Social media marketing for hospitality venues

Our team have a wealth of experience, so we’re asking them to share their wisdom.

This month, Chris Tilsed our Brand & Content Manager shares his top tips for promoting hospitality venues on social media. Chris has worked in marketing with restaurants & bars for 7 years, creating content with the likes of Michel Roux Jr, sketch & Hawksmoor.

Here are Chris’ top 5 tips for how hospitality venues can use social media to promote their venues…

“The best piece of advice I could give is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you wouldn’t click on your post, then why would they?”

Chris Tilsed – Brand & Content Manager, OrderPay

1. Put yourself in your audience's shoes.

The next time you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, conduct an experiment… how many posts made you stop scrolling? How many made you click? How many made you buy something? Chances are the answer to all 3 is ‘not many.’ 

Working in hospitality we are our own target audience – we all eat out, we all like food & drink. So before you post anything on social media ask yourself if you would find it interesting or if you would interact with it. If the answer is no, don’t post it.

2. Be human.

People go to social media for human interaction. (And dog videos.) They don’t log on to be sold to by faceless brands. Professional food shots are great, but stand out by showing some personality – take your followers behind the scenes on Instagram Stories, introduce the team, crack jokes. 

Example: Here’s Hawksmoor showing us how you deal with a mistake.

3. Get others to shout about you.

People trust other people more than they trust brands. Your customers may also have a bigger audience, so encourage them to do your marketing for you if you can. This could be a monthly competition where the best customer photo wins a prize, or simply featuring their photos on your own profile. 

It’s also a good idea to partner with other brands & local businesses to share audiences – could you run an event with the wine shop next door for example? Especially if that wine shop has a huge following…

Example: we featured a competition on our marketing materials which encouraged customers to share photos from our partner venues.

4. Run competitions & promotions.

No venue wants to run too many promotions or rely on competitions for exposure. But if there’s one thing people on the internet love almost as much as dog videos it’s free food. 

So the occasional promotion or giveaway can be a great quick win to reach a wider audience. However, this should always be on top of all the other great stuff you do, not instead of it!

5. Connect your marketing channels.

Social media is much more powerful when it’s part of everything you do. Can you add social content to your website? Can you add an Instagram competition to your printed menus? Can you ask your newsletter subscribers to follow you on social media?

Bonus tip: build a genuine brand rather than just doing marketing.

More of a general point than a social media tip, but all of the above means very little if it’s not backed up by action. 

Dishoom are the masters of restaurant brand building – like the Hawksmoor example above, their social content is all about their love for their staff, their charity work & their genuine passion for what they do.