5 Ways to Engage Your Customers Digitally as a Bar or Restaurant
Isn’t your business tweeting, liking, posting or Instagramming? Then you’re missing out on a plethora of online opportunities. Any restaurant worth their salt (or bar worth their kegs) is using social media and a host of other digital options available to promote their brand, business and events online.
So how does your bar or restaurant fit into the online equation? Here we run down the list of what you should be doing to successfully engage your customers digitally as a bar or restaurant.
1. Find your social media niche
Not all social media and digital platforms will meet the needs of your bar or restaurant. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options, but unless you have something particular in mind you may want to start with some of the bigger players. That way you aren't spreading yourself to thin.
Focus on what your business's personality is and how you want to interact with your customers. If you run a fun-driven student hangout, then you'll want to make sure you're up on the most current social platforms and are posting fun stuff regularly. This could mean weekend photos on Instagram or even a funny Vine. If your restaurant is putting out some gourmet feasts, then add a few pics to Pinterest.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any of the countless other social channels online, finding and using the right platform for your business lets you engage with the right people, in the right way.
2. Blog to success
If you’re passionate about your business, a blog is a fantastic way to shout about it. Images, videos, articles or anything else you care to put together are all good options to post on your blog.
The real point of having a blog is to give your business a voice. While the rest of your website is about giving your visitors information, your blog can effectively be about anything. Write about past events and promote future ones. Write about the history of beer. Write fun articles that engage your target audience and their interests. Start a conversation and see where it takes you. Just make sure it’s linked to your business.
Opening up a blog means opening up your business to your customers; giving it a personality and a human touch. People respond well to this if done right. Just be aware that a blog is a platform for your business and not personal views, so make sure you don't get carried away with your own agenda if it is in conflict with your businesses interests.
3. Build and use your marketing list
A marketing list is an extremely valuable thing for any business wanting to reach out to customers, letting them know about changes in your bar or restaurant or upcoming events. You can provide them with newsletters or special offers, enticing them into coming to your business more often.
Used correctly, a marketing list can work wonders for a business' marketing efforts. Abuse a marketing list, and you'll find yourself becoming more of an annoyance to customers quickly being turned off of your business. The simple rules to a marketing list is to only send information to customers who opt-in, only send valuable content and don't overdo it.
Follow these general rules and a marketing list can quickly become a mainstay of your digital customer engagement. MailChimp is an excellent option available for automating your mailing list practices.
4. Advertise the right way
Advertising seems like an easy go to for promoting your business online, but with so many options available you might find yourself at a loss. From Facebook advertising to Instagram, Google AdWords and Bing Ads there are plenty of platforms, and this is before you consider the type of adverts you want to use.
Forget that for now though. If you’re going to advertise online, the first question isn’t "which platform to use?" it's "who am I targeting?" Knowing your target audience is first and foremost, and if you’ve spent any time in your business you should have a good idea of who this is.
Once you know who you’re trying to attract, then you can find the advertising option which best fits your needs. There is plenty of information available online on the top advertisers, so take time to do a little research.
5. Stay engaged
With any of these online efforts, you want your customers to engage with you. However, it’s equally important that you engage with them. If you’re going to run a blog, social media, email lists, etc. then you’re going to have to be prepared for customers to reach back to you via these platforms.
Make sure that you have the time and capabilities to interact with your customers on all of your social and digital platforms. Make sure that you respond in good time and maintain a particular 'company voice' throughout.
If you’re accessible to your customers, then you will find that your customers respond in kind. By using even a small cross-section of the digital options available to you, you’ll already be outdoing a large portion of your competitors and giving potential customers the motivation to choose your bar or restaurant for their next event or night out.