Summer is here and the living - should you be lucky enough to be doing business in a resort or vacation community - may be easy. However, your venue may be located in a city or a college town and the weekends have suddenly become lonely and sad, as your regular customers escape to the shore, the mountains or other places with umbrella drinks. If you’re busy, summer is a great time to capture memories via social media and keep the buzz alive into the fall and winter. If you’re slow, use the time to learn more about digital marketing and plan your strategy for the months ahead. Here are five tips that will keep your business hot this summer.
1. Give your menu a summer makeover
Add something fun and seasonal to the menu, take colorful pictures and post them on Instagram. New York City’s Eataly recently unveiled a collaboration on social media between their restaurant Manzo and local fishermen called Dock to Dish. The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, NY posts appetizing photos of their latest seasonal menu items with witty captions for big results. One post of a pork belly smothered in cheese and maple syrup on a house-made biscuit generated more than 500 LIKES, a record for this small bar and restaurant.
2. Target specific groups
Many parents become temporary empty-nesters when their kids go off to summer camp. Think about hosting a “Hooray – the kids are gone!” evening. Post it on local parenting sites and get the word out to mom bloggers. If your establishment is slow in the summer, create special summer-themed events like the popular Manhattan speakeasy Death & Co. It is one of several bars that partnered with a non-profit for a refreshing campaign – $1 from every Negroni during Negroni Week benefitted Inspire Artistic Minds.
3. Run a Contest
Offering a contest that asks people to comment, Like, Share or Retweet is a great way to boost engagement. You can also use a contest to drive traffic to your website. The restaurant chain Zoup! launched a summer contest that encouraged people to share their best chilled soup recipes on their website. By promoting the contest on social media and driving traffic to the website, Zoup! increased both engagement and web traffic. Or, find a role for your establishment to play in someone else’s contest, like Yonkers Brewing Company recently did with the Journal-News’ “Hippest Town” contest. The bar and restaurant hosted the event and played a role throughout in urging their customers to vote.
4. Photo booths are a great way to capture and share summer fun
Provide an incentive for your visitors to share your bar or club with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by offering them the use of a photo booth. These booths are more varied and sophisticated than ever before, giving your guests a simple and fun way to capture memories created inside your venue. There is, of course, the benefit of your guests posting these photos to social media and tagging your venue.
5. Interns abound in the summer months
Consider bringing in a temporary SWAT team to help with local guerilla marketing, social media, or even idea generation. Sometimes spectacular concepts come from the “mouths of babes.” This is also an excellent way to bolster your relationship with the community.
These ideas can heat up your thinking and serve as a catalyst for your own summer spectacular! Be sure to take into account who your customers are, how they spend the season and what social media outlets they use to learn about hot deals and news. You’ll be basking in success in no time – in the summer and beyond!
Nancy Shenker and Brittany Oat will dive deeper into effective social media strategies during their workshop at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show. Check www.ncbshow.com for updates on the 2016 conference program.