• Camilla Gould

Why Bars and Restaurants should use Social Media to their advantage

Updated: Jul 3

Leveraging social media to maximise your audience reach and footfall potential is no longer an opt-in alternative for modern businesses, and this applies to restaurants, wine bars and pubs alike. A quick search for #Food and #Drinks on social media will turn up 200 million and 23 million results, respectively, and with data suggesting that up to 88% of people are influenced by reviews and comments that they see online, updating your digital strategy should be a top priority for business owners.

Set Up Your Channels

An imperative first step in taking control of your digital footprint is ensuring that all of your ducks are neatly in a row. This means taking things back to basics by deciding which channels you want to be present on, and how they are going to look.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all key channels, each offering a slightly different approach to connecting a brand with its fans. Facebook and Twitter lend themselves extremely well to the customer service arm of social media, allowing you to communicate directly with your audience, as well as sharing and engaging with positive (and negative) feedback. Instagram offers you the opportunity to showcase your menu with stunning photos and descriptive captions.

Once you have finalised your decision on which channels you’ll be using, make sure that they are all set up to accurately reflect your business. Your description and profile image should be the same, if not cohesive, across all channels. You should also double check that all of your business details are correctly filled in. Add telephone numbers, addresses, and booking request details, opening hours and anything else that your prospective customers would like to know, to ensure that your followers have a seamless and easy experience.

Create Engaging Content

Once your channels are all set up, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to present your establishment to the world. As well as taking some time to think about the aesthetic of your social media channels, do also pay attention to the tone of your content and the type of language that you want to use, which will help to ensure that your messaging and language is consistent and fit for purpose. This will also give your channels their own personality, reflecting the same experience that your customers would should they be at your restaurant.

You will need to produce high quality, engaging and regular content with a purpose in order to build up momentum and keep your followers engaged. Using your social media channels as a shop window of sorts, will encourage new customers to pay you a visit, as long as you make it attractive to them. Furthermore, this is where you can push promotional offers, competition announcements and events to ensure maximum participation and gather feedback.

Taking advantage of existing features, such as Instagram and Facebook Stories, gives you a unique opportunity to showcase any behind the scenes action to your fans in digestible clips. This gives a more approachable and authentic feel to your channels, which is particularly crucial for attracting those all-important Millennials.

The most important thing to remember when creating content for your channels is to accurately reflect your business, its personality, mood and specialities. If you do this correctly, you will be appealing to exactly the kind of customer who will enjoy spending their money at your restaurant or bar.

Interact With Your Audience

Now your channels are set up and you’re pushing out great content, you can sit back and relax, right? Not exactly…

Posting updates is, of course, a key element of social media, however another aspect of successful social media accounts is one that is often overlooked. Engaging with your followers in a meaningful and productive manner is a way to supercharge your customer service relationship. This means acknowledging the good with the bad. Dealing with negative reviews in a timely and fashion not only appeases the customer making a complaint but is an indication to other users that as a brand, you are willing to work towards a solution should something not be quite right.

Overall, social media should be a fun and rewarding way to communicate with and learn from your customer base, and when done correctly, can encourage new customers to come through the doors. If you’re looking to take your social channels to the next level, get in touch to see how we can help with a bespoke strategy.

Not sure how to keep your followers engaged in the long term? Check out our Virgin Startup blog here.

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