When it comes to a low-cost marketing solution for your Café, Facebook and Instagram come to mind. They offer a direct line to your local community, the means to entice customers and, with clever content, drive sales.
We’ve answered some of the most common questions we hear from Café owners about social media.
Q. I’m already busy. What’s the advantage of being on social media?
A. Social media can help your Café be the one customers remember, know and love. Simple as that. If they love you, they’ll use social media to tell their followers about you, and they will tell theirs. And so it grows. The more you communicate, the more they’ll be reminded to come through your door.
Q. I’m trying to keep across website, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest – and failing. What’s the bare necessity?
A. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to do one thing well than many things badly. At a minimum, a Café needs a Facebook page with the address (linked to a map), opening hours, menu and some testimonials from happy customers. The next goal is a lively, fun, delicious feed.
Q. If you had three tips for social media success, what would they be?
A. 1. Create great content
2. Tag people and places
3. Play the #hashtag game
Q. Can you post too much?
A. If you’re getting a great response and interaction, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, strive for better content.
Q. How often should I post?
A. Rapper Snoop Dogg posts on social media almost on the hour. But then, he’s @snoopdogg. Posting this often would be too much for a neighbourhood Café but the important thing is to post regularly so that you stay visible. “It’s like working out,” says Ben Barin of TBST Digital. “You need to keep doing it to get good at it. Set goals for yourself, such as how many times you’re going to post each week.”
Q. What should I post?
A. Post about things that are relevant to your customers and your community. That could range from a post showing them the piping hot muffins that have just come out of the oven to congratulating the local school for its sold out end-of-year show (the one that you sponsored).
Q. What do you mean by local community?
A. The mother’s group, playgroup, footy team, other retailers on your shopping strip, primary and high schools, medical centre, farmers’ market, craft market, fitness centre, dance school, local member of parliament – everyone who lives and works near you.
Q. What’s relevant?
A. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What would you like to hear about? Specials, deals, successes, fun moments? Yep, the lot. Try and be specific. Tell them about the super healthy salad you have on the menu (perfect for someone on a diet), your big brekky available to 3pm (a spot-on hangover cure) or your new barista (for the coffee snob).
Q. Why tag people and places?
A. Social media is not called social media for nothing. It’s all about connecting and starting conversations. By tagging someone, you’re starting the conversation. Tagging an online food site or food magazine is a great way for them to learn about you.
Q. How important is it to use hashtags?
A. Very. People search hashtags and it’s a powerful way for the world to find you. Research the best hashtags (see below) and change them from time to time. Make sure it’s relevant and the right size – too small and not many people will see it, too large and you will get lost.
How to do it better
- Check out industry leaders and see what they’re doing. And then do your version of it.
- Telling people who you are, what you do, what you’re on about and what you believe is what customers want and will relate to.
- Cafés are a ‘local’ business which makes your neighbourhood your playground. What’s around you is a rich source of content that’s relevant to you, your customers and followers.
- Always, always post opening hours and your plans for public holidays. If you’re going to open on a public holiday, shout about it.
- Connect with your neighbours and your community and mention them in your feed. Cross promotions are a great way to widen your reach.
- Pictures of food. Nothing beats #foodporn. Take pictures of your food every day – or get a staff member who loves social media to do it as part of their job.
- Repost your follower's pics – with a big thank you for the pic and their support.
- It’s all about being social, which means being generous, engaged and playful.