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As a pub, bar, café or restaurant, it’s important to stay relevant. Marketing is the obvious way to do this, ensuring that your business remains visible and at the forefront of people’s minds. But just as your business needs to stay relevant, so too do the marketing means by which you advertise it.
Social media marketing is in a constant state of flux. As with anything new and exciting, there’s bound to be endless trial and error before anyone stumbles upon even a hazy formula for success. For those that are marketing their hospitality business on social media, the best that you can do is keep an eye on the latest trends and take those on board that are most applicable to you.
So what are the latest trends in hospitality social media marketing?
The (Social) Celebrity Chef
Celebrity chefs have taken over many of the world’s TV screens in the last few years, trading the heat and intensity of the kitchen for the heat and intensity of the limelight. The devout following that their celebrity status offers has allowed many of them to leverage their own name with often stunning results.
But this celebrity chef phenomenon need not be confined to the small screen. A chef (or indeed a mixologist or barista) can develop their own following purely through the creative use of social media. If your establishment markets your chef/bartender/barista well enough, the resultant loyal supporter base – even if it’s just a couple of thousand people – can have dinner guests lining up down the street!
Less Is More
There was a thought not so long ago that social media quantity was the key to success. And Facebook’s earlier algorithms certainly agreed – there were no real relevance or quality standards that went into constructing a user’s news feed, it was simply a matter of chronologically displaying posted content.
With the algorithms of all social media platforms becoming more and more focused on quality and relevancy, it’s now far wiser to focus on producing quality posts. This may mean that you post less, but your viewing and engagement numbers will be all the better for it.
Constructing a Narrative
Sure, you can use your establishment’s social accounts to broadcast the daily specials or post pics of your latest and greatest creations. But this sort of content isn’t exactly going to form a long-lasting bond between you and your customer base. In order to create return customers who feel invested in your brand, it is far more effective to construct a narrative.
Telling a story about how your shop is run, your sponsorship of a local event, or even the hopes and dreams of your staff members can all contribute to creating a narrative that draws new customers in and gets past customers returning.
The narrative could even form the backbone of your greater marketing efforts and business strategy, such as a “paddock to plate” model. The great thing about constructing a narrative is that you don’t have to work particularly hard to come up with new content; it happens very organically.
User Generated Content
But what’s better than having social media content that feels as though it’s generated organically? Social media content that you don’t have to generate at all! While the idea of user generated content (UGC) has been around for a little while, it continues to gather steam as one of the most efficient and effective social media marketing tools available.
Most diners don’t need much encouragement to post to social media. A well plated main or an elaborate cocktail is often more than enough to get those fingers firing. So by placing signs with your establishment’s Instagram hashtag or Twitter handle you can collate a spectacular array of free content from your patrons to do with what you wish. If they need a little encouragement, a simple “upload a photo with the Instagram hashtag #Cafe43 for a free coffee” will be more than enough to get people posting.
Trends by their very nature come and go. With that in mind, those listed here may be totally irrelevant in years to come. But for those in the hospitality industry interested in pushing the social media envelope in the interim, they are trends that are well worth noting.