Social media has had an immense impact on the catering world as a direct follow on from the impact it has had on the wider world and society.
Business owners are often afraid of doing social media ‘wrong’ and avoid it or alternatively try to have a presence on every social media platform whether that is right for their business or not, or make the fatal mistake of entrusting its management to a junior member of staff.
When used correctly, social media is simply a tremendous tool and businesses really can reap the rewards. Active social media accounts help build a brand and not only that, have the ability to attract new and returning customers.
Alexei Lee, head of social and PR at digital marketing agency Fat Media, believes there are several ways businesses can improve their social media and avoid making fatal errors.
He said: “Social media can be quite simple but it is often overthought. Users should break things down and by asking questions before activity such as, how will this activity support my core business and marketing strategies? Who is my target audience and where do they hang out online? and what do I want my brand’s voice to sound like? Business owners can then establish the what, where and how of a social media strategy.
“A strong understanding of how social media will support business and marketing objectives (sales targets, product launches and other key developments), as well and who is being targeted with this activity and what content will interest them, is crucial.
“A tone of voice for the brand’s social media presence should be agreed upon, so messaging and content reflects the brand’s online personality and is consistent with its target audience.”
Below are Alexei’s top tips for social media:
- Timing is everything – work out the best time to post – if your venue doesn’t open until 7pm, you’re unlikely to get much traction on a post about cocktails at 9am! Scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffr are an easy way to plan your schedule, plus they can even recommend the best time to post based on the engagement generated by your previous activity.
- Share user-generated content – has a customer shared a photo of a delicious dessert or refreshing drink? Sharing that with your followers is the ultimate authentic review, and a nice way to thank that guest for their engagement with your brand.
- Respond and engage – the clues in the name, your profile is a place to be sociable. Asking questions of your audience, and replying to theirs is a must. Facebook even publishes how quickly you respond to direct messages, so while it can be difficult to reply instantly, the sooner you can the better – even if it is just to say that you’ll look into their request and get back to them.
- Reward your followers – give something back to your audience with exclusive deals or competitions which are only publicised on your social profiles. We have seen particular success in this area by using online games. Short, addictive games such as memory puzzles or spin-the-wheel luck games not only grab the attention of your audience, but can reward a lucky few with a treat of your choice. It has never been harder to stand out on social media, and this is a great way to do so.
- Show off your staff – behind-the-scenes shots of your team at work is a great way to celebrate their contribution to every guest’s experience. Many customers won’t ever consider the many details that go into their visit, and seeing it will naturally increase their appreciation of your brand.
Alexei Lee, head of social and PR at digital marketing agency Fat Media