The ubiquity of social media is inescapable. If you’re not being reminded daily about updating your bar’s Facebook page, you’re watching patrons check-in, tweet or post pictures while at your venue. There are a few simple ways to stay on top of what’s going on without drowning in the endless Internet abyss. If you’re worried that there are too many options and too little time, then choose the most popular outlets and go from there. Remember, social media is merely another marketing format for your establishment. Guests will glen how much you care about them based on the time and effort you put into your online presence and connect with them. To know what to do, prepare a foolproof strategy by following these five simple tips.
1. Strategy. Strategy. Strategy. It’s simple enough, but most owners are too busy to ensure a social-media strategy their No. 1 priority. Sit down with your staff and brainstorm ideas on how to make your social-media sites better, listing updates and figuring out what tone works best for the voice of your establishment. Planning out tweets and status updates will save time during the week, and it will help create a social-media routine. Maria Miranda, creative director and founder of Miranda Creative says to “listen before you post,” meaning follow your competitors for a few weeks before “launching or changing your messaging.”
Additionally, strategizing is measuring your social-media systems. “The first thing I would tell them to focus on is measurement systems,” Miranda says. That means learning Google Analytics, using Facebook’s backend to learn more about your demographics and combining that with another third-party measurement system such as Get Clicky. The first part of a good strategy is a “measurement system to put a turn style in place, so you have an idea of where people are coming from and where you can focus on” Miranda reiterates.
2. How many times a day should you post? Owners can be plagued with tough questions about social media but more often than not they wonder if they’re doing it right. There is no right or wrong way as long as you’re aware of your brand. Miranda explains it this way: “Do you remember asking your English teacher this question, ‘How many pages should my report be?’ She answered, ‘Whatever it takes to tell the story?’ Well, posting is much the same. If you have good content to share (fun posts, special offers, events/activities) then positing frequently is a benefit to your followers and welcomed.” On the other hand, she says, if you don’t have anything to say except mundane things, then it’s obvious you’re forcing it.
3. Try to reach new guests. Social media opens up a whole new world to owners and operators, allowing them to seek out guests they may not have had access to through customary marketing strategies. In reality, Miranda says, “the best and fastest way to reach the masses is through paid placement in social media.” That means running sponsored stories—ads that target the connections of current followers. “This larger reach then converts to more direct followers, which is ultimately the goal. To build a larger audience through other means requires constant effort,” she adds.
4. Don’t be desperate. Any one creating a professional social-media identity knows how overwhelming it can be. This can make owners seem desperate, abandoning their original strategy and inundate followers with updates. The idea is to “not take on too much at one time with no plan, resources or technology” says Miranda. If you do it right, followers will come to you. This can be as simple as posting in the first person plural. Bars and restaurants speak as a brand, “and brands speak in the plural. This is not your personal profile,” Miranda warns.
5. Be consistent. Keeping up with social media and running a business at the same time isn’t an easy task. And when priorities get blurry so can your social-media plan. That means it may fall to the wayside. “Followers notice this type of behavior and will tune you out,” Miranda explains. Posting inconsistently will deter your fans—even aggravate them. “There is little respect for brands that don’t communicate for months that then suddenly (likely a new employee) start posting hourly,” Miranda says. “If you’ve been dormant a bit, ramp up slowly to a good level of activity.”