We are at a difficult, pivotal moment in our industry and around the world.
How we all react during this time may have make-it-or-break-it consequences for our restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
I’ve been inspired by seeing so many people in the entertainment industry bringing forth their talents to share with the rest of the world, keeping spirits high and reminding people we are in this together.
This article is meant to provide you with a clear guide to keeping your social accounts active through the chaos. Following these simple ideas will save you time and assure you top-of-mind awareness for when we return to a state of normalcy.
Let’s Get Social
- Help your followers get to know your staff. Post a fun fact about your bartender, cook, host, managers, etc.
- Theme your days. #MusicMonday could include creating a Spotify and/or Apple Music playlist and updating it weekly with fan suggestions. You can request fans to share songs they’d like added to the playlist.
- Promote user-generated content. Ask your fans to share their selfies from your venue in their past visits. To push activity on the post, let them fill the comments with their photos. Gain more traction by offering to pick a winner and prize for a future visit.
- Offering takeout or delivery? If you’re set up to continue making revenue with takeout or delivery, promote it! Put a few ad dollars behind these posts so that you’re getting past the low organic reach and really getting the message out there.
- Don’t do takeout? Cross-promote by sharing a local restaurant’s take-out and/or delivery options.
- What’s cooking? Have your cook make a short video cooking at home. Share a recipe of a popular dish at your venue. Ask your followers to share a photo of what they’re making at home.
- Favorite cocktails. Ask your bartenders to create an image (or better yet a video) crafting their favorite cocktails. Include the recipe so your followers can recreate them at home and ask them to share photos of their home versions.
- Let’s go live. Your local DJ and bands are most likely already creating live content. Share their stream to your fan page.
- Contests are still gold. Have a trivia night with one posted question and have followers put their answers in the comments (or do a FB/IG Live), then pick a winner. Winner gets a gift card or prize for when you reopen.
- What are you watching? Ask people to share their favorite TV shows or movies, or anything they’ve watched lately.
- Are you watching too? Choose a viral Netflix show everyone is watching, e.g. Tiger King, and create a post with discussion questions for the comments.
- CONSISTENCY is KING! Be sure to people know when to expect your posts, and be consistent. If you’re posting your live DJ set Friday at 8:00 p.m., post every Friday at 8:00 p.m. Your following is desperate for content and wants to know when you’ll be posting.
- Make images simply. Use smartphone apps like Adobe Spark Post or InShot to create images quickly and easily right from your phone or tablet.
- Plan your posts. Use a social media calendar to plan your content at least two weeks ahead. This allows your employees to prepare content to be posted and will also allow for flexibility as the pandemic situation changes. Come up with a calendar and stick to it. Here's a sample:
- Music Mondays (post your playlist and ask for follower playlist recommendations)
- Trivia Tuesday (play together, Facebook Live or one post and pick a winner)
- What’s Cooking Wednesday (share recipes, go live and cook from at home, share videos)
- Throwback Thursday (post your selfie from past visits)
- Let’s Go Live Friday (set a solid schedule for sharing a stream, posting a mix from your local DJ, or featuring a local band)
- Screen Saturdays (Watching the same Netflix shows we are? Let’s watch and chat!)
Remember the over-arching idea during this time is that we’re all in this together. Make sure your posts fit within that concept.
Guests needs to stay home, and so do your bartenders, servers, hosts, managers, and other team members. With mandatory shutdowns being top of mind and apparently not going away any time soon, social media engagement is crucial during closure, particularly in anticipation of reopening.
Read this: How to Shut Down a Restaurant the Right Way
Don’t kill your algorithm-based reach and disappear from your guests and followers. If you do, it will be a lot tougher to regain organic reach and rebuild your traffic.
Louie La Vella is a renowned events marketing director with bar, nightclub and major festival clients around the globe. La Vella is also a speaker at the Nightclub & Bar Show and contributor to Bar & Restaurant. You can connect with La Vella online at louielavella.com and use the coupon code “NCB” for free access to his latest online course Event Boost as well as audiobook My Unfair Advantage at https://lavel.la/eventboost.