The new year is a prime time to refocus and re-evaluate your business, and the one area that should be top of your list is social media.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a corner café, a busy pub or top class restaurant, you should be posting and tweeting regularly. Whether you’re a Twitter expert or a Facebook novice, Take Stock is here to help you get social.
Social media is an invaluable and important tool for your business. Not only does it build brand awareness, but it enables you to engage directly with regular and new customers. What’s more, the research suggests that it’s only going to get more popular. According to Ofcom, 60% of social media users visit sites daily, and e-marketer predicts that this year 50% of all adults with a mobile device will access social media whilst out and about. And consumer research by Allegra Foodservice shows that social media is having a much higher influence on consumers’ choice of
where to eat with 40% of those surveyed saying a restaurant’s tweets and posts were what persuaded them to choose that establishment.
Set a strategy
Social media is all about engaging, contributing and sharing. Set firm goals about what you want to say, who you want to target, how often you want to post and ultimately what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to boost sales in quiet periods, set posts the day before and again on the day that advertise two for one meals or happy hour at the bar. If you want customer interaction, start a conversation openly asking for feedback and include a hashtag to help your followers join in.
Social media never sleeps
You need to decide who will manage your social media and make sure it’s regularly updated. Your sites have to be active 24/7 and you need to respond within a suitable time frame – positive or negative. If it’s too much for you or an employee, or just sounds plain scary, you can go on a training course to get your ‘social’ head on or use a specialised agency so you don’t have to worry about it. “Social media is another tool in
your box of promotional tricks,” explains Vicky McNeill, social media expert at the fabl, a content marketing agency. “Look at how your competitors are using social media. Talk to customers about how they like to use it – for reservations, to find opening times or special
offers, or embedded booking apps that allow ‘one click’ reservations. But most of all it’s about keeping the conversation open between you and your customers.”
Budget for it
When deciding on and budgeting for your advertising, PR and other promotional activity, you need to cost in social media – primarily a time cost for tweeting, updating your Facebook page and your Pinterest or Instagram (both great for posting pictures of scrummy meals). You may also want to consider promoting your posts or advertising on social channels – this can be cost effective and highly targeted to your audience.
Proven to work
Cucumber Catering in Kent, puts a lot of its success down to social media marketing, in particular on Facebook. Managed by IMM UK a social media agency, they have seen their ‘likes’ increase by 300% in just two years. Kajal Menta, account manager at IMM UK gives the following advice. “The first thing to realise is that it doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be worked on frequently and be genuinely interesting. Integrate Facebook with Twitter and you’ll be surprised how it grows.”
• Make sure your content is relevant
• Don’t shy away from negative feedback – engage with the poster, and if you can, take the conversation out of the public sphere
• Be succinct, friendly and conversational
• Shorten links using bitly or other tools – it saves space and looks neater. Bitly also allows you to track engagement
• Mix written content with videos and photos
• Retweet and share other’s content, interact and respond to tweets that interest you
• Ask questions and seek input from your customers
• Be timely – be ahead for Valentine’s, Easter and other special occasions
• Post opening times and promotions, invitations to events and run competitions
• Encourage people to ‘check in’ at your establishment