No, seriously, they are. At the start of 2012, Facebook had over 800 million active users. 1 in every 5 page views on the entire Internet took place on Facebook.com. (That's a lot!) Facebook provides an unparalleled opportunity for restaurants to showcase their strengths and to engage their customers.
The opinions that we trust most come from those that we know personally; the advent of social media has introduced a concept called "social proof," or trying things that our friends like. Having a good, active Facebook page makes it easier for your restaurant's fans to show their support and pass on your greatness to their friends.
Nailing a guest's first experience is tough and a great accomplishment, but it's tough to stay connected and keep them coming back. Regulars will not only spend more of their own money but also bring their friends to show off the awesome place that they've found. Mix up your regular fare with seasonal food and cocktail specials and post photos and descriptions on Facebook. They might blame you for causing them to salivate on their keyboard, but it will be worth it once they come in!
Good bars and restaurants have events: hosting trivia, happy hour, live music, sports game watching, beer/wine tastings, or even a weekly occurrence like "Taco Tuesdays." For more regular events, posting a simple update is probably the best approach, but for special occasions Facebook lets you send a calendar invite to all of your fans. The "Event" invites should be used sparingly though, it is possible to become a pest.
Don't be afraid to post interesting tidbits or inspirational thoughts from the staff. Lending personality to your staff creates a more welcoming image and can help build up your list of regulars.
Like it or not, society has become driven to make their choices based upon perceived value. I'm sure your food is worth its stated price, but if you give a guest 20% off their check for mentioning a Facebook "word of the day," it is something that they can get excited about and will earn you some Brownie points. You're not going for a one-and-done encounter, giving your fans a light break on their check from time to time can keep you in their good graces.
Prove it! If you specialize in craft beers, local produce, raw oysters, or anything else then you should not keep that a secret. Post relevant articles with your own 2 cents because your specialty is probably one of the reasons your fans are into you!