Getting Social: How to drive more sales through social media

Step 1: Getting the basics right

If you've already chosen which social media channels will work best for your business you're ready to turn that into feet through the door and orders at the table. Whichever channel you choose is best for your business, you need to make sure that your profile is set up as a business account so that you can make the most of the tools available.

What's in a name?

As a business, you need people to be able to find your social accounts quickly and easily, so make sure your display name and picture sets you apart from rivals – if your pub or bar has a common name, try adding the location in as well, for example TheWhiteSwan_Bristol. While you will have people who are already in your outlet looking to follow you on social, think about new customers or tourists who will be using social media to select where they are going to go for food or drink – making your location known on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is key.

Don't forget the link

A huge 75% of people claim to take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at a brand’s post so your profile needs to have the relevant link to your site. Ask yourself where you want to direct them to – is it the homepage? Check your analytics to see where people are spending most of their time when they visit your website; if it’s your menu or events pages, direct social media users straight there for ease.

Step 2: Make some rules and stick to them

As an independently run outlet, you have ultimate control over your social media pages and posts. No need to sense check anything with head office – you are firmly in the driver’s seat.

You're in control

This means you can be flexible and timely, but think about whether it’s realistic for all the content to come from one person. An owner or manager may be too busy to post regularly and everyone needs a holiday. Getting the balance right is important as you want to make sure there is always someone available who has access to the social account, but if too many people get involved the tone of voice and language used could be inconsistent. 

Use your team

Try choosing a maximum number of three trusted staff members to run the channels, and it’s a good idea to put some rules in place. For example, agree roughly how many posts will be sent out each week, the type of content you want to promote specifically in the weeks or month ahead and who is responsible for ‘liking’ or replying to customers. Make this a fun element of the job and get staff members who enjoy using social media involved – asking them to come up with ideas and even offering an incentive such as a complimentary round of drinks will encourage them to do a good job.

Step 3: Engage with your customers

Once you’re all set up, it’s time to start posting. For a pub or bar, there's a range of things for you to shout about.

Images grab attention

Whether you want to promote specific menu items, a happy hour or upcoming event – accompanying images are a good idea for your post. Particularly if you are using Instagram, high quality pictures of your venue, food or drinks are really important. It’s worth investing time and some money in photographing some great shots – look into using a local photographer who can capture a selection of images throughout a day’s session, which you can then use on an ongoing basis.

#usehashtags

The next thing to consider is using hashtags to go alongside your posts, as on Twitter and Instagram people will search via these. Look at what has the most hits and try ones such as #cocktails #happyhour or #foodinspiration. You can also hashtag your location and create your venue’s own one as well. You could print your own hashtag on the bottom of menus or on table talkers, encouraging guests to share their snaps with this and tagging your account. This will help raise awareness of your profile in the early days. Another great way of getting noticed in the local area on social media is by following other local businesses or community groups. You can then encourage them through the doors by inviting them to your venue with a bespoke promotion. 

Step 3: Test & learn, find out what's right for your customers

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to social media, it is a fantastic tool for businesses as the possibilities are so vast.

Analyse your results

Once you’re up and running, you’ll find it’s pretty self-explanatory and you’ll quickly be able to see what kind of posts get the most engagement. Business accounts on the different platforms will give you results on what’s worked best and you can make the most of that specific type of content via paid promotion.

Use paid posts

Investing in paid posts can help you target specific audiences via their location, interests, age or who else they follow – increasing your engagement levels and driving footfall. If you have an existing customer database, you can even upload this and target these people via Instagram. Paid posts don’t have to cost a fortune, you can spend as little as you want but we recommend £50 for your first post in order for you to see results. You can promote anything you like, but make sure you have a clear call to action – like encouraging people to come in and try a new menu item, sign up to a newsletter, book to attend an event or visit to watch the screening of live sporting event.

With 80% of Instagram users alone following a business, it’s crucial that licensed venues see social media as a crucial marketing tool that can successfully influence its target audience.

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