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Buzztime - Business Bar Trivia by Buzztime

Roses are red, violets are blue. Behind on your Valentine’s Day social media promotions? We’ve got you. Just check out these 14 creative ideas for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. You’ll have guests feeling the love and rushing into your bar or restaurant on February 14th – and beyond.

Win Their Hearts: Contests as Valentine’s Day Social Media Promotions

What not to do? Run a contest giving away dinner for two on February 14th. Boring! Plus, thrifty folks may delay booking reservations in hopes of scoring that free meal. Turn to these Valentine’s Day social media promotions instead.

1) Tag! You’re the “One”

Using these tips for taking food photos with your smartphone, post a beauty shot of a dish you’ll be serving on Valentine’s Day. Ask your followers to tag someone they want to share it with. Randomly select a few contest participants to receive a gift card redeemable in February.

2) #StoryContest

Let your social media followers endorse your restaurant or bar through a hashtag contest. Here are a few variations on these Valentine’s Day social media promotions:

  • #LoveThyPie: Pieology Pizzeria invited fans to share why they love pizza for a chance to win a Pieology Date Night, once a month for an entire year.
  • #FlamesofLove: Lots of love stories start in bars and restaurants. Black Angus Steakhouse wants to hear ‘em through their Valentine’s Day social media promotions. Ten contest entrants will win gift cards.
  • Photo Contest: Run a photo contest using a designated hashtag. Randomly select a few photos to receive a gift card.

When creating your contest, use a short and memorable hashtag – and one that’s not already in use. Double check by searching your hashtag first on Instagram and Facebook.

3) Count the Kisses

Fill an empty pitcher with Hershey kisses in red, pink, and silver foil. Then ask everyone to guess the quantity. The 3 people closest to the correct number will score a gift card. Of course, invite followers into your bar or restaurant for a better look and a chance to submit a guess in person. Who knew Valentine’s Day social media promotions could be so simple?

Eye Candy: How to Tease Your Menu with Valentine’s Day Social Media Promotions

As you plan your V-Day menu, pay close attention to how it will photograph. After all, nearly three-quarters of millennial and Gen Z customers take photos of the food they order at restaurants.

4) Coming Up Roses

Seek out “notice-me” ingredients when creating your menu. For inspiration, turn to this list of 42 edible flowers. From candied violets to chive blossoms, look for ways to incorporate them into your menu and Valentine’s Day social media promotions.

5) Earn Press with Your Valentine’s Day Social Media Promotions

Let’s be honest. Some people just love showing off for their date on Valentine’s Day. Maybe that will include splurging on an ultra-luxurious cocktail? Take a cue from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida for your Valentine’s Day social media promotions. They offered a $100 Prime Margarita served in a Baccarat highball that the guest can take home. Come up with your own luxe menu item to promote on social media. Also, submit a 1-page press release to local – and even national media.

6) All Heart-Shaped Everything

Here’s an easy way to make your menu-based Valentine’s Day social media promotions stand out…just add hearts. Then, take tons of pics to market your menu. Expect your patrons to do the same when they dine with you.

  • Heart of Ice: Purchase heart-shaped ice mold trays to transform an average cocktail into something romantic.
  • Cookie Cutter Ideas: Use small heart cookie cutters to turn basic fruits and veggies into symbols of love in a salad. Use heart-shaped ramekins for individual-size mac n’ cheese or red velvet cakes. Larger cookie cutters can mold basic mounds of rice or mashed potatoes into hearts.
  • The Shape of Love: California Pizza Kitchen is showing off heart-shaped pizzas through their Valentine’s Day social media promotions…why can’t you? Or, if you serve sushi, shape the rolls into hearts.

7) Crowdsource Your Specials

Let your customers call the shots with Valentine’s Day social media promotions. Use the Facebook polling function to present 4 brands of wine, let followers vote on which should be 50% off or 2-for-1 during February. On Instagram Stories, you can allow followers to choose between two options. It could be a “just for fun” poll like…what’s your go-to wine on Valentine’s Day? Red or White?
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Engagement Goals

No, we’re not talking about poppin’ the question. Instead, the goal of your Valentine’s Day social media promotions should be to spark engagement and interaction with your followers, like this:

8) Conversation Starts

Take a closeup photo of candy conversation hearts. Then ask your followers to come up with their best, most “punny” sayings for candy hearts. Another way to use Valentine’s Day social media promotions to boost engagement? Post a graphic that lists 8-10 of your best-selling dishes: from appetizers to desserts. Then make everyone list the 3 items they couldn’t live without!

9) In Trivial Pursuit of Love

You know that live restaurant and bar trivia events are seriously trending. (Trivia for two, anyone?) You can also use trivia to drive engagement through Valentine’s Day social media promotions. Around February 14th, post a daily trivia question related to the holiday or famous love songs, then ask for answers in the comments.

Customer Appreciation Valentine’s Day Social Media Promotions

Love is in the air, so why not make your customers feel special?

10) Week of Love

In the week leading up to February 14th, reveal a daily special only available to your social media followers. They simply show the image on their smartphone to the server or bartender to redeem your Valentine’s Day social media promotions. One day it could be a gift card special: buy $100, get $10 back. Another day it could be a 2-for-1 appetizer deal during happy hour. Or, why not post a “mystery Valentine” deal where the guest has to come in to find out what’s on special?

11) Cupid’s Crush

Play cupid with your Valentine’s Day social media promotions. Randomly select one customer a day from your list of social media followers to receive a $10 gift card. It’s as simple as running through the list of your Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram followers, then sending them a message that they’ve randomly won! Why the element of surprise? According to the Kano Model of Customer Needs, “exciting and delighting” guests is one of the most powerful ways to boost loyalty.

Show Love for Local Causes with Your Valentine’s Day Social Media Promotions

Last but definitely not least, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to promote non-profit causes. It’s a win-win. You’re doing something wonderful for your community – and your business: 64% of consumers today buy from brands that support causes they care about.

12) Homegrown with Heart

Use Valentine’s Day social media promotions to showcase the farmers behind the food you serve. Wait, what? You’re not sourcing at least a few items from nearby farms? Make your move using these 11 best sources for local ingredients.

In fact, you could create a “homegrown with love” tasting menu for Valentine’s Day featuring signature ingredients…fresh from local producers.

13) My Furry Valentine

Host a “meet your match” pet adoption event at your bar or restaurant. Let a local shelter or rescue group set up a table at your venue and accept adoptable applications (bonus points if your city or town laws allow for animals on premises).

Another option for Valentine’s Day social media promotions is to at least share a photo or two of an adoptable animal. You can also designate one of your beer tap handles as “For the Dogs.” With every pour from the tap, donate a portion to the shelter.

14) Have a Heart

February is also the American Heart Association’s (AHA) heart health month. Could you help raise funds for your local AHA chapter through your Valentine’s Day social media promotions? You could even make it into an event. In Boston, the Mandarin Oriental hotel is hosting a Galentine’s Day Tea on February 10th to raise awareness about women’s heart health.

The best Valentine’s Day social media promotions take a little planning – and a lot of heart. But it’s worth the effort to have a packed house on February 14th…and beyond!