Does Your Online Strategy Make the Most of Your Offline Promotion?
A mistake we occasionally see bars and restaurants make is that they view social media promotion almost as an after-thought when planning their promotional strategies.
They start to talk about a major event or new product and think almost exclusively about radio/newspaper ads and in-house signage. Then when the bar gets a few weeks from the big day they’ll make periodic announcements through their social media platforms.
And while that’s better than nothing, it’s certainly not the way to maximize the benefits of social media. We want owners and managers to be thinking of social media from the very first marketing strategy session. For social media to accomplish what you want it to, it needs to work in tandem with everything else you’re doing.
For example: A restaurant chain in Columbus, Ohio recently opened a new location. As part of the process, they asked their artistically inclined Facebook friends to come down and help them paint part of the structure.
Along with the obvious benefits of free labor, the key here was that they were getting fans involved in the process from the very beginning. This wasn’t just a new bar, it was a new bar that had been completed with help from friends and neighbors.
And while that’s obviously a pretty dramatic step, there are more accessible ways to follow that example.
If you are unveiling a new chicken wing flavor or signature cocktail, make sure you are talking about the process from the very beginning. Is there an R & D component to the process? If so, you could include a video.
When possible you should be asking for feedback. If you’re building towards a huge bash featuring live music, poll your followers as to who they would like to see perform.
We’ve seen cases where a company that makes it’s own liquor invited fans to help them bottle the latest batch, promising free pizza and t-shirts. This gave them the opportunity to interact with their best customers in a mixed setting, as well as create a fantastic opportunity for photos and videos to use as follow-up marketing.
Over the months and years you’ve built up an army (hopefully a large one) of social media followers. One of the best times to mobilize them is during the earliest stages of a marketing campaign!