Content Marketing Mixology: How to Serve True Fans

Image: IvelinRadkov / iStock / Getty Images Plus. Image at bottom courtesy of theONswitch.

This startling image illustrates what’s going on across social media channels in just one short digital minute. Videos, Snaps, Grams, posts... Consumers are devouring words and images the way they feed on bar nuts and pretzels.

How does one even have time to drink a shot while they’re busy shooting or posting about it? And how can you serve up great content that keeps people spending time and money in your bar or nightclub?

Like all great marketing, content marketing starts with knowing who you are trying to reach (prospect personas) and then drawing them in with useful, entertaining, and educational information.

Content marketing is a great way to start a relationship. Just as you wouldn’t go on a date and immediately propose to the person sitting across the table, bars, clubs, and spirits brands need to woo prospective customers and compel them to like and trust you. In fact, one study by Demand Gen Report indicates that 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before buying.

But great content marketers don’t just randomly start throwing words and pictures together in the social media shaker. They follow the steps below.

  1. Know who you’re serving. Paint a clear picture of who you want to reach. Who are your best customers? Your most profitable?
  2. Reach them where they are. Just as you bring cocktails directly to your customers’ tables, you want to find out where they’re “sitting” online and bring relevant content directly to them. Here’s the latest on which channels your customers are consuming these days.
  3. Create a schedule. Your employees don’t just show up whenever they feel like it; you need a plan and calendar for your content. In fact, you can use an app like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to pre-schedule posts. Feel free to repurpose content across channels – different groups are using multiple media platforms. Just make sure your messages are consistent across each channel.
  4. Don’t just sell. Entertain, engage and educate. Post content that people will want to share with their online friends. Only about 20-30% of your online content should be sales-oriented – drink specials, events, contests, etc. The rest should be interesting facts, profiles, and images that reinforce your brand. Get in the habit of taking one great photo every day and stockpiling content for when you need it.
  5. Share and share alike! You can save time by finding useful and relevant content within your community and on spirits brands’ sites. Engage your customers in commenting on your posts by asking fun questions (e.g., “What is your favorite Bloody Mary ‘accessory?’”). Make sure your hashtags are on display in your venue and thank your regular social media fans for shouting you out. You can even reward them with free drinks or an appetizer when you see them in real life.
  6. Boost your posts. Highly targeted paid Facebook advertising can be a cost-effective way of reaching your target market. Experiment with different headlines and images as well.
  7. When should you be content with your content marketing? Measuring the impact of content marketing takes time. You should be looking at a few key measures:
  • Awareness: How many people (the right people) are viewing your content, and is the number increasing over time?
  • Engagement: The true measure of success is whether people are commenting and sharing.
  • Sales, of course: Look for ways to be able to measure the impact of your posts. Include coupons or codes with your email marketing or other content. But just be sure your entire staff is well trained when someone comes in to redeem the offer.

As more marketers use content marketing as part of their mix, competing for your “share of bar stools” becomes more challenging. Just follow the 7-point recipe for success, add a splash of personality and creativity, and you’ll have fans on your pages (and in your venue) asking for another round!

Content Marketing Mixology infographic - Content marketing