Social Media Marketing for Bars: How to Stand Out in a Digital Crowd
With 375 million posts tagged food and 41.5m posts tagged drinks, showing off what you have to offer on Instagram is just one example of social media marketing for bars.
It’s very likely your customers will be doing exactly the same and it’s become the modern way to interact with them too.
According to Sprout Social, 88% of people using social media are influenced by reviews and online comments so having a well-planned and executed strategy is fundamental to your bar’s success.
In this social media marketing for bars guide, we’ll discuss the following:
1. Set up your profiles
When it comes to social media marketing for bars, it goes without saying you need to be set up on Facebook, Instagram and the many others out there.
Rather than waste your time telling you what all these platforms are – which we’ve covered in extensive detail here – it’s just worth noting that you need to list your bar on all of them.
If you are just getting started, make sure you include the basics: opening hours, contact information and dress code. The less clicks it takes for a potential customer to find out what they need to know about your bar, the more likely it is that they’ll visit later on.
– Book now button for reservations
– Food + drink menu uploaded
– Add your cuisine type
– Allow visitors to leave reviews
2. Create relevant posts
When thinking about how you’re going to use social media marketing for your bar, you need to consider the engagement vs promotional trade off.
It’s no good constantly plugging promotional offers all over Facebook and Instagram. They’re invasive and are likely to annoy your followers.
Constantly bragging about your discounts would just be tiring – you want these opportunities to crop up every now and then and be a ‘pull’ towards the bar, rather than pushing them away as these offers don’t really seem like a discount at all – they could actually be just your everyday pricing.
Engagement posts, on the other hand, are what your customers really want to see.
3. Post at optimal times
Have a think about when you’re going to post on your social channels.
Let’s say your bar opens at 9pm. Posting about cocktails at 8am isn’t going to work, there isn’t a demand for them at that time. You’re going to want to do that at around 4 or 5pm, when the majority of your customers are finishing their day at work and wondering where they’re going to go in the evening.
The highest engagement time on Instagram is between 11am and 1pm on Fridays, every week without fail. This is because the weekend is in sight and everyone is looking ahead to what they’re going to be doing. Have this time set in your calendar to create your most engaging posts.
4. Location-based advertising
This is the final technical component in this social media marketing for bars guide, before we move onto the more creative ideas.
Geo-targetting is becoming an increasingly popular way to promote to customers and it’s something you need to be doing.
It allows you to control who sees what, based on a certain radius.
If you own a chain of bars spread out across the UK, but only your London bar has a happy hour offer on Wednesday nights, it’s no good rolling that out to Manchester-based followers. They’ll automatically dismiss it as irrelevant content and are likely to give your page an unfollow.
Instead, break down your customers into location-based segments and target them intelligently.
5. User-generated content
UGC is the newest trend that bars are using to turn their customers into their best advertisers.
Consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust what you say about yourself. It’s social proofing at its finest. And since millennials now have more spending power than any other generation, it seems fitting to tailor your social marketing efforts to fit their rules of engagement.
In your bar, you can hang up a clever neon sign (The Prince London and Tonight Josephine have both nailed this), paint a brightly-colored selfie wall, set up oversized bar games, or create an over-the-top specialty drink or menu item. This is mostly about enhancing the customer’s experience, but also being smart in how you brand the experience.
Let’s take the aforementioned signs as an example.
At the end of the day, potential customers are being influenced by the people who are posting these photos, and not just by the sign itself.
These posts are the difference between someone deciding to go to this bar or one of the other thousands – that’s how powerful user-generated content can be.
The sign was a small investment, and it generated a large demand, a new customer base, and overall hype for the bar.
6. Polls for new drinks
Did you know that a fifth of drinkers are now choosing cocktails over beer and wine?
That’s despite them being nearly double the price per unit!
Running polls is a great way to see what it is that your customers are interested in, generating hype and then rolling them out on the night.
If you’re a cocktail bar, being creative and coming up with brand new mixes is what it’s all about.
Why not spend some time coming up with new creations and then writing out the recipes on a Facebook poll? You can ask your audience which one they’d like you to have on offer on the weekend. It could turn out to be the next mojito!
Ah, influencers. When it comes to social media marketing for bars, influencers are your VIPs.
Influencers are well-versed on a particular topic, in this case their knowledge of the best bars to visit, and have a huge, engaged audience who are waiting to find out the next best place to be.
Here are the top 1,200 bars influencers you have access to.
So what social media marketing for bars ideas and tips do we have for working with influencers?
- Partner with food bloggers or local celebrities. These people already have a huge following and can have an impact on where locals spend their time and money.
- Let influencers try your drinks or food in exchange for posting on their Instagram pages. This will get their followers interested in your bar with little cost to you.
- Plan an event with your favourite influencers in attendance. Invite the public and let them preview your menu. Chances are that they’ll be back for more!
- Always be transparent when working with a paid partnership. You may not always pay an influencer to promote your brand but if you do, let your followers know.
8. Spotlight your employees
You already pay these employees to work for you, right? But what can you do to empower them and keep them highly motivated?
Employee satisfaction is likely to rise when you applaud them on your bar’s social media channels.
Your engagement is sure to increase as well, because your employees will like, comment, and reshare the updates that feature them.
This tactic both benefits your bar and encourages employees to become your brand’s social media advocates too.
Publish lots of pictures from events, lunch gatherings, socials and take the time to tag employees in those updates so they’ll be notified that they’re featured.
As an example, Hootsuite features their employees frequently on their Instagram account. They never fail to tag the employee in the description, which usually results in more engagement too!
9. The power of analytics
It’s no good doing any social media marketing for bars unless you’re going to analyse what’s working, what isn’t, and tweak your strategy accordingly.
You spend so much time creating award-winning content, interacting with your audience and responding to reviews, but what does the data actually tell you about it?
- Branded hashtag use
- Facebook check-ins
- Geo-tagged photos or posts
Make sure your website is set up on Google Analytics too.
10. Advertise your bar on Bloc
When it comes to social media marketing for bars, Bloc has you covered.
Did you know that we actually pay customers to visit your bar?
Here’s how it works:
- We suggest bars to our users based on their location + preferences.
- These users check-in to the bar to say they are going.
- When the user attends, they will be rewarded with our in-app currency (stars). These stars can be exchanged for real money.
We’re literally paying your customers to increase your bar sales! And we’ll give you £150 worth of free ad credit to get you started.
Good luck with your social media marketing for bars strategy and before we let you get on with it, we’d really like it if you joined us on our brand new Bloc Social platform.
It’s an open forum, hosted by the founder, where our users/fans can discuss all things Bloc with us, and with each other. This includes feedback, support, updates and even complaints.
So don’t be shy, get involved and we look forward to hearing from you soon.