Making Social Media Work For You

Pierrick Bouquet InstagramBar and nightclub owners are constantly looking for ways to engage potential guests. Once they get them in the establishment, it’s easy to promote drink and food specials, but it’s getting guests there that is the hard part.

Social media is an efficient outlet for bars and clubs to seek new customers while encouraging loyal ones to return. It’s another avenue for owner, Pierrick Bouquet, president of Able, a food and wine digital marketing company.

Indeed, social media marketing goes beyond having a website. That’s no longer enough, Bouquet says. “You need a platform to get people talking,” he says, advocating the use of Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare. Ideally, a strong social media campaign will give the brand visibility to the world. But social media is just one branch under the marketing umbrella that includes advertising, TV and even flyers. Most owners know by now that engaging clients through social media is beneficial to bottom-line goals, but it takes a strong strategy.

Owners need to constantly create content, Bouquet says, including adding photos, interviews, videos and witty captions online. Because customers are more inclined to check social networks, owners should hit on all their senses.

First and foremost, being visual is key, he says. No longer can an owner get away with a strategy that doesn’t include visual elements; photos or videos posted to Instagram. “People have very short attention spans on social media,” he says, and a video clip and image are ways to grab attention.

For example, Bouquet’s client focused on Instagram to drive experience at the restaurant. A note added to the menu encourages customers to share photos on Instagram of their food and drinks, using the restaurant’s name as a hashtag, for a chance to get the photo on the website. The website is “a wall of pictures taken by people, reflecting the customer’s experience at the restaurant,” he says.

In addition, Foursquare can also continue the conversation. If a person “checks in” using the smartphone application, it shows they’re proud to be part of the establishment’s brand, and owners should capitalize on that. Bouquet encourages his clients to respond to every Foursquare “check in,” adding that a small “Thank You” is a big plus for businesses.

With social media, owners can make the customers part of the experience and conversation beyond their time at the restaurant, he adds.

Indeed, even a video on Instagram has to look professional, he says. Because Instagram allows only 15-second video clips, an owner may think that it doesn’t take much to record and post on the photo-sharing social network. However, Bouquet says that’s not the case. For example, if an owner wants to post a video of a mixologist creating the night’s signature drink, the video probably shouldn’t be taken on a smartphone. Instead, “hire a team to create a video that can be edited down to 15-seconds,” he says.

It’s not just pictures and videos that matter, he says, text is also important. The text component shouldn’t be more than two lines and should capture people’s attention. “Sometimes it’s more difficult than writing a whole paragraph,” he says.

If all those things come together, owners will see a return on investment.  “The online world is getting crowded, and you need to stand out by investing money in creating good content, videos and pictures.”

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