Nowadays, everyone can agree that social media usage has levelled up in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. When the lockdown was in place, we saw people begin spending more time on social media, and businesses that recognised this trend, turned to social media platforms to communicate with their customers.
Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to get your social media strategy right.
Note: This is the first instalment in our three-part ‘Promote’ series. In the next few weeks, we will be exploring various ways for your business to enhance its online presence.
In this instalment of our ‘Promote’ series, we spoke to Brad Cooke, the Head of Marketing at Foodie Coaches - specialists in business coaching for hospitality owners. Brad gave us 7 tips on how hospitality venues can manage social media to increase engagement, followers and revenue.
1. Make it a priority
Too many hospitality operators are viewing social media marketing as a ‘nice to have’ option. However, gone are the days where ‘social media just isn’t my thing’ as an acceptable excuse to avoid it.
By putting social media management on the back burner, you may also be saying:
- "I don't like new customers and more money"
- "I'm cool for my competitors to get all the attention and the bookings that we should be receiving"
But like any other businesses, you obviously do like new customers and lots of bookings. So, here are two recommendations to get started on your social media management:
- Make it a team sport - the responsibility doesn’t have to rest solely on your shoulders. Social media posting, engagement and content capturing is a team effort. You may even have team members in your business that are already well versed in how to get the most out of social content.
- Use a social media scheduler - Spend a small amount of time each week scheduling your posts to go live on certain days ahead of time, then you can get on with running your business for the rest of the week.
2. More, more, more
The best practice is to post twice a day, or a minimum of once a day.
Every time someone sees your brand on a social media platform, they have to think about you. If your brand is exposed to the customer at a moment that their mind is in ‘decision making mode’, you are more likely to get a customer.
But it won’t happen if you are not posting.
People won’t get annoyed at seeing your posts twice a day. If they don’t want to look at the post, they will just keep scrolling, but at least your brand is revealed to them in that small moment.
3. Stay in your brand lane
Spend some time to truly understand your brand and what you want people to associate with your venue first.
If you were to ask your followers what are the 3 to 5 main categories that you post about, could they tell you off the top of their head? Could you answer that yourself?
Build your brand foundation first. It will help you create content with more ease, allowing for message consistency and keep it simple for your audience to know who you are.
4. Use stories for behind the scenes
Generally, posts on your news feed are more aesthetically pleasing and polished, while the stories in a ‘mini video’ format is a fantastic opportunity to really connect with your followers.
Some examples that work well are: ‘Show us a recipe’, ‘show us the making of …’ and ‘show us your staff having fun’.
Use stories to show off what you love about your team, your venue and your product that a customer wouldn’t normally see when dining in.
An example of a restaurant using stories to connect with their followers:
Who they are: Tonka Restaurant
What they are doing: They are capturing some behind-the-scenes cooking in the restaurant.
Why it's awesome: Followers will be curious and more captivated by the dishes. Rather than just ordering the dish itself, they have better knowledge and understanding of the ingredients and effort being put into making the dish happen.
How to pull it off: You don’t have to give out your secret recipe, you just need to capture a few key ingredients or some action shots of preparing your signature dishes and that will do the trick!
5. Be vulnerable
Show the human behind the business. Customers want a human connection now more than ever. Here are some suggestions on how you can achieve this:
- Don't be afraid to put your face out there
- Be humble
- Share your story as a small business owner in the community
- Explain how much support means to you during this challenging time
- Teach your audience ways to support you over the coming months
You will be surprised when the engagement on this post is 4 times more than what you would usually expect.
An example of a local cafe demonstrated vulnerability and obtained a higher engagement rate:
Who they are: Commonfolk Coffee
What they are doing: They are showing vulnerability on screen, sharing their story and not afraid to explain how their customers can support them during the most challenging time in the industry.
Why it's awesome: Followers will like and comment on this type of content, more than the usual statistics as it taps into human emotions.
How to pull it off: You don’t need to put faces on the screen on every post as it will get repetitive and lose the intended effect, once a while will do the trick and get your staff on board!
6. Encourage others to be your voice
Word of mouth travels fast in the dining scene. More often than not, people trust the words of another real person who has gone through the experience. To encourage more customers to be your voice, you can:
- Create photo competitions or hashtags for your brand
- Make sure you have created your businesses location on social platforms so that your customers can check in and tag you in their delicious food posts!
- Establish some venue design elements that speak loudly about your brand
- Enhance on how you serve or plate your food to encourage customers to take and post photos
An example of a restaurant gained reputation by followers posting amazing content on their social media platforms:
Who they are: Mr Miyagi
What they are doing: They don’t just serve their signature nori taco on a plate, they got creative by implementing a container that serves as a shell for both function and presentation.
Why it's awesome: Followers will want to visit the restaurant and experience the Instagram-worthy dish. They will then share on their social media platforms and capture their network’s attention, hence initiating the trending cycle of advertising the crowd’s favourite.
How to pull it off: Have a think about how your venue can be innovative and enhance your brand elements. From plating to decor, there is always an opportunity to create a viral conversation.
7. Target your messaging
It is time to recognise that Facebook and Instagram are not social media platforms, they are business advertising platforms. And if you are not paying for attention, you are not using the number one feature of these platforms.
The real lifeblood of your business is your locals. So here are some tactics to perform well in targeting your message:
- Sponsor your highest performing posts
- Target people within a 10 to 20 km radius of your venue
- Speak using language that blends in with your area. What are some things that only the locals know?
By focusing on your messaging, you can capture more attention from locals who can put cash in your till and transform you into a better marketer - a skill that your business will always be in need of.
Alternatively, if you would like to get more resources on how to prepare your venue in the evolving dining scene, you can head to our ‘Pivot, Promote and Progress’ page for more valuable insights and success stories.