BAR SOCIAL: CREATING A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN
Never has a venue's online presence been more important than in the world we live in today. We talk to Mark McCulloch from Supersonic Inc about his top tips for success on social media - from how to plan and create content to how to engage with customers online.
Social media is becoming increasingly influential on our buying habits, where we go, what we eat, drink, wear – the list could go on. In short, it influences everything – so its power is not to be underestimated. Unlike traditional print marketing, digital marketing channels including social media allow us to communicate with prospect guests wherever they are, as long as they have a phone handy. Of course, there are still offline venue marketing opportunities, but the bigger acquisition and retention plan is digital as this tends to reap the best results.
The First Steps
I would advise focusing on the following areas when thinking about social media amplification to drive first-time and repeat visits to your venue:
Define your Brand – This includes defining what you do, why you are distinctly different than the competition, your target markets, your values, your tone of voice, your tone of look, your positioning in the market and your brand DNA (what distinctively and truthfully sums up your brand in two words).
Marketing Plan - You need to create a marketing plan before you start posting on social media. Your execution should be to only ever achieve the goals you set out on this plan. What do you want to achieve commercially? What do you want people to know about your brand and how can you create a true emotional connection with your customers so that they buy into you? You also need to think about who you’re targeting, Where are they? What do they think of you? What do they want from you and where is their attention focused most of the time so that you can always market to them there?
3. Wider Digital Marketing - People make the mistake of focusing on social media when there is a whole digital world out there including your website, search marketing (SEO and PPC), AdWords, retargeting, local listings, the space you take up on the search pages (see how much room Nike or Amazon take up on the first page of Google if you search for them), Email/CRM, Apps and more. Researching all of your options is basic housekeeping and I’d suggest you focus on this before solely honing in on social media.
4. Grow Your Team – Social media is not a part-time job. My advice would be to have a team of 1-3 people, at least. One person can solely focus on making the content, another on acquisition, and another on retention activity. We’re not just talking about quick social posts, but carrying out strategic, data-informed, relevant sales-driving activity.
5. Create a Calendar - Firstly, create a master marketing plan. This should show you what content you want to push and when, as after all, social media is just another amplification channel. Then, you want to break your social media channel monthly plan into days and 6 x 4-hour periods. It’s good to test what periods work best for engagement for you. For hospitality, 11-2 pm (lunchtime) on Friday and Saturday seem to work best, however, this may be a different story for you.
I use Planoly and Hootsuite to schedule some posts, but I’d recommend doing a mix of scheduled posts, as well as real-time posts, as these are much more authentic. If all of your posts are planned, there’s no room for spontaneity. 90% of social media marketing is about listening to the way people talk about your brand, your offerings and local area. This will help you to start conversations with people and grow your community.
Creating Content – These are the five skills required to create thumb-stopping content:
- Sound and image editing
- Graphic Design
Outsourcing for any of these skills can work but it’s better to use an inhouse team where possible as outsourcing can become very costly. A good test is for you to scroll through your timeline fast and see where your thumb stops you. Interrogate yourself as to why you did that.
It’s best for you to use your own assets unless you are using an influencer to help you create content. There are great apps like Over and Canva which can help you edit quickly, using unique colourways, backgrounds, filters and fonts to help your brand stand out distinctively.
LET THE DATA LEAD THE WAY
Let the data guide you. Hooking up your social media data to your EPOS, Wi-Fi provider and CRM/email system provider is what will help you win. Here’s what to focus on when your social media posts succeed:
- Who did you post to?
- Where did you post?
- When did you post?
- What was your message?
- How did people react?
- What did you make them think, act and feel?
I hope this quick guide on how to get the best out of social media really helps your brand expand. It may seem a big leap of faith to put this much time and investment into digital, but recent events have only further emphasised customer’s reliance on digital resources and the increased time spent on phones and social media - so it’s always best to fish where the fish are swimming. Good luck!
Five Key Takeaways
- Don’t target everyone. Define your brand and the value of the total market - segment it and decide who you will target specifically
- Write a social media strategy to determine what it will take for you to deliver it
- Secure resource and budget
- Put a good system in place for delivering content
- Measure the effect - get obsessed about what does and does not work. Ask why?
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