Social media in Hospitality
Social media is not just for teens and gratuitous selfie posting, and it’s much more than just another marketing medium. Actively incorporating social media to your promotional strategies can contribute to the successful growth of your business.
It’s called ‘social media’ for a reason
While a great website is essential to any business, it’s no longer enough. Customers want to engage with their favourite cafes, bars and restaurants through social media. In fact, a recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that nearly 80% of consumers would be more inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media.
Leveraging social media is an effective way to solicit endorsements, increase revenue per seat, build relationships, manage your reputation, attract customers, recruit employees, and get people talking about your business. But to really take advantage of the benefits and grow your digital presence, it’s crucial to join the conversation.
Reward customer loyalty
Companies can now use social media to cost effectively run their own promotions and devise more creative campaigns. New York style pizza company Sal’s Pizza has built a loyal following of almost 28,000 highly engaged Facebook fans by regularly running pizza-eating competitions and posting the winners as a way to promote the challenges and increase followers. Social media is also a great way to remind followers about weekly specials and offer discounts. For example, Sal’s Pizza posts specials on their Facebook page which sends customers to an external website to retrieve a deal, while Californian bakery chain Sprinkles Cupcakes sends daily promotional offers on Twitter by inviting customers to whisper a “password” to receive a free treat.
Let customers promote your business
Social media creates a mutually beneficial online relationship between your business and your customers. Encourage this by ensuring your company is a ‘place’ location in the category selections so that visitors’ check-ins show up in their friends’ newsfeeds. Likewise, identify your location on mobile app Foursquare and consider offering a special for check-ins or customers that achieve Mayor status. It is also useful to encourage reviews on neutral third-party sites such as Trip Advisor, Google and Yelp.
Social media can also assist your internal operations. Establishing a private Facebook group for your staff makes it easy to communicate with your team while helping improve camaraderie, job satisfaction and staff retention. You can also connect with new talent through social media. Auckland bar and bistro Chapel Bar posts employment opportunities on Facebook to help them find new staff.
Showcase your expertise
Multimedia is integral to social media and can allow you to position yourself as a leader. To demonstrate how powerful Blendtec’s blenders were, the head of marketing, George Wright, created videos showing the appliances churning up items such as a rotisserie chicken, a Rubik’s Cube, and an iPhone. The series went viral,receiving 100 million combined views and helping to boost Blendtec’s sales by 700 per cent. Whether your niche is cocktails or coffee, consider sharing a video on YouTube and across various social media to highlight your company’s best.
Asking for feedback on menu changes/additions or special events can help with future business plans while making your followers feel their opinions are valued. As with any good customer service it’s important to respond to all online feedback (positive and negative) in a friendly, professional manner. And if you’re looking to find out what people are saying about your business social media can also help. Look for mentions of your company on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp, or consider using applications such as Monitter and Trackur to help keep track of your reputation online.
Attract new customers with targeted advertising
Digital advertising and marketing can be cost effective and are extremely targeted. For example, Facebook advertising attracts specific groups of users based on what information they include in their profiles. A quick keyword search on Twitter can help you find prospective customers and generate leads.
Even the data gathered by mobile applications can give an insight into where your customers are and how often they visit. With Facebook Insights you can analyse your social media audience by age and gender, while Foursquare enables you to gather data on how many people visit your locations and send promotional offers to frequent customers.
Social media offers broad reach and an easy, low cost way to personally communicate with a target audience; it’s easy to see why it’s got hospitality businesses buzzing. Are you ready to join the conversation?