Restaurants must be on social media in 2018. After all, it's often the first place where people go to find a restaurant's hours, read reviews, and see a menu before heading out the door.
But restaurants handle social media differently than other types of businesses. For example, restaurants rely on different social networks than traditional businesses. While they have Facebook and Twitter accounts, Yelp, Google My Business, and Instagram take priority.
In this article, we'll show you the best social media management apps for restaurants. This article focuses on finding social media apps that support Yelp and Google My Business, has direct Instagram scheduling, and can be used by multiple team members
Essential social media management app features for restaurants
As discussed earlier, restaurants have different social media needs than traditional small businesses. Here's a list of popular features that many restaurants need for day-to-day social media operations. Make sure your social media management app offers them.
- Powerful scheduling features. This is a core part of any social media marketing app. If you can't schedule content well, why use a social media management app at all?
- Analytics and reporting. Restaurants (and all small businesses) need to know if their social media initiatives work, and social media analytics let your team see results. Some key analytics features to look out for include engagement analytics, network and account comparison, and daily reports.
- Multiple accounts for each network. You need to be able to link multiple brands and social media accounts to your social media management app. This comes in handy if you have multiple locations with different social accounts, etc. In an ideal world, your social media management platform will allow for at least 5 accounts, but this isn't the case for all management apps.
- Support for all social networks and review sites. It's important that your social media management app supports all of the social networks where your brand is active. This means more than just Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Others include LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, Yelp, and Google My Business. If your app doesn't support these, you may find yourself scrambling to find an alternative when a client joins another social network.
- Social listening. Your social media management app should have a listening feature. Use this to keep a constant search going for your brand's hashtags, keywords, and account names. If someone mentions your brand on social media, you're notified right away and can respond accordingly.
- A social inbox. Your social media app should have a great social media inbox where you can view @replies to your brand. Use this feature to respond to support requests, check feedback, and otherwise interact with your customers.
- Automation features. Make sure your social media management app has built-in automation features. You can use these to automate everyday social media tasks. For example, you may want to create an automation that automatically pulls reports every week on Friday, or one that re-posts your blog posts from last week on Twitter.
The applications in question
Let's introduce the contenders! Here are the six social media management apps we're comparing based on feature set for cafes and restaurants:
- Social Report
- Sprout Social
We'll give each application a quick introduction and break down whether each application offers the features listed above in a table at the end of the article.
Let's get started!
Social Report — best functionality for restaurants
At Social Report, we make it a point to add new and innovative features to our platform on a regular basis. Offer excellent smart scheduling tools, in-depth analytics and reporting, and a social inbox that brings all of your brand's mentions into one easy-to-digest inbox.
But best of all, we offer support for all social networks and even some web services—including ones integral to cafes and restaurants. For example, with Social Report you can manage Yelp, post to Google My Business, and even run your Shopify store (helpful for selling gift cards). See our full list of supported networks for more info.
Sprout Social — good social inbox, high price
Sprout Social is a big name in the social media management world, and for a good reason. The company has long-offered new and innovative features like an all-in-one social inbox, keyword monitoring, and more.
But Sprout Social app isn't perfect. It's the most expensive social media management tool in our price comparison article, and lacks support for smaller social networks and business review platforms. Currently, Sprout Social only integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and has no support for Yelp or other review sites important to restaurants.
Buffer — up-and-coming but lacks essential business functions
Buffer is one of the original social media scheduling apps. It integrates with most of the popular social networks (but not the more obscure ones or review sites). The application recently added analytics and reporting features this year, so it's officially a full-fledged social media management app.
The application is limited when it comes to features, though. The application only supports the "Big Five" social networks, and ignores Yelp, Google My Business, and review websites and web services that restaurants and cafes rely on.
Agorapulse — solid analytics, limited accounts
Agorapulse is a basic social media management app with solid posting, collaboration, and analytics tools. However, it doesn't support smaller social networks or review sites, its base plan includes just three social accounts, and it doesn't offer any type of white labeling.
MeetEdgar — basic functionality for the Big Three
MeetEdgar is social media scheduling application for small teams. Currently, the application supports scheduling posts to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It has an interesting, self-scheduling content calendar that sorts posts by assigned category.
Beyond that, MeetEdgar is extremely limited. It doesn't offer analytics tools, support for business review websites, or other features that are essential for restaurants. The app doesn't have the ability to create team member accounts either, and you can't link more than 25 social media accounts.
HootSuite — lots of features, but lacks review sites
HootSuite is one of the original social media management tools, and one of the best known in the industry. However, it isn't the social media tool of choice for many restaurants. Despite HootSuite supporting 35 different social networks, it lacks support for any business review websites like Google My Business or Yelp, hence making it a tough sell for restaurants.
Social media management apps for restaurants: concluded!
|Social Report||Sprout Social||Buffer||Agorapulse||MeetEdgar||HootSuite|
|Multiple accounts per network||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Direct Instagram Scheduling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Google My Business||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
And there you have it: the top social media management apps for restaurants, broken down by features. Make sure to assess your restaurant's needs, compare the cost of these applications, and which social networks each support before settling on one app. This will save your restaurant money and frustration in the long-run and ensures you'll drive the best results to your business.
Need a new social media management app? Try Social Report today.