7 Tips for Running Successful Campaigns on Social Media

What is a successful social media campaign? One which increases brand recognition? One which spreads awareness of a product or service to a wider audience? Or simply one which boosts sales?

In reality, a successful social media campaign can be one or all of these things. A successful social media campaign is one which achieves the desired result and, directly or indirectly, increases your bottom line.

Social media is an invaluable marketing tool when used correctly. If not approached the right way, a social media marketing campaign can cost a lot of time and money for little or no reward. Even worse, a poorly executed campaign can be detrimental to your business, turning people off of your brand.

Here are seven tips to keep you on the path to social media marketing campaign success:

pen-calendar-to-do-checklist

Plan Ahead

Launching a social media campaign on a whim is never a good idea. Think about what you’re trying to promote and consider the best time to do it. Are you offering a special deal on Friday?

You’ll want to start promoting that at least three days in advance. Is there a holiday or event you want to base your campaign around? Plan exactly how and when you’ll be running this campaign so that you’ll be prepared to launch it and see it through for its duration.

Use a Content Planner

Dashboard, planner, calendar – call it whatever you like, just make sure you use one. Not only do they make the whole “running a social media marketing campaign” thing easier and more effective, they save you a lot of time. Organize when and where your content will be published and have it all lined up and ready to go so that the whole thing will effectively run itself.

Monitor and Tweak Accordingly

Yes, using a dashboard will allow you to set up the campaign so it will run itself, but it’s important to remember that it can and should be adapted as you go to ensure continued success. Monitor how the first few posts are received. How is the audience reacting? If you can see areas for improvement, tweak accordingly.

Adapt Content for Each Platform

While an Instagram picture may also look great on a Facebook feed, often the caption won’t. A caption full of hashtags doesn’t suit Facebook, whereas a lengthy description doesn’t suit Twitter or Instagram.

You don’t have to create completely new content for each social media platform, but it is best practice to optimize each piece for the platform. Once again, using your content planner will make this a less laborious chore.

startup-photos

Timing is Critical

Like a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it, content posted to social media which no one sees has debatably low levels of impact. The amount of content scrolling past our eyes each day is monumental, and you don’t want your campaign posts to be lost in the noise. Schedule your posts to appear in the feeds of your audience at the optimum time for maximum exposure.

It’s Not Just About Social Media

To really boost the impact of your social media campaign, promote it offline and on other online media as well. Let customers in-store know about the campaign you’re running. Promote it on your website.

Most website hosting platforms will allow you to add social media widgets or stamps, allowing you to reach an even wider audience and drive more traffic to your social media.

Measure Your Metrics

How do we know if a social media marketing campaign is successful? We have the data to prove it. Increased likes, shares, follows, and retweets, as well as increased online sales. Every social media platform has its own analytics program, or you can install your own.

Many content planners even have analytics programs. However you access the metrics, just make sure you do. The insight they give is invaluable, not just for this campaign but for future endeavours as well.

Cross-Posting vs Cross-Promoting Your Business on Social Media Channels

Presenting a consistent brand across all social platforms should be the aim of any modern day organisation. With consistency comes familiarity, allowing your audience to grow to love your brand, or at the very least feel familiar and comfortable with it.

This uniformity is generally achieved one of two ways – by cross-posting or cross-promotion. While these two practices may sound super similar, they offer two very different solutions to the social media consistency problem.

Which should your organisation choose? Let’s take a look to see what each method will offer your brand.

Cross-Posting

Cross-posting takes the consistency of message to the extreme. It is the practice of posting the exact same message and content across all social platforms. Let’s say you’ve just published a blog on your website and you’re looking to tell your social followers about it. Cross-posting the content will see the exact same link with the exact same headline being posted across all of your social media accounts.

Social media management tools such as Hootsuite make cross-posting an instantaneous and one-click operation through the use of a bulk scheduler. Social platforms also allow for this cross-posting within their own apps – Instagram, for instance, offers you the option to simultaneously post to Facebook, Twitter and even Tumblr when you publish a new photo.

Cross-promotion lightens the load of those in charge of your social media accounts greatly but does come with its own set of drawbacks, which we’ll delve into shortly.

Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion, on the other hand, relies on your social media marketing team producing unique posts for each social platform that your organisation uses. While there are tools that can help to streamline this effort, the process is pretty much impossible to automate.

But while there is extra work involved, this added labour will generally more than pay for itself.

Why You Should Be Cross-Promoting Rather Than Cross-Posting

The competition between social media platforms is intense. And because the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn are all owned by different entities, they’re not particularly keen to make themselves compatible with one another.

This makes cross-posting a dangerous game. What works best for one platform won’t work best for another. Instagram, for example, relies heavily on clever hashtag usage and doesn’t allow for hyperlinks to be part of posts. The same cannot be said for LinkedIn, nor a host of other platforms. While cross-posting may offer up efficiency, it doesn’t offer up effectiveness. Your engagement numbers will be far below what they could be if you created content specifically for each platform.

There is also a negative perception from your followers that can come from posting the exact same thing across all platforms. It can come across lazy, or even worse, robotic. Many of your followers probably follow you on multiple platforms and have presumably subscribed to your stuff because they see value in what you post. If they see the exact same content with the exact same message on two or more platforms, they may get the impression that you’re just phoning your social media work in.

It’s clear that cross-promotion is the way forward for social media marketing. It allows you to:

  • Speak the language of the platform on which you’re posting
  • Get the greatest amount of engagement for your posts
  • Hold the interest of your followers on each platform
  • Maintain a brand that is human and relatable, rather than something automated and robotic

The take-home message is this: don’t be in a rush to get content out there. Don’t post for the sake of posting. Be sure to provide value to your followers, to curate your content to make it the most effective it can be on each platform, and to maintain your unique brand persona.

The Top 6 Clever and Unique Ideas for the Promotion of Your Coffee Shop

You’re no Starbucks. You’re a cute little coffee shop that offers a welcoming atmosphere to go with a delicious handmade cappuccino. And you’ve got a marketing budget to match.

So with limited funds to play with, you’ll need to outsmart those big multinationals by using promotions that are as unique and memorable as they are cheap. We’re not talking newspaper ads or sidewalk signage here – we’re talking the sort of promotion that no other coffee shop in your area is offering.

Here are six promotional ideas that fit the bill.

1. Reach out to local bloggers

A new sort of celebrity has come from the rise of the World Wide Web – one that you won’t recognise if you pass them in the street. Bloggers are movers, shakers and tastemakers, and can be incredibly influential in directing traffic to certain establishments.

Do a Google search of “coffee blog [your city]” or even “food blog [your city].” If there are a few results it’s certainly worth reaching out to them. Offer a free meal and coffee in return for a quick shout-out – the worst they can say is no. Be sure to check that they have a decent following (both active subscribers to their blogs and social media followers) before bothering to hit them up.

2. Introduce a friend for a free cup

Word of mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing there is, but it can be difficult to influence over and above offering great service and great coffee. One way to encourage your clientele to spread the good news about your coffee shop is to offer them an incentive to do so.

One of the most effective strategies is to offer a free cup of coffee for any regular customer who brings in a friend for the first time. This not only fosters more goodwill from the regular, but introduces a like-minded customer to your café who may well go on to become a regular too.

3. Run free coffee classes

Brewing the perfect coffee is an art form. Most people happily leave it to the professionals with the professional equipment; they stick to their Nescafe instant or their pod machines at home, and treat themselves to a nice cup when they leave the house. But if you bothered to ask, you’d soon find that many of your customers would jump at the chance to have a session with a professional barista.

Offering a 30 minute or hour long class with you most talented barista – for nothing more than the price of the coffee at the end – is a terrific way to get heads inside your café, as well as garner a little bit of goodwill within your community.

4. Support local artists

Aesthetic can be as important as quality coffee for the modern day café, so ensuring your interior decoration is on point should be near the top of your priority list. But interior decoration, particularly if you require professional help, doesn’t come cheap.

One way to both cut the costs and achieve an awesome look is to reach out to your favourite local artist. Offer to have your space double as a gallery for the artist, with hung works able to be purchased right off the wall. When one is sold you simply replace it with another, and everyone is happy!

5. Ask people to review via WiFi

Free WiFi is a non-negotiable for a modern day coffee shop, as it encourages people to settle in for multiple purchases. But your WiFi can do more for your business than getting keyboard warriors through the door – it can also encourage your adoring customers to leave a nice review!

By setting up your WiFi connection to direct users to your Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor profile upon connection, you’ll subtly encourage them to drop a nice review about your establishment, which can be invaluable for getting new business.

6. Discounts for posting on social

While on the subject of the World Wide Web, how about offering a tempting discount to anyone who posts a photo of your coffee shop on social media? If you serve up a beautiful cup quite a few Instagrammers will likely be posting pics anyway, but something as minor as a 20% discount could turn this trickle of social content into a flood! It’s a cheap, easy and fun way to reach new sets of eyes!

You’re no Starbucks, and you don’t have to be. You’re blazing your own unique coffee shop path, and with the help of the tips above you’ll be using some unique promotions to do so.

How to Create Mouthwatering Social Media Posts for Restaurants

Posting pictures of your wares on social media is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants and cafes. Potential customers will scroll through your feed and make a decision whether they want to visit your establishment or not based on what they see.

You don’t need fancy photography equipment and a huge amount of time to create irresistible food photos for your feeds. With just a smartphone and a few tips and tricks for how to create mouthwatering social media posts, no one will be able to scroll past your restaurant without wanting to try your food IRL.

Here are the top tips for creating those deliciously mouthwatering food photos.

food-restaurant-camera-taking-photo

Use Natural Light

Artificial lights cast an unappealing yellow or orange tone over your photos. Taking a photo under a lamp or artificial light will give an inaccurate colour to your subjects – your white table cloths, crockery, or rice can appear orange.

Natural daylight is the best lighting for food photos as the neutral light accurately represents colours. Try shooting images of your dishes at a table by a window, or even outside.

Overcast days are the ultimate in perfect lighting for photos, as you get the natural light without the dramatic shadows. If you’re taking a picture in bright sun you can diffuse the light with a white napkin.

And If You Can’t, Use a Filter

pexels-photo (4)If you’re taking a picture at night or there’s not decent natural light to work with, use a filter to make the picture more appealing. Try not to use your flash – the light is way too harsh as are the shadows it creates. Once again, bust out the white napkin as a reflector to fill out dark areas and to soften any strong artificial light.

Use a photo processing app or even just the default filters on Instagram to choose a filter which adjusts the colour of the photo to be more appealing.

Take the Picture As Soon As the Dish is Plated

Don’t give your dish time to breathe, sag, or sweat. Take the photo as soon as you can so that all elements are still fresh and vibrant looking.

Choose the Right Dishes to be Featured

Not all food are photogenic. Your tastiest dish may not look great on camera, and you don’t want to be posting anything that looks less than appetising. Choose to post pictures of the food that look the best, not taste the best.

Soups tend not to photograph well, or anything with particularly “glistening” sauces. The reflections from the sauces and the oil in the soup aren’t very attractive. Dishes which are primarily brown or white also tend not to translate well into photos.

Select an Excellent Backdrop

The best backgrounds for food photography are either light, dark, or wooden backgrounds. In general light food look best on a light background, dark food look great on a dark background, and anything looks good on a wooden background.

Get creative finding something that works well as a background. It could be a wooden chopping board, a nice wallpaper, a tea towel, or even baking paper.

food-kitchen-cutting-board-cooking

Choose the Best Angle

If in doubt, shoot from above. You can rarely go wrong taking a food photo from bird’s eye view. It allows you to arrange the subjects how you want, eliminates distracting backgrounds, and is best for displaying food in bowls or mugs.

Food with layers or in glasses looks great when shot directly from the side. Diagonal angles are best for showing food from both side and top angles, like a tray of cupcakes for example.

Arrange Your Food with Thought

Give the dish some space – don’t crowd the frame. Negative space in a food photo makes it more impactful. Try positioning the food in the centre of the frame, then give it a go off-centred. See what works best.

Consider Using Some Decorations

This could be some ingredients, cutlery, table centrepieces, anything really! Use colours which either complement or contrast. Green and red colours look great in food photos together.

Flowers or autumn leaves are great for bringing some nature to the photo and conjuring a sense of season.

Sports Bar Marketing Game Changers

Sports are beautiful. They unite people, bringing them together under the one banner. They bring out people’s passionate side, allowing them to fully commit to a cause. They also go particularly well with beer.

The competition between sports bars can be just as willing as the competition between professional teams. It’s a constant dog fight to be the most alluring, the best value, the most atmospheric and the coolest. When a big game rolls around you need to be the name on everyone’s lips, lest you miss out on the big spending supporters of the winning team or even the sorrow-drowning supporters of the losers.

So how is it done? Let’s take a look at a few sports bar marketing game changers that might help to inspire you.

1. Offer EVERY Sport

How do you get a reputation as a great sports bar? You offer people the thing that they go to a sports bar for – sports. If your venue is capable, try to have as many screens as possible within it. Multi-room pubs and bars are ideal for this, as they allow you to televise games in each room with sound. Denote a larger area and multiple screens to the games with the biggest audience, but try to provide variety no matter how big the main game is.

One great example of being the best at televised sport is Thomas Magee’s, an old school sports bar in Detroit. With 40+ TVs offering every major sports channel, as well as opening hours that work around EPL and UEFA fixtures, this place knows how to cater to their audience.

2. Show Your Wit on a Sidewalk Sign

Attracting new clientele can be tricky, but one of the simplest ways is to just drag them off the street. Most sports bars are gifted a sidewalk sign by a preferred brewer or distiller; a blank canvas on which you can create art.

If you or one of your staff has a well-developed funny bone, why not produce a little bit of hilarity for passersby to enjoy? And if you don’t trust yourself to produce some gold dust, never fear – the internet is here to help! Classics include:

  • Hungry? We will feed you. Thirsty? We will get you drunk. Lonely? We will get you drunk.
  • SPECIAL OFFER: You give us money, we give you beer
  • Soup of the Day: Whiskey

3. Keep Your Sports In-House

Like any good sports bar, you have a pool table, a foosball table and a couple of dartboards. But on certain nights of the week, usually Monday through Wednesday, these terrific pieces of entertainment – like the rest of your bar – sit there laying to waste.

Why not fill this profit vacuum with fun? Organising an in-house competition of pool, darts, foosball or even beer pong can get those quieter nights of the week filled to the brim with action. When done right, building a league brings in steady, guaranteed revenue to your bar or pub.

4. Prizes, prizes, prizes

A prize or giveaway promotion can serve to turn an otherwise dead and boring night of the week into something buzzing with excitement. More than just a single prize to give away, the best nights are those that offer a constant string of prizes, getting patrons in early and giving them a reason to stick around.

While promotional gear and meat raffles are the typical giveaway fare, you want to stand out. “Go big or go home” should be your motto – aim to truly excite people with your prizes by offering either super unique thing or items of value. Once word gets around that you’re giving away sports memorabilia or electronics the hordes will come, eventually on the regular.

To win the game it’s wise to change the game. Change it in your favour by getting creative with your sports bar promotions.

Restaurant Marketing Tips: The 4 Steps to Translate Social Media Engagement into Actual Sales

It’s easy to get a little lost in the hunt for likes on social media. The thrill of getting a load of thumbs ups on Facebook or hearts on Instagram can serve to distract you from the real reason that you use these platforms – to generate revenue.

Social media marketing can seem to be a complex beast. But the basics are the same as almost any marketing effort. First generate new leads, then capitalise on them. But the second of these steps – translating social media engagement into actual sales – can often be the toughest.

So how exactly does a restaurant go about it?

1) Understanding the function of social media

To understand how to best use social media as a marketing tool you first need to understand exactly how social media can help your restaurant – over and above giving you the ego boost of likes and shares.

Social media marketing finds itself right at the beginning of the sales funnel. It’s largely about brand awareness – getting your name out there in order to generate interest. Because a large percentage of these leads will be particularly soft (i.e. not giving an indication of an intent to buy), your content and conversion efforts need to reflect that. A soft lead requires a soft touch.

2) Converting the soft leads

So how exactly do you convert these soft leads? Because these leads are entering the sales funnel at such an early point, and may not yet be familiar with your restaurant, they might not be open to an abrupt offer from you. Rather the aim should be to convert your social media followers into email subscribers.

Giving your email to a restaurant is a signal of intent. More than a simple “like” or “follow”, it suggests that a lead is more ready to be directly marketed to; more open to your advances. By posting content that includes invitations such as “subscribe to our email list for member-only deals” or “for our latest offers, join our exclusive club” you’ll quickly identify those followers who are open to being converted into patrons, and those who are just there for the hilarious memes.

3) Making it as easy as possible to convert

Take a look at your social media profiles and website. Can a potential diner book a table in just a couple of clicks? They certainly should be able to. The key to converting social media leads into lifelong customers is ease and convenience. If you make it even the slightest bit difficult to book or even find your restaurant, you’ll be losing out on real revenue.

Social platforms such as Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor all have functions which allow for instant booking. It’s vital that you use them. The platforms which lack such a function will still allow you to direct potential diners to your website, which should provide an easy booking function on the homepage. You’ll also need to display clear and concise directions to your establishment and make it obvious if you offer a takeaway service.

4) Constantly analyse your results

You won’t know if there’s been any improvement in conversion if you don’t analyse the results. A combination of Google Analytics and a social media focussed utility such as Hootsuite Pro allow for simple analysis of your efforts. Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Cost per impression
  • Cost per engagement
  • Cost per lead (both hard and soft if possible)
  • Cost per sale

By tracking these metrics over the course of a few months you’ll soon build a picture of how your social media conversion efforts are performing and can tweak your strategy in response to the insights gained.

While getting triple figure likes on a post might make you feel great, it’s not the end goal of your restaurant’s social media efforts. Each one of those hundred plus likers is a potential customer; perhaps even a lifelong one. And it’s up to you to ensure that they don’t just slip away.

A Beginner’s Guide to Being a Social Media Savvy Small Business

Social media isn’t for everyone. While there are many who enjoy posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, there are many others who use these platforms seldom, if at all. The brightness of the social media limelight attracts a certain type of moth.

Social media is an absolute must for any small business when it comes to marketing. It’s nothing short of a revolution – never before have businesses had access to such deep information on their advertising audience, and never before have campaigns been able to be so precisely directed to the right people. Social media marketing is infinitely more efficient and effective than traditional advertising – that’s a fact.

If you’re traditionally a social-media-shy type, this puts you in a bit of a pickle. You don’t have the resources to hire professional help, so it’s up to you to steer the social ship. You need to get involved with social media in the interests of your business’s future, but you don’t really know where to start.

Thankfully, appearing social media savvy is easier than you think. You don’t have to be a tech expert of Facebook fanatic to grow your online presence. It’s simply a matter of following these five simple steps:

1) Post content that’s relevant and interesting

Seemingly a no-brainer, but it’s remarkable how many accounting firms will post a torrent of cat memes or car dealerships will offer up an opinion on sport. The content that you post should be relevant to your business or your industry, and should aim to engage the audience. People have liked your page because they see it as providing some form of value – be sure to hold up your end of the bargain. Aim to educate or entertain with every post.

2) Automate the things that can be automated

If social media isn’t really your thing then the upkeep of your business’s profile can be a real grind. Thankfully utilities such as Hootsuite and Buffer have heard your cries and are on hand to minimise the effort. These tools allow you to control all of your social accounts from one screen, posting across platforms simultaneously, replying to comments in an instant, and checking and comparing engagement numbers in moments. Just be careful when posting and commenting across all platforms at once though; hashtags and links work differently on Instagram, for example, than they will on Facebook.

3) Engage and respond

Aloofness is not commonly cited as an endearing trait. If you offer up a bit of content to your followers and they engage with it, you need to engage back. Respond to commenters, even if that response is limited to ‘Great!’ or ‘Thanks so much!’

Engagement will foster a sense of community on your profile, and will help to further the reach of your posts. You need to start a conversation, but also keep it going.

4) Post at least 2-3 times per week

Posting frequency is a contentious issue on social media, and the ideal will vary depending on your audience. But at a minimum, you want to post at least 2-3 times a week. This will help to ensure that your business is always fresh in your followers’ minds, and will stop your profile looking stale and unloved.

5) Sponsor the good stuff

All major social platforms now have the option to pay for a sponsored post. This allows your business to get in front of a huge amount of ultra-relevant eyes, and all for just a few bucks. Rather than sponsor an untried post, it’s far wiser to pay to get an already successful post in front of a fresh audience. Find a popular post that will still speak to those who aren’t familiar with your business, and spend a few dollars to get it on the feeds of a few thousand users.

And if all else fails…

6) Think about hiring help

You’ve already admitted that social media isn’t your thing. Couldn’t someone else do it? While you’re not exactly a multi-national with a crack team of social media marketers on hand, hiring a student as an intern for just a few hours a week could be your reasonably priced saving grace. Social media is a whole lot of fun for a whole lot of people, particularly the younger generations who have grown up with it, so finding a cost-efficient social media officer might be easier than you think!

So sure, you might not exactly be the Stephen Hawking of Facebook, but by getting a handle on the fundamentals of social media you can offer up more than a passing impression of competence.

And your business will be all the better for it.