your ads and posts show up on their News Feeds, you can expect them to start liking your Page.

3. Target users who are similar to your email subscribers

Restaurants’ digital marketing strategies often benefit from pretty hefty-sized email lists. Unlike any other industry out there, your potential customers are more willing to exchange their contact information for the chance of knowing upcoming restaurant promotions or deals than they are for other brands.

If you have a pretty good-sized email list but want to target an even larger group of people (or are just looking to get exposed to new people) then you can do this by creating Lookalike Audiences.

While you aren’t specifically targeting your email list in this type of ad, you are using that list to target other Facebook users who are like your current contacts.

To create a Lookalike Audience, you’ll want to click on “Create New” underneath Custom Audiences in your Power Editor:

custom audiences

From there, you’ll choose Lookalike Audiences, which will take you here:

create lookalike audience

For Location, choose the United States, or whichever country you want to optimize the ad targeting for.

But for the SOURCE, here’s where you’ll type in the name of the Custom Audience you created that contains your contacts.

It really is as simple as that. Now you can create an ad to get Page Likes, extend the reach of your posts, or promote a deal, discount or more.

Using these tips above will allow your ads to do so much more for you than simply boosting a post to your existing followers and fans.

Facebook Advertising for Restaurants – Getting it Picture Perfect

[feat-text]Facebook advertising is now one of the most effective – and, as a result, most competitive – strategies to reach your prospects directly where they spend the most time. If you want to grow with digital marketing your restaurant’s reach and brand recognition, then you must invest in Facebook advertising.[/feat-text]

But just because you throw a few dollars into a Facebook budget doesn’t mean your ad will be seen, acknowledged, and clicked-on by your target audiences. The average Facebook news feed is cluttered with information, including posts from friends and pitches from businesses. If you want your ad to stand out in the fray, then it’s time to focus on the pictures.

Here are 5 tips to help you pick the best, possible pictures to bring your Facebook ads to live for your restaurant.

1. Invest in quality images

Facebook – and social media for that matter – has the tendency of inspiring all of us to share ‘in-the-moment’ photos we take from our phones. Some of these photos look great – many do not. While the quality of your images may not matter on your personal feed, when it comes to your restaurant’s official FB page, it matters a great deal.

Invest the time into taking quality photographs of your food and your restaurant. Your smartphone can, in fact, take these pictures, but you may also want to invest in a more professional camera, a tripod, and some lighting.

If you can’t hire a professional photographer, our digital marketing company suggests you dub one or two people on staff as your go-to photographers. Encourage them to hone their craft and praise them for their quality work.

2. Choose engaging subjects and composition

When it comes to paid advertising for restaurants, your main goal is to get people to take some sort of action, right? Your ad’s image is the anchor that will get these folks to stop in their tracks and read what your ad actually says.

Make sure your ad’s image is extremely engaging. The obvious – yet effective – choice is to take a high-quality shot of one of your signature dishes. There’s a reason why food shots are among the most popular on Instagram – people love looking at delicious food!

But don’t just assume that a standard food photo is your best bet for your ad. Remember, you’re trying to get people to engage with your ad. That’s why if, and whenever possible, try to incorporate people into your ad images.

This can be tricky because a photograph of someone eating doesn’t necessarily make for an effective ad. The most effective type of image will show people enjoying themselves while in your restaurant.

3. Minimalistic is the best approach

Avoid incorporating a cluttered composition in your image – instead of taking a picture of several meals on a table, focus on just one. Also, try not to use any small text on your image. There’ll be plenty of places in your ad to use text (your headline, summary, link description). Leave most of the messaging aspect of your ad to the text sections, and use images that are strong, simple and compelling.

4. Choose bright, colorful images

Remember – your ad needs to stand out in a busy news feed that your audience swipes through at a dizzying pace. Colorful, bright images have been shown to catch your readers’ attention and have them inspect your ad a little closer.

5. Test your images

Above all else, test your images to see which ones your audience likes. Each business – and target market – is unique. You’ll never quite know which ad images to use unless you test several out.

Does your audience respond better when images have text or no text? Do they seem to convert more with images involving people or just your food? Only the data will really tell.

Testing your images is fairly simple. Just get started selecting some images you feel represent your brand and will appeal to your audience. Start running these ads for a couple of weeks and before you know it, you’ll have invaluable information to help you optimize your future ad campaigns.

Choosing the right FB images for your restaurant ads

The copy that you include in your ad will dictate whether readers will click on or not. But no one will ever spend the time reading your ad if your image doesn’t pull them in. Choose high-quality images that are bright, minimalistic, and engaging, and you’ll almost certainly see an uptick in views and conversions. But, in the end, make sure you learn something new for each ad you run, to improve the performance for your future ads.

Six Ways to Engage your Patients with Social Media

Social media has become as important to health care as good bedside manner.

For your practice, social media can help you gain new patients, strengthen relationships with current patients and even help you create ‘brand ambassadors’ – patients who promote your practice for you through testimonials and referrals.

A recent study found that over 90 percent of 18-24 year olds said they would trust health information that they found on social media.

 The lesson? To shore up the future of your practice and boost patient loyalty for your practice, make the most of social media.

Social media tells your patients that you care, that you’re listening, and that you want to be involved in their health.

Here are six ways that you can use social media to engage your patients:


1. Make it easy for people to connect with you

Make it extremely easy for a patient or new visitor to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your practice by ensuring that all of your social profile icons (on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others) are clearly visible on all of your digital communications and websites. Think of it as an invitation in every communication to connect with or learn more about your practice.

2. Encourage participation

Give your followers several ways to chime in and be heard across your social media platforms. For example, Piedmont Healthcare issues a weekly challenge for their followers who, in turn, comment and tell how they are doing week to week.

Ask them to ‘like’ a blog or Facebook post if they want you to write more about a topic. Encourage them to share the post with others if they agree with it. And don’t forget to end social media posts with the friendly suggestion to comment and “tell me what you think.

 Use cross-platform links to get the most out of each interaction. For example, if you mention your practice’s latest blog post on your Google+ account, make sure that you also share it on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Start conversations by asking questions

Make sure they’re good, thoughtful questions that would offer insight into how you can better help your audiences and also provide valuable information at the same time.

It’s best to keep them open-ended, positive, and of course, relevant to your practice.

Do you want feedback about a new procedure? Or your new online scheduling system? You can also help to ensure a positive tone by asking for the glass-half-full answers such as: ‘what worked’ about a system, or ‘how did it save you time?’ Ask and it shall be answered!


4. Increase your trustworthiness index: Answer questions

Once you turn on the faucet of social media, your audience will ask you questions. Be sure to answer and address them. Even if you don’t have all the answers, you ‘weighing in’ on the issue will show both the questioner and the rest of your audience that you’re paying attention.

You can also keep a look out for questions that are tweeted throughout the healthcare community, even if they aren’t specifically addressed to you. That will expand your visibility and help you gain more recognition as an expert in the field.

For example, were you aware that there is a group of Healthcare IT Professional women who host a twitter chat each month? This is a great place for you to be involved and learn more about the issues in your industry.



5. Check the pulse of your social media on a regular basis

Make sure that someone in your practice is reading all the comments on your Facebook page and responding to all of your twitter interactions.

You can even set up a keyword/hashtag monitoring stream in a tool like HootSuite  and watch what people are saying about you, your industry, and your competitors. This gives you tremendous insight into what your target audiences are thinking and feeling. Plus, you can use that information to create new opportunities to engage them.


6. Show your personality

Okay, so your online presence includes a ‘tour of the office’ and maybe even a page to “meet the staff.” Take it a step further by offering stories and photos from daily practice in your social media accounts as well.


For instance, you can post photos of your staff on birthdays, show off new equipment, or office improvements. By doing this you create a human element to your “brand” which audiences can form more meaningful connections with.


Atlantic Digital Marketing Company’s  social media campaigns put your practice in a position where you are reaching target demographics with the right message at the right time and converting prospects to patients.

Tips for Social Media Marketing

Social media — something once thought of as a means of disconnecting people — is now becoming one of the main lifelines keeping people from different cities, backgrounds and generations connected.

Creating content and manipulating it to each social platform is crucial  for business growth and capitalizing on social selling opportunities. However, it can be hard to figure out where to start or how to measure the effectiveness of a social media campaign for law firms or other businesses.

While every social media strategy for franchises or brands is going to be different based on the industry, there are a few universal rules that apply when creating all social media content.

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Going Dark on Facebook is Not a Bad Idea

Facebook is continuously changing its algorithm to level the playing field for online advertisers.

Previously, Facebook and other social media outlets were used for free advertising. The tactic was simple: like our page, receive our offers and view terribly planned posts that are irrelevant to the reason why you liked the page in the first place.

The newest Facebook algorithm is a potential nightmare for businesses unaware of the site’s social purposes. If you do not play by Facebook’s rules, your customers will never see your content. Lost are the days to generate “Likes” and “Comments.” Now, we are all paying to drive customers to content that is relevant to their daily lives.

As marketers, our goal is to engage with customers, listen to their needs and respond appropriately — all for the purposes of driving sales.

Breaking through the barrier is challenging, especially now that Facebook is further limiting how often business pages are viewed within user newsfeeds. We are no longer working with a free source of advertisement. In order to appear in front of your customers, you should utilize Facebook Unpublished Page Posts: the real bread and butter of social advertising.

Taking A Closer Look At Unpublished Facebook Ads

A dark ad, also called an unpublished post, is an ad that looks just like a normal newsfeed post, but does not appear on your brand’s timeline. The benefit of running unpublished posts or dark ads is that they are proven to deliver an, “ROI of 53 percent over a seven day period.”  Because organic posts are not as attainable as they once were, dark ads are the best alternative for getting your brand in front of potential customers.

The process is simple, but it needs to be supported with relevant content. The beauty of dark ads is that there are no significant identifiers that reveal their ad-like identity. The purpose is to blend in like a friend, but stand out to elicit a response.

The steps are simple when creating an Unpublished Post:

1. Select Power Editor

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Why Nostalgia is Useful in Marketing

As Miley Cyrus displayed a new purpose for foam fingers, I, along with masses of millennials, had only turned on the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) for one reason: *NSYNC.

Yep, rumor had it that the boy band — who spawned the Jimmy Fallon proclaimed, “President of Pop,” Justin Timberlake — would reunite on the VMA stage. As *NSYNC was/is/will always be an embodiment of the happiest days of my tween years, I had to see it, and you can bet MTV knew this.

Throughout history, nostalgia has been a surefire way for brands to garner attention and gain new fans while reinvigorating old ones. But why do we always long for “the good ol’ days”? What is it about nostalgia that successful marketing campaigns have tapped into?

PlayStation: Why We’ve Played Since 1995

One clear definition of nostalgia is “a yearning for the return of past circumstances, events, etc.” Sony used this feeling in their biggest marketing campaign to date: the release of PlayStation 4.


The gaming giant utilized Twitter and YouTube to celebrate 19 years of PlayStation’s relevancy in the gaming world. On Twitter, fans tweeted their craziest, most fun, most warming, most memorable experience using the hashtag #playstationmemory. Some of the tweets that stuck in my mind mentioned Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, and Parappa the Rapper.

On YouTube, Sony’s promo video “Players Since 1995” (hashtag #4ThePlayers) is a fun timeline of how much has changed with PlayStation since its birth. From the different versions of the console, the many games in their catalog, all the cheats (back, back, X anyone?), PlayStation is not only a part of our present, they shaped a huge part of our past.

Sony’s approach to nostalgia encompassed one idea: we (game console and the gamer) are all growing and changing, but there’s a reason we’ve all been gamers since 1995, and PlayStation will always remind us why.

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The Digital Apocalypse

Zombies have slowly but surely taken over our lives!

Metaphorical zombies, that is.

Now that the hit TV series “The Walking Dead” is FINALLY back for its fourth season, I’ve had a chance to get back into the fictional world that comes to life in my beautiful home state, Georgia.  I thought about how crazy it would be to have to adjust to a completely new way of life where you always have to be aware of your surroundings in order to survive.

Then it occurred to me that the real world is actually quite similar regarding the development of technology and the prevalence of the digital age.  Just like in the world of “The Walking Dead”, you are infected, regardless of your level of involvement with technology.  Inevitably, the outbreak will affect you.

I don’t remember a time when people didn’t communicate electronically, but that isn’t the case for everyone.  Some of you work in industries where (at one point in time) traditional advertising was king, and it did just fine.

Along came technology and the internet. With it came destruction, death, heartbreak… wait.

But really, with it came a completely new set of rules that dictate how communication is acceptable and unacceptable when transmitted digitally.  It created a new avenue for businesses to increase exposure, sales, leads, you name it.  It created a need for new languages and coding—new ways of thinking, new ways of life.

So let’s look at our friends on “The Walking Dead”.   At the beginning of the series, the disease broke out and everyone’s first concern was coping with the death of their loved ones and with the fact that things were changing. Okay. Got it.

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What “Sharknado” Can Teach You About Social Media Marketing

“Sharks in a tornado. Sharknado. Simply stunning.”

This quote from Syfy’s recent hit, “Sharknado,” pretty much sums up the movie’s collective social media reaction, which as it turns out, has been the best marketing tool the network could have ever hoped for. The accidental success of a movie that is now being compared to cult classics like “Rocky Horror Picture Show” offers marketing agencies a lesson on the power that social media has in pop culture.

Initial Reactions Lead to Cult Following

Since its initial airing in July, which garnered 5,000 tweets a minute, Twitter has blown up with #Sharknado tweets, many coming from celebrities. Producer Greg Berlanti joked, “somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling…for not coming up with #Sharknado first.” Patton Oswalt and Damon Lindelof bantered about starting the first draft for “Sharknado 2: The Sharkening,” while Olivia Wilde wrote that she watched it based on Mia Farrow’s review, “omg omg OMG #sharknado.'”

And that was just the first night.

Nielsen reported that a few hundred thousand viewers turned on “Sharknado” initially, but by the end of the movie, 1.6 million were watching and social media was buzzing with #Sharknado fever. Interestingly, the second airing pulled in 1.9 million viewers and the third airing was the most-watched encore in network history at 2.1 million.  The movie did so well that Regal Cinema’s agreed to pick it up for midnight showings around the country. When it aired in select theaters, it was such a hit that they had to add more theaters and screens to accommodate the audience. Now, the film is being released around the world, including a showing on Friday the 13th in theaters throughout Australia.

In addition to its millions of viewers, the movie has a large contingent of cult followers that haven’t even seen it, which is impressive. The hype around the movie is so engaging that consumers don’t even need to see it to love it.

So, how is it that a TV movie about a tornado full of sharks has become such a pop culture hit and how can marketing agencies learn from Syfy’s success?

Five Things “Sharknado” Can Teach Marketers

Live Tweeting Can be Your Friend

Live tweeting an event engages a wide audience and also creates new content that entices more followers. For example, Patton Oswalt tweeted, “No way is Sharknado as entertaining as the tweets about it. Congrats @SyfyTV. You’ve created a new way to watch movies.”

Social Media is a Key Aspect to Marketing Campaigns

Utilizing social media for your franchise or business saves you money and time. Also, with the right conditions, it can skyrocket your product to a new level of success and offer insight into what your consumers want. These days, everyone has some kind of social media account so even asking your employees to like or share a company post gets more eyes on the product and could draw in new followers.

Embrace the Ridiculous (Sometimes)

If an idea seems too obvious or too ridiculous to work, it’s at least worth a try. “Sharknado” sounds ridiculous, but it was enough to draw in curious viewers who posted about it, which drew in their friends and then friends of those friends and now Syfy has a camp classic in its collection.

Use Buzz to Create New Buzz

If you have success with one product on social media don’t stop there. If your company can use the buzz created by the first product to advertise a new one, it’s likely going to have more success. This method is good for many reasons. First, it keeps the buzz about the first product relevant longer, giving it staying power. Second, it allows you to piggy-back the next project into a higher visibility right off the bat. For example, Syfy learned a lesson from its success, playing up its ridiculous premise and giving fans around the world the chance to choose which theaters “Sharknado” hits next, as well as the title of the sequel (aptly named, “Sharknado 2: The Second One”).

Do Not Underestimate the Staying Power of Trends

Most importantly, never doubt the staying power of popular trends in social media. Sharknado has been in the spotlight for almost two months and it is still tweeted about at least 20 times a day, while generating posts, likes and shares every hour as new people around the world get hooked.

Syfy Proves ‘Accidental’ Success Can Happen With Anything

Syfy has definitely maximized the value of “Sharknado.” Through the brand marketing done on social media sites, the network has launched new marketing campaigns and found a niche to secure the future of its product.

So, if you thought that you couldn’t learn anything from the network that brought you “Chupacabra vs. The Alamo” you may want to start looking for inspiration in other strange places, you never know what you might find.


Game of Thrones: The Quest for the Silicon Throne

As season three of our favorite show, Game of Thrones, comes to an end, we were wondering what it would be like if the search engines were in an episode fighting for the Silicon Throne. Here’s what the dynamics of the realm would look like…

House Google (Lannister): Descending from southern California in 1998, Google is the Richest and most powerful House in the Realm. Their lands extend far across California and even overseas. In years past Lord Larry Page of House Google has defeated Lord Bill Gates of House Bing becoming the king of the Realm, however House Bing is making their way back to the capitol to take back the Silicon throne. House Google has most recently formed an alliance with Lord Youtube to dominate forces online.

Key Players: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt


House Bing (Targaryen):  Known as one of the former Great Houses to rule the seven kingdoms, before House Google took the Silicon throne, House Bing has been making a comeback as a main competitor for the throne.  House Bing gained its power from Lord Microsoft and has an increasingly close alliance with Yahoo. House Bing is located across the Narrow Sea in San Diego (Dothraki for “A Whale’s Vagina”).

Key Players: Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer


House Yahoo (Stark): As one of the oldest and well known of all the Houses, House Yahoo currently reigns in the North and is known as the pioneers of the realm. House Yahoo is currently in a losing battle with House Google and House Bing for the Silicon Throne. Their outdated tactics have made the realm very weary of them.

Key Players: Marissa Mayer, Jerry Yang, David Filo


House AOL (White Walkers): Also known as the Others, House AOL has been around for centuries. As everyone feared, they are rapidly making a comeback in the Seven Kingdoms. House AOL has recently threatened the realm with strategic alliances with key competitors.

Key Players: Tim Armstrong


In a realm of online uncertainty only one thing is true… Winter is Coming.