Now that people can connect to the internet almost anywhere they go, more and more of your guests will want your Wi-Fi password simply to upload photos to Facebook of themselves having a great time at your pub, or to write a tweet that ends with a #GreatHoliday hashtag!
But, what exactly is social media?
Since two of the most popular sites are Facebook and Twitter, social media is a place where friends talk to each other online, sharing photos and posts about what they’re currently doing.
With so many people on social media these days, it’s no surprise that lots of brands want to jump right into the middle of the conversations happening on there. Once you have a fan base, social media can be a great way to publicise your business to new customers, as well as keeping in contact with existing customers too.
But when setting up social media profiles from scratch, how can you begin to reach out to the right people and channel their initial interest into actual engagement?
Before delving into how to start up a social media account for your business, it’s good to know what the benefits are. For starters, it’s a great way to meet potential customers! Someone might see your establishment pop up on a friend’s newsfeed, and then head over to your page where they can get to know you and your business better.
You can also give existing fans and customers better experiences, from answering a question they may have in a matter of moments, to enticing them to visit your pub; this might involve organising a competition and asking them to take part online!
It can be easier than you might think to create a fan base on social media. For starters, it’s definitely an advantage to get a few fans to help get the ball rolling. For example, ask friends, family and staff to like your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter. If you have an e-mail newsletter, or any other method to keep in touch with your guests, why not include your address on Facebook/Twitter in your next e-newsletter and ask them to click on the link and follow you on there too? Be sure to include your social media pages on your business cards, too!
Do not try to sell
It has long been proven that ‘selling’ posts on social media will achieve a much lower level of engagement than ‘conversational’ posts.
Imagine your social media as an extension of your pub – think of the conversations that happen around the bar and make your content as similar to that as possible. The more fun and topical your content is, the more likely followers will be to engage with the content, and the wider your reach will be.
Facebook even has an algorithm that will suppress posts it believes are trying to sell, reducing its visibility unless you pay to promote.
Content is king
Once you’ve got your first few fans (congratulations!), you can begin to encourage them to get to know your business better, as well as start looking to increase your fan base. To do this, you’ll need to start creating engaging and shareable content for social media profiles. Photos are a great place to start, showcasing the beauty of your establishment and the area around it, or even a selection of mouth-watering dishes from your menu.
Adding photos to your Facebook posts has been proven to encourage more users to like or share your posts. This means that when someone shares your photo, all their friends will see it too. If other users see your business and its surroundings in all their glory, their friends might see the photos and decide that they’d like to come and see it for real!
But not everything you post has to be image-based. You can simply use social media to publicise deals you currently have on; half-price breakfast, anyone? Try to not over-do this, however, and always make them interesting for people to read.
Also, you can directly encourage users to engage with you, for example by posing questions such as: “If you could add one dish to our menu, what would it be?” When a user replies, you can then reply to them and thank them for their input. This helps users to build trust with your brand, and recreate a human interaction in an online setting.
Another good idea is to set up competitions on your social media profiles. This could be anything you like – a half price weekend stay for example! The prize of the competition is completely up to you- you’ll have to gauge the price of the prize against how many entries you think you’ll receive. For example, do you offer the expensive prize of a two-night stay to lure in as many entries as you can? Or do you offer 50% off afternoon tea for example, as an inexpensive option?
Social media is a great way to put your pub in front of more and more people every day, from both Britain and further afield. It’s also the perfect place to get chatting to your guests before they arrive and keep in touch with them after they’ve had a great stay!
Need more help?
Inapub offer a range of products and training services designed to help licensees learn more about how to make the best of your social media. To find out more visit www.inapub.co.uk/products and www.inapub.co.uk/pubsgetonline.