Welcome back for our second installment in our series entitled Social Media Marketing. In part two we are going to focus on bars and restaurants. Before I begin however, I would like to remind everyone reading, that Socialization of business requires new doorways for businesses and customers to connect in places where walls once stood.
Social Media Marketing is quickly becoming the foundation for bars and restaurants to build business. It’s no longer enough to just have great food, fancy drinks, or a pretty hostess. I want you to think about any bar or restaurant that you have gone to in your lifetime. I’m willing to bet the ones were you’ve spent the most time, and money for that matter, where the ones where you had become friendly with the staff. Obviously you are going to feel more loyal and comfortable with someone you consider a friend then some total stranger. What Social Media can do for you is make it so that instead of you having dozens of friends you potentially have hundreds or even thousands of friends.
Now you must decide what networks to engage on and how. Multimedia is BIG so you’re going to want to make sure you have Flickr and YouTube accounts, show people how great of a time they will have if they come hang out at your bar or how good the food looks plated. Also integrate the images and videos from these sites with your other social networks to make sure as many people as possible see what you have to offer them. Another thing you may want look into are location base networks like Foursquare and Gowalla. You can run promotions that people who “check-in” at your establishment the most get a free meal or happy hour depending on the promotions you are looking to run. By “checking in” they tell all the people they are friends with they are at your bar or restaurant and they should come down and hang out with them. Your going to also want to either set up or claim your establishment on sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, and TripAdvisor. Once you do this ask your patrons to go on a write positive reviews highlighting what they like most about their experience.
With your blog you should have a head chef or bartender give them tips on how to prepare what would be their specialty dish or a signature drink. Also let them know if you are having any special events i.e. fundraisers. Showing that you give back always looks good no matter what industry you are in.
As far as the majors (Facebook and Twitter) you’re going to be able to use them for more than just posting and linking to blogs and websites. Imagine 6 months into your Social Media campaign that you’ve been such a success that your booked solid every Saturday for the next three months. Now lets assume that Mr. and Mrs. Jones have a babysitting emergency and have to cancel their 8:30 reservation at 7 pm. With Twitter and Facebook you can have a manager or hostess log on and announce the cancellation to the community, this is going to do three things for you. One it is going to fill the table, two it will engage your current audience and make them feel as though they are getting information not available without being a part of your community. Lastly it is going to grow your audience because when your fans and followers tell their friends about the update they will be sure to join the community so they don’t miss out the next time there’s a cancellation.
These are a few tips on how to improve your Social Media Marketing strategy if you are a bar or restaurant. Again, someone who does not have experience in this field who tries to implement these strategies may not succeed as other factors still go into running a successful Social campaign. As always you may want to look into hiring an outside consultant or agency if you are just getting started and not sure quite how to approach the world of Social Marketing.