Cafés around the world are discovering how social media can grow their brand. Your Café could be the trendiest on the block but if you are not on social, chances are that someone else down the block who is social media savvy is getting the walk-ins you should because they posted their “weekend special” or “seasonal offer” for the world to see.
Building your Café brand with social media is easy if you get the fundamentals right. And you can master it in a few strokes. The challenge, if any, would lie in staying consistent in applying the fundamentals. Here’s how you can get on to the social media wagon and drive your business growth.
Know your customer
What does your customer want? And even before that, who is your customer? Take time out to think this through. It could be that a majority of your customers are office goers and that most of them like their sandwiches loaded with veggies and protein. What it actually means is that your customers are health conscious. Once you pin this bit, it’s easy to weave a menu that caters to them and keeps them excited by sharing it on your social media channels.
Stay true to your image at the Café
If your Café is an artsy place that is frequented by artsy folks and your menu reflects their likes make sure that your social media image or personality reflects the same. You would want to keep the soul of your Café intact while promoting your brand on social media. One sure fire way to keep things level on ground and on social media is to use your social channel cover pictures as canvas to exhibit your image. These could simply be of your Café interior or images shared by your customers.
Go all the way with photos and videos
Facebook and Instagram are the chosen social channels for most Cafés out there. We eat with our eyes first and both these social channels are perfect to share visual feasts for your customers’ eyes. So it isn’t surprising that photographs and videos are winners on social media, especially those that are bright, colorful and quirky pictures of food. Nothing wins like a great food shot or a great video of your staff making a dish to build your brand on social media.
Less is more
Flooding your channels with photos and videos is a big no-no. As much as they are feats for the eyes, an over load isn’t. So go easy with the frequency. A great thumb rule to follow is to post only when you have something to share. Always choose quality over quantity. To fill up gaps until you have something to say, you could have weekly or seasonal themes running.
Hashtags help your posts get discovered. When someone keys in #foodphotography into the search bar of a social channel, the result will filter out content that carries this hashtag. You can be as inventive with hashtags as you want but first look up Google for trending hashtags around your Café’s offering. Also go easy with hashtags on Facebook – no more than 3 is the rule.
Promote your posts
Promoting your posts along with using hashtags is a great way to get better reach for your posts. Promotion involves money but what you get is targeted distribution of your posts to people who really matter to your business. You’d want to certainly promote your posts announcing limited-time deals and offers.
Have a social/community angle
You Café’s personality is not complete without a community or social angle. If the cookies you sell are baked by single mothers, if a portion of the sale of your plates every Wednesday goes towards a community project, let your audience on social know. But be matter-of-fact about it rather than tom-tom it. The idea is to rope in support and subtly give your Café a rounded personality that is not just about business.
Respond to all comments
As in a person-to-person interaction, ignoring comments shared on your social channels is certainly not something you would want to do. Reply promptly, even if it is to only say thank you or that you will get back soon. This is a great way to build loyalty and positive sentiment around your Café brand.
On Instagram, go Instagram-specific.
Don’t just share the same content you share on Facebook. The thumb rule on Instagram is to be photogenic and vibrant. Make your posts speak a lifestyle that captures the essence of Café culture – with your individual touch. Create a consistent imagery of your brand in pictures and videos. Remember to also time your Instagram posts for when people are ready to order food - around breakfast, lunch and dinner - and use plenty of relevant hashtags.
Run themed campaigns
This is an extension of promoting your posts. Themed campaigns make sense during and off season to drive business. You could run campaigns around your signature dishes. If your steaks are winners have a #JuicySteakWednesday campaign for instance. Drum it up on your social channels with great photographs and the hashtag and promote to a targeted audience for a minimum budget.
- Stay true to your Café and stay consistent. What you project on social must be an exact reflection of your Café experience.
- Have a narrative around your social engagement - never make it about your Café or your menu. Always build it around your customers and their experience.
- Post when you really have something to say. Not otherwise. But, don't be random with the frequency. Always insist on quality not quantity.
- User Generated Content can be a great way to promote engagement. From time-to-time you could reserve prime inventory like your Facebook page header for imagery shared by users.