Social media has undergone a shift towards the visual. At one time, blogs ruled the primitive social media landscape. Then MySpace and Facebook came along and ushered in an entirely new era, essentially shrinking blog posts to status updates or posts. Twitter entered the picture and further streamlined social media as know it, limiting posts to 140 characters. Now we’ve entered the visual age of social media, with Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine and Snapchat leading the way.
We know that managing your business’ social media presence across so many platforms can be overwhelming. You’re expected to be masters of Facebook and Twitter already, and you have Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine and Snapchat to add to your arsenal of marketing weaponry. In an attempt to make it easier for you to get started on visual platforms, we brought in Debbie Miller, owner of Social Hospitality.
Instagram & Pinterest
Two of the most popular visual social media platforms are Instagram and Pinterest. Instagram is a social sharing site focused on pictures and short video clips whereas Pinterest is all about discovery. Pinterest is also much more popular among women than men. In fact, according to a Business Insider Intelligence report, women are 4 times more likely to use Pinterest. One of the largest opportunities on the platform is recipes; users are constantly sharing photos of meals and cocktails. According to that same BI Intelligence report, Pinterest is popular across age brackets and the users are among the wealthiest consumers. The time and effort spent managing a profile and interacting with users should provide a healthy ROI. Pinterest also offers your online footprint SEO benefits. Include a “pin it” button on your website, pages and photos, and ensure the meta content is complete and optimal. When people pin your content it will increase your SEO rank, making it easier for people to discover your business.
Instagram’s greatest opportunity appears to be in its use of hashtags. These basically serve as a search engine and help you to become discoverable to your followers’ networks. So, how should you use hashtags? Use common hashtags that are commonly used by people searching on Instagram for pictures of parties, events, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Another way to engage your followers and guests (and ultimately become more discoverable) is to encourage them to check in whenever they visit your venue. Of course, Instagram’s check-in feature also helps to make you even more discoverable as your business’ location will pop in your guests’ network. To take some of the guess work out of what sorts of photos to post, here’s a list Debbie suggests: photos of your posters, banners, and newsletters, pictures of groups of attractive men and women at your venue, DJs, live bands, dancers, bartenders, people attending your events, winners of your contests, your VIP rooms (if you have any), photos of your featured, specialty and signature drinks, your menus, themes, lights, and the exterior and interior of your place. To engage with your followers, like their photos and thank them for coming to your venue, posting about your business, and sharing your photos. You should also consider Instagram promotions such as “like” to win, hashtag, geo-location, photo, and Instagram Direct (e.g., first 10 followers to comment on a photo get a promo code sent to them via private/direct message) contests.
Vine & YouTube
Vine is a video-sharing app owned by Twitter. The videos are short and played on a loop, so creative users can produce interesting stop-motion clips and loops. They also provide bar, restaurant and nightclub operators an excellent way to promote entertainment, take followers behind the scenes, show off cocktail builds, educate, and engage followers in conversation.
In contrast, YouTube, as you must already know, allows for either short or very long videos. Operators can easily come up with detailed behind-the-scenes videos of their venues, performances by DJs, live bands and other entertainers, regular bartending and cooking education videos, create video playlists, and much more (get creative!). YouTube also happens to be the second largest search engine, processing over 3 billion searches every month. Savvy operators will see the potential in maintaining a YouTube channel for their business in order to become discovered by potential guests. To brand your YouTube page, use a cover photo and logo which is consistent with the look and feel of your other social media profiles. Debbie pro tip: Use thorough descriptions for videos to increase SEO rank.
We’re certain you’ve heard of Snapchat, the video and photo app with the claim to fame that user content disappears after it’s posted. Many brands have developed ways to use this app for marketing. Some use it for contests, setting up handles (usernames) for photo contests. Followers send a photo to the specific handle and receive a “snap” in return which contains a coupon. Of course, they’ll need to show that coupon within an allotted amount of time since it disappears. Some brands, like Taco Bell, have used Snapchat to alert loyal followers to new products before promoting them via more mainstream channels, creating a sense of exclusivity. Businesses can also take advantage of the phenomenon of FOMO (fear of missing out), snapping event photos to entice followers to attend their events.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about social media platforms and marketing at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Use discount code SAVE30BARNEWS to receive $30 off any Nightclub & Bar Show pass when registering!