How I am getting customers to promote for my bars.

Posted on Posted in Digital Marketing, Social Media

Did you know that you can get your customers to work for you?  Getting people to spread the word organically can be a big help because, after all, word of mouth spreads like wildfire.  It’s really not that hard to get loyal customers to share information through social media and this can do great things for your business, including saving tons of money on advertising.

Obviously, people trust their friends and their family way more than they do the advertising of a brand.  I know that if my friend or a family member tells me to go try out a certain restaurant, or that a particular nightclub is great to party at, I’m going to trust their opinions way more than some ad from a business telling me how great it is.  That is the real power of having your customers promote for you.  It’s absolutely the best advertisement you could have. It’s called ‘social proof’.

Of course, you can’t force them to do it.  They have to want to do it.  It’s typically not hard to get loyal customers to post on your behalf, in this social media world we live in, everybody wants to be famous, and everyone wants to be the first to tell you something.  Everybody wants to be “in the know”.  So, if you create the right environment for them to want to feel good and tell everyone how great their night is, they will work for you for free.

You absolutely should use hashtags to promote your brand.  Again, you’re not going to force your customers to do it, and you’re not going to ask them, “Hey, make sure you post with this hashtag so you can get in for free.”  This doesn’t really work well.  What you want to do is set the conditions up in the right way so that they know what to use.

Obviously, you want to let people know what your Twitter handle is, the name of your Facebook page, and things like that.  Many regulars will already know that kind of stuff and should even be following you already, but you want to make sure this information is everywhere so that they absolutely know who to tag.

Hashtagging is huge, but I want to be very clear about this.  I know of a lot of business owners that use massively long hashtags that no one is going to click on.  Understand that a hashtag is used to group posts together in a particular topic.  So, if you use the hash tag “#FridayNights” that’s very generic and other people are going to be using that hashtag too, however it may be a smart marketing move because there are going to be a million posts about it and you could ride a similar wave.

If you use something very specific like “#FridayNightsAtXYZBarWithDJXYZ” that’s extremely specific. It is great for contests when you are very specific.  In this case, if you just used #FridayNights, you can’t follow that as a contest and give away anything because people from all over the world could all be using that hashtag.  This will keep you from knowing who, from your local area, is in the contest.  So, this is the kind of thing you would want to use a very specific hashtag for.

Again, when you use hashtags, you’ll want to make them known to everyone.  Use them in your own posts, put them on posters or ads, have the DJ shout it out.  Make sure that people know what to use.  This is a great way to market your business and to keep your customers checking your social media and interacting with it.

When is the best time of day to post your message? Peak times can be all over the place.  I’m sure you’ve seen articles that claim there is a definitive ‘best time’ to post, but it really depends on your audience.

In a lot of cases, peak times can range anywhere from 10 in the morning until 9 pm, and when you look at your bar or nightclubs analytics, you can see that your engagement can be high at random times of day.  So, it can be hard to pin down when the best time to post is.  Part of that is due to Facebook, and now Twitter, having an algorithm that keeps your posts in front of your followers for days.  In my opinion, most people in the bar and nightclub scene can post just about any time of day.  So, if something is happening, then you should post it right then and there.  After all, if a DJ takes a dive off the stage on a Friday night and you’ve got a great picture of it, there’s no sense in waiting for Sunday morning to come around before you post it.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t figure out when the best times to post for your business are, but learn about your specific audience.  Look at your Facebook analytics, and pay attention to the times that you are getting the right reactions.  There’s no rule of thumb to follow here because everyone is different.

Some bars will have customers that generally hop on Facebook around 5 pm, and the clientele of another’s may be mostly eating dinner at that time or they may still be at work.  The same thing goes for posting on Twitter and all of the other platforms.  The best way to figure this out is to get to know your own audience and use trial and error to figure as much as you can out.

Now, when it comes to automating your post, real-time engagement is an important factor to pay attention to.  Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer app are fantastic for scheduling your posts, but using them can take away from the real-time engagement you have with your fans.  If you have a post that comes out on a Monday morning about what happened on the weekend, and you have 20 people commenting on that post about how great it was, you may not be there to answer and engage with their comments.  Make sure that you are present when these opportunities come.

One thing to keep in mind, as well, is that social media has made audiences very antsy when it comes to wanting an answer right away.  People are very quick to post or leave bad comments if they have a complaint, and they are very quick to tag their friends.  It all just happens really, really fast.  That means you need to have your finger on the pulse pretty consistently to keep up.  If you are posting something, whether it’s negative or positive, your audience is going to start responding nearly immediately, and you need to stay on top of that.

Taking care of your social media can take up a lot of time, but you can’t just hand the task over to your bartender Sally, just because she uses Facebook all day long.  If you do use someone in this capacity, it needs to be someone that’s very smart about knowing what to say and how to respond to things.  If you are doing it all yourself, then you cannot neglect your real-time engagement.  This is absolutely huge for your brand and it can be a real asset if it’s done right.

The way to keep good engagement going is to make sure that you engage with your customers constantly, on all of your accounts.  Keep them “in the know”, keep encouraging them to share, and keep checking in on them and interacting,  Most of all, if someone steps in and asks, “What’s going on Friday,” answer them!

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