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How to use social media to your advantage

There are over 23 million posts on social media tagged with #drink and over 200 million tagged with #food.  It is clear from these numbers that social media has hugely influenced the food and drink industry with users constantly posting photos and reviews online for all to see. With 88% of consumers being influenced by reviews and comments on social media, having a social media strategy is going to be of utmost importance to your venue. By using social media platforms efficiently you can increase footfall to your venue and as a result increase revenue.

Deciding which platforms to use 

This is the first step to enhancing your venue through social media, there are a huge amount of platforms available with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat being at the forefront of the social media scene!  You may decide to use one or two or all of them and whichever option you do choose it is important to optimise the social media platforms functions to get the best out of it for your venue

  1. Facebook – Facebook allows venues to create their own pages and offers an easy way to input all of your relevant information from opening hours, address and contact details. Furthermore there is a messaging service in which customers can get in contact with you instantly and a “book now” function for if your venue accepts reservations. As well as all of these capabilities, Facebook provides venues with a platform to share blogs, images, articles, reviews and is a good way to host competitions and advertise events that you may be having in the venue. Facebook is a catch all platform with a huge amount of features and if used effectively can really increase awareness about your venue!
  2. Instagram – A favourite among bloggers and social media enthusiasts at the moment, instagram will give your venue the opportunity to give visual images of all things good about your venue, from images of the venue, to food and drink, customers and staff! By uploading images to this platform not only does it give your customers a glimpse into what you’re all about but with the use of hashtags you can drive more potential customers to your account, posts from Instagram can also be linked to your facebook and twitter accounts making it even more convenient for you to share content with your customers!
  3. Twitter – Twitter allows you to share messages 140 characters at a time, and while it may seem very short it will encourage you to get creative and straight to the point with your tweets.  Twitter is widely used by venues using witty and thought provoking tweets, tweets about updates or news or sharing photos. Because the word count is so low customers won’t be bogged down reading long winded posts and will be able to get quick and relevant information about your venue!

Post at optimal times for your venue

Nobody wants to be reading about or looking at images of alcohol at 9am on a monday morning so deciding when the best time for you to share content about your venue is vitally important yet it is usually overlooked! Timing is everything when it comes to social media, using facebook you can see the times there tends to be the most traffic to your page and you can use these statistics to target your customers with posts about offers, promotions and try to entice customers to your venue with images of drinks and food. 

Common times where venues get optimum results from sharing on social media are Wednesdays around lunchtime that targets the midweek after work drinkers and Thursdays and Fridays for the weekend. Giving customers sufficient time between seeing your posts for specific offers and events is vital, not too long from the event or offer where customers may forget about it and not too close where customers won’t have time to make plans for it in advance, of course there will always be those who will see a post last minute and be enticed to go. Boosting posts and having sponsored posts for bigger events is always recommended as they reach a larger audience! 

Use location based advertising to your advantage 

Location based advertising can be used to control when people see your Ads, usually within a certain radius. Facebook provides the ability for venues to target specific locations, this means that when a customer who is on facebook walks past or is in a specific location they will be welcomed by a Facebook Ad for your venue. This has proved to be hugely successful as it is a less aggressive form of using social media and if a customer sees something they like this increases the likelihood of increasing footfall to your venue. 

Pair up with social media influencers for a collaboration 

Social media influencers have hugely increased over the last year or two from beauty and fitness to food and drinks. These influencers have a huge following, some even have hundreds of thousands of people following their daily lives. By pairing up with some of these you are raising the awareness of your venue ten fold! Influencers of note in Ireland would be James Kavanagh, Rob Kenny and DJ/Comedian/Chef Marcus O’ Laoire who is currently doing campaigns with Strong Roots and their frozen food products. By getting creative you can cause enough of a stir to get your venue noticed! These influencers are in high demand so entice them to your venue by offering exclusive meals or a curated experience or take it to the next level and create a collaborative menu item for example “The James Kavanagh Gin Experience” cocktail that is available for a limited time. 

Analyse your strategy 

Use trial and error to decide what strategies best suit your specific venue, where one platform or certain aspect of social media may work for one venue, it doesn’t necessarily mean it may work well for yours. Only you will know what works best for your venue so through analysing the different approaches you take you can best decide what works and what does not work!