Today is #SocialMedia day. A day when everyone who works with, dabbles in, or otherwise uses social media in some quasi-professional way celebrates this marketing tool in any way possible.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Heck, I’m even doing it right now. With this post. Because social media encompasses more than the top few platforms most people are clamoring on. Here is a small list of social media tools people use on a daily basis. Let’s see how many you think of as “social media”.
- Email Newsletters
And depending on where you live in the world, there are even more than those! So what does this mean for you, oh intrepid restaurant and bar owner? I’m glad you asked.
First, were there any surprises in that list? Maybe Reddit, email newsletters, or blogs? Yeah, that happens a lot. Some people aren’t aware that some platforms are actually considered social media. But they do fall under the umbrella.
My Head Is Spinning
Second, with so many platforms, where do you start? What should you use? Try not to be terribly overwhelmed. You definitely do NOT need to be on all these platforms. Just a few should be fine. As a restaurant or bar, here is a suggestion of platforms you should be on.
- Facebook – Everyone is here. No, really. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. You must be here to be able to reach your guests. It is the most used platform. And the tools it provides, from regular posts to special pages to events to advertising, you really must be here.
- Twitter – This is debatable, but I’ll include it. Really watch your analytics to make sure this is the place for you. If nothing else, you should be using it for keeping up with trends and what the alcohol brands are doing (they’re all over this bad boy).
- Instagram – Oh, yeah. For sure you should be here. Every day you should be posting pictures of your food, your cocktails, your kitchen, your ambiance, your crew hard at work. This is where you can get super creative. You can even share a video. You should be using hashtags and, at least with cocktails, be tagging any brand that is used in the recipe. (More about this another time)
- Yelp – Of course you should be here. If you don’t claim your site here and keep up with it, you can be sure there will be people talking about you here. If there are people giving you bad reviews, you will want to manage that. You can’t take down those reviews, but you can answer them and take the conversation offline. People do use this app for checking out restaurants before they go. They look for other patrons’ opinions, your hours of service, and your menu.
- Newsletter – Surprise! Yes, you should have an email newsletter you send out monthly. The reason why is more simple than you might imagine. You have no control over social media platforms. If they shut down or completely change their service model, you have no recourse. With a newsletter, your guests and those interested in your restaurant will sign up. That list isn’t going anywhere. It is yours. Even if the email client shut down, you would be given enough notice to get your list and be able to send from your own email address. You own that list. (What you send to recipients is for a future post.)
That’s pretty much it for where you should be. Simple, right? I mean, there may be a few other platforms you might want to try, like Pinterest if you want to post recipes or if you cater a great deal. Snap(chat) might be a good choice if your crowd is younger and you have maybe live music or the like. But whatever you use, it has to make sense for you and your venue.
I Don’t Know Where To Start!
I know, I get it. It seems so overwhelming. But you just have to start. I would suggest your first two platforms should be Facebook and Yelp. Facebook because of the sheer reach it has, and (did I say?) everyone is on it. Yelp because you may already have reviews over there that haven’t been addressed (eek!).
Once you get these two platforms under control, then consider adding in Instagram and possibly Twitter or Snap(chat). Walk before you run is the safest bet.
Lastly, add in your email newsletter (don’t forget this one!) and potentially Pinterest. The email is important, the Pinterest only if it truly makes sense.
As for managing the process, use a tool like Hootsuite. This allows you to post from one single place. You add your social media accounts to it and write your posts, tag your people, upload your images, and schedule all in one place. Being able to schedule in advance when possible means you won’t go a day without something posting. And that’s important (again, more coming soon.)
What are you waiting for? Get out there! Get going on social media! If you need help, there are plenty of people who can do that (like me!) But don’t wait. At least get a page on Facebook and claim your location in Yelp. And see where you go from there. Watch here for more information real soon.