There’s no doubt that social media users and usage have ramped up as people are spending more time indoors to avoid catching the coronavirus. Not only has the audience grown, but the time we’re spending on our smartphones is up by almost 26 minutes per day, and the food and beverage e-commerce industry increased by $13 billion.

Your restaurant, hotel, or unique venue can drive business in 2021 by harnessing the power of social media, but you need to take some specific actions to get the most out of your marketing activity.

We’ve got four steps that you can take to grow event leads for your venue with social media.

1. Use the right social networks

There are a lot of options for social media marketing, like the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube), as well as some newcomers over the last few years (Snapchat, Tik Tok, and a bunch you may never have heard of). And it may make your head spin.

But don’t worry. We’ll help you narrow it down to the top four: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Here’s why:

  • Facebook is used by consumers in your area and all over the world. The platform will help you reach your customers.
  • Instagram is eye candy and used by people who want to see a visual representation of the people and businesses they like. It will help you reach your customers and build a visual brand with photos and videos.
  • LinkedIn is buttoned up and all about what’s happening in your industry. The content here will help you reach corporate clients and contacts in your industry.
  • Twitter is an up-to-the-moment source for news and information. Posting here will help you reach media outlets, industry news sites, and industry contacts.

2. Optimize your social media profiles

Each of these networks is set up differently depending on the network, and the settings offered. No matter which one you use, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always use a business account and not a personal account for your venue’s social media profiles. Business accounts come with layouts and settings that help you promote your business and analyze social media posts and follower data. Personal accounts don’t have all of that, and honestly, “friending” a business is creepy because they can see all the things their followers post.
  • Fill out all of the space for information that the social network gives you, including your website, street address, phone number, email address, business hours, price range, business type, takeout and delivery information, and links to other social media profiles.
  • Use relevant keywords whenever possible in your description that relate to your venue type (restaurant, hotel, or unique venue), type of cuisine, event types that you host, your location, and dining options (indoor, outdoor, takeout or delivery).
  • Share your Tripleseat lead form link wherever possible — in your social media bios (and as the only link in your Instagram bio), your call to action button on Facebook, and social media posts — to provide multiple places for your audience to see it and click it to submit an event inquiry. To learn more about how to use lead form links on social media, watch the video below.

3. Create the right social media content

Once you’ve decided on one or more social media platforms and your social media profiles have the most up-to-date information, it’s time to create content that appeals to your followers, motivates them to continue interacting with you, and makes it easy to book your venue. 

The key here is to approach content from the customers’ perspective. Create posts that focus on the things they care about. The words you use can make a big difference. Saying “Book now for spring 2021 events,” is centered around your business and what you want. Changing your text to “Get a 10% discount on your spring 2021 event deposit,” gives the customers something they want and an incentive to take action. If you are encouraging customers to make an event inquiry, make sure you are using the lead form link in those posts.

Let’s look at the types of posts that work on each social network, as well as an example from each:

Facebook 

This Facebook post from Copper Vine is a great example of how to promote private events at your venue and includes contact information for followers to take the next step.

  • Show off your business/behind the scenes
  • Post about your events business
  • Share event packages
  • Catering
  • Talk about new deals or offers
  • Go live

Instagram

This Instagram post from The Robey Chicago stands out because it promotes incentives for hotel guests and drives followers to their bio link for more information.

  • Make your venue an Instagrammable location 
  • Go live
  • Show your space
  • Show what your employees do behind the scenes
  • Use your lead form link as the link in your Instagram bio
  • Include relevant hashtags in your caption to get found by people looking for those topics

LinkedIn

Bahia Mar’s LinkedIn post has the right audience in mind – corporate clients – and shares the benefits they receive when they book with the hotel.

  • Talk about benefits for corporate clients
  • Post about corporate events
  • Cover popular topics like virtual events, hybrid events, catering, holiday parties, networking parties, and conferences
  • Show off your industry tips/knowledge 

Twitter

Amerigo Restaurants is strengthening their relationship with industry blog Thrillist in this tweet by sharing their article and tagging them in the tweet.

  • Show off your industry tips/knowledge 
  • Share curated content from industry and local publications – tag the authors
  • Reach out to publications
  • Follow the trends — look for popular, relevant hashtags and create posts that promote your venue and are relevant to the trend
  • Customer service

4. Measure your activity

Measuring the results from your social media content is necessary to find out if what you’re posting online is working. Start with the right tools:

Analytics tools and what to measure

All of the social networks have free tools that provide you with analytics on your posts and profiles. 

If you want to go beyond the free tools, there are a lot of paid social media software services to look into for even more analysis and you can use them to schedule your posts ahead of time:

Regardless of which tools you are using, here are the results you should be looking at on a regular basis to find out what’s working in your social media marketing:

  • The number of clicks your links receive — find out if social media is driving traffic to your website
  • Engagement — the likes, comments, and shares for your posts
  • The number of followers your page has — the exact number isn’t as important as seeing steady growth over time
  • Content type — find out if your links, photos, or videos are getting the most response from followers

Tripleseat reports

Tripleseat customers can use their reports to determine how social media content is impacting event leads. The number of leads and conversions will help you discover which social networks are driving the most leads and adding revenue. Make sure you are reviewing these reports:

  • Leads by Source — if you have chosen social media sources for your lead forms, the number of leads by those sources will appear here
  • Lead Details Report — also shows the source of leads and which lead forms were used for inquiries
  • Lead Conversions Report — shows a daily look at the leads by source, number of leads, conversions, and revenue.

What to do next

It’s important to look at these metrics on a regular basis to get a good understanding of the content that’s working and if it’s getting you the results you want. Check your analytics tools during the week to get a feel for what your followers are responding to, but make time once a month to give your metrics a deep dive.

Create a spreadsheet to track the metrics you’re focusing on and update it monthly. Compare the numbers to the previous month and previous quarters of the year. Make note of the topics and types of content that perform the best and use those lessons to create more of what works. If you got the results you wanted, take what works, and make it even better for the next month. If you didn’t, it’s time to try something new with your content.

Get a jumpstart on 2021 

It doesn’t matter whether your business has been in the social media game for a while, if you’re just starting, or you’re ready for a refresh. The new year is always a great time to take stock of your marketing and find ways to make it even better. Get the right social networks, the right content, and the right tools in place and you’ll be set up for a successful 2021.

Register now for Tripleseat’s Hospitality Event Sales and Marketing Summit on Wednesday, Jan. 13, and Thursday, Jan. 14 to learn how to develop a marketing-driven approach to your sales enablement strategy. We designed this four-part series with event sales and restaurant marketing managers in mind, but other marketers, as well as restaurant owners and general managers, can benefit from learning the principles involved in this approach to sales enablement.

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