Lately, there have been a lot of questions coming into my site, and I love that I can share my experience and insight with you and help you with your marketing in the nightclub and bar industry. I’ve also seen people from other industries starting to peek in. For instance, I’ve noticed that people from the restaurant industry tuning into my podcasts and visiting my blog, and I’ve seen some people from the automotive industry do the same. They are starting to pay attention to how those of us in the nightclub and bar industry are connecting with our audience, whether we are marketing to the Millennials, Generation Z, or some of the upper age groups.
Right now, I want to talk about engaging your audience. This is one of the biggest things that you need to be doing. I know that a lot of people use Hootesuite and similar services to set up their posts to go out at a scheduled time, and I would, in no way, discourage you from doing so. This is an awesome way to manage your social media, and having scheduled posts going out regularly is a big plus. However, that being said, if this is all that you’re doing, it means that you’re just using push media.
Push media is the same type of media we are all used to hearing and seeing on a regular basis from TV, radio, and print. In other words, this type of advertising just consists of some sort of ad that you put together to let people know that you’re there and what you have to offer. The problem with just doing this is that there’s no opportunity for engagement with your customer. Your customers can’t yell back at the TV or ask a question through the newspaper. One of the cool things about social media is that it opens the doors for interaction.
If you are just posting your push-out messages, such as, “Friday Night is Ladies Night. Come See Us,” then you’re just advertising in a very old-school fashion. You engage with social media yourself, don’t you? You ‘like’ things, you interact with posts, and you expect people to respond, like each post is a mini-room or a mini-conversation. If you’re not doing that for your business, then you are already losing the game of social media. It doesn’t matter if you have 50,000 fans when you’re only getting 3 ‘likes’ for your posts. That’s likely because you’re not engaging anyone. This is extremely important.
A lot of people don’t engage with their audience sufficiently because it’s so time-consuming to do so. Look, I know that you’re busy and it’s hard to spare the time. Really, if you think about it, things were much easier “back in the day”. Back then, we even had people to write our radio, TV, and print ads for us, and like magic, people started coming out to our pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, etc. That was easy. All you had to do was find the right radio station that fit your demographic, give them a couple of pointers, and write a check. They did all the work for you, and then when your ad went on the air, people would start streaming in.
It’s different today. Unfortunately, we can’t jump in a time machine and get back to when things worked this way. We have to live in today’s market. It does take time to comment, and reply, and respond, but engaging with your audience is just something that you have to do. If you don’t have the time to pull out your phone or get on your computer consistently to check on and respond to the comments or questions your customers have, then you need to have someone doing this for you.
In the world we are living in now, you have to stay on top of your social media if you want to be successful. You can’t just put out a scheduled post and just turn your back and walk away. If you do that, you’re going to lose the game very quickly. You need to get in there and get in the conversation. When someone says, “Sally, we need to do this Saturday night,” you need to be there to say, “Yeah, we’ll be there too! ;-)” You need to make sure that your voice is being heard and that you don’t just turn your back on the people out there that want to engage with your business.
You need to be the voice of your business, and you need to engage with your people. If you don’t have the time, then hire someone to do so. There are a couple of different ways to go about this. You can hire someone to just stay on top of the social engagement that’s going on, and this could be just an employee that you already have or a family member. That’s because this really isn’t very complicated. The important thing in this scenario is that whoever is handling this for you should understand your brand and how you want it to be represented. Just have them keep an eye on everything that goes out and make sure that they are responding properly.
There are also professional social media marketers that you can hire, but you only really have to use a person like this if you need someone to manage your ads and check all of the algorithms for your business. These people can also optimize your ads and your posts to make them as effective as possible. That’s the kind of thing that you’d have to hire a professional for, and you may need one because that’s a complicated job to try to handle on your own or expect a regular employee to be able to handle for you. This is a full-time job for a social media expert who is good at what they do. This may or may not be what you need.
It may be that you’re good at social media advertising, but you just don’t have the time to like or engage with every post. You can get a staff member to do that part of it. There are many clients that I have who just use staff members to engage with their customers on social media, and they may be great at snapping pictures, making posts, and answering questions, but they don’t have any idea what to do when it comes to running and optimizing ads. They don’t know how to utilize real metrics or to target properly.
These are advanced-level skills. These business owners realize that their staff can’t take care of that properly, so that’s why they call me in to take care of the ads for them. There’s nothing wrong with having your regular staff take care of your customers on social media and then hiring a professional to take care of the more complex aspects of social media marketing.
A lot of people ask me if they should use strategies like running contests on their social media sites. It can do wonders for your business to do so, but you really have to look closely into the rules pertaining to this on the platform that you want to use. For example, Facebook doesn’t like it when you tell people to “like” your post in order to win a product. They don’t want to see you giving away something in order to gain followers. You can read about this by reviewing their terms of service. That being said, there are contests being run on Facebook constantly, and there are many apps out there that will facilitate contests for you. Just Google “Facebook contests” and you’ll find all sorts of companies that will assist you with this.
One of the most common types of contests, and an extremely beneficial one, is to have people post photos and let other members of your audience pick the best one. That’s just one example of the many, many different kinds of contests you can hold. A concern for me, that I also want to make sure you know about, is that about a year ago people were giving away gift cards that were to non-related businesses. For example, a nightclub might have posted, “You can win a $100 gift card to the mall if you ‘like’ our page.” This business may have gotten tons of like and only had to spend $100 to accomplish this. The problem is that all of the people that liked a page for this reason were really just in it to get that gift card.
When you get member’s liking your business, in this way, they aren’t going to continue to be fans of your business. They won’t have any connection to it at all. So, you might get ‘likes’, but they don’t really mean anything when it comes to bringing in actual customers. People aren’t there to engage with your business or really even see what you have to offer. They just want your giveaway. That’s why I advise that you make all of your offers and giveaways well-related to your business. For instance, you might want to give away bottle service, or tickets to your upcoming show, or free cover for a group. That’s the kind of idea you are going for, anyway.
Aside from just looking into the terms and conditions of the platform that you are on, such as Facebook, you need to look into your local laws before running any contests. There are many states and other countries where you can’t give away alcohol, for instance. Furthermore, some places will let you have contests, but they have very strict rules about how to go about it. One example is that there are certain states that equate certain types of contest with gambling. So, you need to takes some time to figure out what the laws in your area are so that you know you are safe and that you’re not crossing any lines.
The key aspect to this that I want you to takeaway today is that it’s important to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in order to have a successful business. As long as you stay on top of what people are saying and you are responding, you should be fine. This is especially important if you have some sort of negative review or complaint. You need to stay on top of this kind of stuff, especially, so that other people see that you care about your customers. It’s okay to reply to the person and ask to take care of any issue offline, by the way. What matters is that if people have a complaint, or even just a question, you’re there to answer that question.
There have been many occasions where I have logged into a client’s business account to see what’s been going on and have been bombarded with a series of questions. These can sometimes include some very serious and important inquiries, such as, “I have a party of 20 that want to go hang out at your establishment. Who do I contact to book a reservation?” It may be that this person eventually found the phone number they needed to call the business up, but why should they be the ones to have to do all this work when the business owner could have easy responded to this question and took hold of the opportunity to bring more customers into his or her business.
Let’s tackle these sales questions anywhere they happen. You need to engage with your customers, and also, when you are doing this, you’re increasing the chance that your posts are going to be seen by others in the feed organically. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all tweaked their algorithms so that people who engage with your brand see your business organically in their feed more and more often. This should absolutely be a vital element of your online marketing strategy as well as your overall business plan.
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