Keep reading if your marketing strategy is limited to billboards, radio ads, television commercials, and bus stop benches. It’s time to embrace the digital age. In the early 2010s, marketing on social media took off in a wild-west fashion that many marketers refused to embrace or even acknowledge as necessary. Still, in today’s world, it can’t be ignored.
With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and more dominating your audience's attention, there is no doubt that social media can help you acquire customers when leveraged effectively. Here are nine tips you should consider when maximizing your social media efforts.
Create a shareable experience
“If you have to tell them it’s a selfie station; it’s probably not a selfie station.” That’s what customer experience expert Dan Gingiss said about creating shareable experiences. We are in an industry that lends itself to naturally being the backdrop of selfies, group photos, and otherwise physical spaces worth capturing and showing others on our social media platforms.
Take a look through the lens of your guests at how guests perceive the visual and aesthetic nature of your facility. Is it worth capturing? If it is, you are built for user-generated content on social media. If it’s not, take a look at how you can boost this.
Leverage your existing guests
Gaining a social media following should start on site. However, as mentioned above, it isn’t just about telling people that they should follow you and post and use a specific hashtag. Instead, give them an incentive to follow your page, and make it easy to get there. For instance, place a QR code on your menus in your restaurant and offer an appetizer half price if they follow you on one of your accounts (see the next point for which accounts to be on).
Be where your guests are
Each social media platform caters to different demographics. While there is notable overlap across several platforms, not every piece of content should be geared toward everyone who you are trying to attract. If your core market is teenagers, be on Instagram and TikTok, whereas if your buyer is parents, focus more heavily on Facebook. This is beneficial to allocate your resources accordingly giving you insight into how you should tailor your content to make sure it resonates with your target audience.
Stop selling so hard
Wait. Isn’t this about using social media for customer acquisition? How can I do that if I’m not selling? That’s precisely the point. No one will want to follow your page or accounts if all you do is sell. If you think that posting a flier as an image on your Instagram will send in waves of guests, it won’t. Instead, get people excited about the idea of visiting you and seeing everything that you have to offer. Once they have determined you’re worth visiting is when they will start to research deals, promotions, and prices.
As a rule of thumb, stick to the 1:5 ratio. For every sales or promotional post you publish, post five engaging posts that don’t try to sell anything.
Use a tone that matches your brand
If you’re reading this, you are in the business of fun. Don’t let the fun be limited to the size of your property. Be quirky, witty, cheesy, and put a smile on the faces of your guests, past guests, and future guests. It stands out much more than posts that look like your lawyer writes them.
Naturally, when using humor, always be sure to keep it tasteful; otherwise, you risk coming across as offensive. Be sure to consider what else guests might be seeing in their feed that day - if it’s a bad day, just go silent.
Reward your followers
When shorts company Chubbies first started in 2012, they calculated that it would cost $1 per new follower to begin a marketing campaign to grow their Facebook following. Deeming that this was too rich for their blood, they launched a grassroots initiative to send a free beer koozie to anyone who shared a post from Chubbies on their Facebook wall. This was contingent on the stunt gaining Chubbies 50k new followers, which they felt would be ambitious and out of reach. Instead, they gained 70k new followers, and shipped out tons of shorts as a result.
As of this writing, Chubbies has more than 1.6 million followers on Facebook.
Engage, engage, engage
It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. Too often, brands will publish a post and then turn away. This one-sided conversation is the marketing equivalent of yelling into the void. Don’t forget about the social part of social media. This means interacting with guests who are commenting on your posts - both good and bad, and responding to posts that people make on their own account. Keep your notifications on and turn on alerts for mentions when you aren’t tagged. That way, you can stay on top of what people are saying about you, whether they’re planning a visit, currently onsite, or sharing their perceptions with their network after a visit.
A little boost goes a long way
So far, each of these tips involve strategies that don't involve giving up any funds to these social media platforms. However, boosting or promoting posts is just what the algorithm wants to see to turbocharge your efforts. You add substantially more exposure to the post than what would otherwise be seen when you do. Better yet, you can ensure that your boost is hyper-targeted to your audience based on geographic proximity, interests, demographics, and more.
Don’t get left behind
Today, there are more than 200 social media platforms, and there are more platforms being added than there are fizzling out. It is important to stay up to date with what is next on the horizon so that you can be at the forefront of it. Not every new site will be the next Facebook or Instagram, meaning your efforts may not always lead to the explosive growth of followers on each platform, but even building stronger audiences on smaller or niche platforms can be highly beneficial for your business.
Social media is a powerful force that should no longer be an afterthought to your marketing strategy. It can be the wellspring of new business coming through your doors when done effectively.