By now you should know the importance of social media as a marketing tool. You understand that your guests are using all sorts of social media apps, and you know that your guests and followers expect to see posts about your bar or nightclub in their feeds. Quite likely you’ve learned that managing your social media channels is a job in itself, and that part of that job is getting your posts noticed in the sea of content flooding your followers. That’s where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing, as explained by the Content Marketing Institute, is “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” As Nancy Shenker and Brittany Oat explained it at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show, content marketing is having interesting things to say, adding value, and inspiring people to spend their money with you. What they’ve learned is that your social media followers will engage more with you and share more of your content (which means their friends, family and other followers will see your posts) if you have fun, useful and interesting things to say. In other words, don’t just talk about yourself and try to sell your followers things. Instead, you need a branded, cohesive, and clever content marketing strategy.
Of course, you can’t really develop an effective content marketing strategy without knowing where you should be posting your content. To that end, you’ll need to be aware of the social media “biggies”: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Yelp and blogs. You also need to know that videos are the hot ticket posts right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. Social video is the new TV, says Shenker. Videos receive 62% more engagement than photos, and video shares have already increased 43% in 2016. There are an incredible 8 billion video views per day from 500 million people on Facebook. That’s just one social media app that facilitates video posts.
In addition to the social media biggies, you need to be aware of the top video apps: the ever-growing SnapChat and Vine, and the live streaming platforms Periscope, YouTube and Facebook. To take advantage of these apps, make certain your videos are optimized for every platform. Your content marketing strategy also needs to include location-based platforms like Foursquare and Swarm, and so-called “diary” apps.
And then there are the more specialized apps. There are apps for basically every niche and interest. Do you operate a craft beer bar, or a bar that otherwise has craft beer on the menu? Craft beer lovers are using the apps Untappd, BeerMenus, TapHunter and BeerAdvocate. Is your bar known for its wine program? Check out Vivino, Drync, Hello Vino and Delectable. Proud of your food? The foodies are on Foodgawker and Tastemade (which features videos posted by experts). The party rockers are using Flux and Tableist.
That was a barrage of apps. There are a lot of platforms to research, try out, and manage. Is there anything you can do to narrow down which apps will best work for your bar or nightclub? Of course! Shenker and Oat shared their criteria for choosing the apps that will be worth your time:
- A share function for social platforms.
- The ability to communicate with users as a brand or business.
- Advertising options.
- Event promotion.
- Audience metrics/analytics.
Of course, another excellent way of sifting through all of the apps to find which of them will help you get your message out to people is to simply ask. That’s right – ask your guests which apps they use.
There is one app that has not been mentioned, until now. It’s an app that basically everybody uses, and it’s an app that many in the hospitality industry don’t particularly care for. That doesn’t, however, mean it can be ignored. If you haven’t guessed what it is yet, it’s Yelp. The app has 89 million unique visitors per month and has 90 million reviews (and counting). Owners and operators can claim their listings, add their menus and events, communicate with their customers, and pay for ads.
The keys to a successful content marketing strategy are knowing what to post and where to post it. Deciding on the platforms can be time-consuming but is likely a bit more tangible than deciding on how you’re going to engage with followers. Shenker suggests posting infographics, images and videos, “shout outs” of related brands, interesting and fun facts and recipes, only about 20% of your content should be new and photos about your products and venues, deals, and contests. Measure your results so you’ll know what to change and what to work on.