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We sat down with Thwaites’ Social Media Executive, Carmelo Ruggieri, to discuss how pubs can use social media and find out how tenants can benefit from the platforms to share, advertise and promote their business.
At Thwaites, there’s been a significant shift in the approach to social media and Carmelo now carries out site visits, with the format varying from group training to one on one advice. The latter provides an in-depth approach and an opportunity to identify and resolve issues. With every pub so different, the use of social media creates plenty of opportunities to share your business online.
“The new format of training pubs across six days per quarter, one for each area business manager, means our support is more tailored towards specific topics. It’s important to showcase your pub and establish your unique selling points.”
Understanding why people use social media, together with considering their online habits, are great ways to target your paid advertisements. Connecting with one another, seeking out new interests and keeping up-to-date with news, are some of the most common reasons people engage with social platforms.
“Facebook’s attitude has changed, moving more to a person to person approach. Its focus is on making content more conversational and interactive.”
How do I Promote my Pub on Social Media?
There are two ways you can advertise on Facebook. The first, ‘boosting’, is a way of adding budget to an organic post (meaning it was originally posted as an unpaid status update) to reach more people (on average, Facebook shows your organic posts to only 0.2% of your likers, and ‘boosting’ lets you expand that reach).
The second is to use Facebook’s built-in Ad Manager tool to get your advert to show in more places on Facebook’s platform (for example, the news feed or, the right-hand side of the page on a desktop computer), therefore increasing exposure. Experiment with the range of demographic and location targeting options to make your paid posts as specific as you want.
Some facts to consider for advertising:
• On Facebook, a video generates 1,200% more shares than a text and image combined post
• 70% of Facebook traffic is mobile, so think about your formatting. A portrait layout is the best option
• We remember 10% of what we hear after three days, but if you include an image, that figure jumps to 65%
Spend time perfecting your social media presence and sharing interesting posts to connect with your customers instantly. If you’re focusing on one platform, Facebook is the most popular with the highest volume of users.
As a business that relies directly on consumers, your content has to be engaging and make people want to step through your pub door.
What should you think about when creating your original content?
• Personality is great to get across – highlighting newsworthy moments, the team behind the bar, pub lifestyle, and community elements, are topics to consider
• Drinks images need a strong composition with a strong background that creates a sense of theatre
• Food images need to capture the texture of the dish, so getting up close will work, and, a full plate always works better
• Dog photos work well for humour and appeal to a substantial part of the consumer market
• Weather posts provide seasonal content
“Using elements of your entire business will showcase your unique character. You need to stand out and offer quality to elevate your online offering.
Don’t be afraid to be inspired by ideas from other industry leaders as it will reflect what’s attracting interest.”
A great example can be the promotion of sporting events at your pub. Sharing and engaging with content from a significant sporting distributor will provide you with a new, broader audience. Use your comment on their content to bring the relevance back to your pub within the post.
User-generated content (content provided by your followers, rather than posted by you) is brilliant as it can act as a testimonial or ‘vote of confidence’ for your business. Just make sure to ask for permission and always credit the user if you share it. More likely than not, you won’t have any problems as people love to feel part of the business.
When should you share? Timing can be everything for exposure and interaction. Between 11 am – 1 pm is the optimal time you should share your pub’s content.
It’s good to plan your content, schedule your timings and get into the habit of uploading. This will keep your content regular and your engagement high. We’d recommend one post a day – every day. Just remember to keep your posts varied.
Reviews, whether good or bad, mention your business directly, and on social media can be shared quickly. It’s good practice to monitor reviews and always respond. Showcasing yourself as a responsive business and dealing face to face with all reviews displays strong ownership and care for the customer’s experience.
“Always personalise any response by using keywords from the consumer’s initial review. If they’re talking about customer service, be sure to mention this in your response and use the words ‘customer service’. This works for both good and bad feedback as you can make the consumer feel like you’ve listened to their specific concerns.”
When responding to less favourable reviews, you need to be specific with your reply, acknowledge their concerns, and show sympathy for their negative experience. Reassurance that the issue has been addressed is the confirmation that consumers are looking for.
Using a hashtag allows conversation around your business. The hashtag can connect your online community and make it easier to share experiences by hashtagging back to you.
What is a hashtag?
It’s a way of tagging your image. It creates a keyword that is searchable, and provides you, your very own category for users. For example, using the hashtag #BeerGarden on your post, will group it with other posts using that hashtag, making the content findable. Think of hashtags as a way of adding filters to your posts.
What should your hashtags be? They can be unique to keep your content findable. They could also be popular terms to keep you searchable and part of the online conversation during trending events such as #WorldCup. You could even use your pub’s name or a quirky feature of your pub. On Instagram, you can have a limit of up to 30 hashtags!
• User-generated content is a top priority
• Hashtags – identify your hashtags and get sharing
• Videos and images – be fun and diverse to engage your community
• Reuse content that gets the most engagement over time
The Thwaites Unique Licensee Induction Programme (TULIP) is a course for both operators who haven’t held a tenancy before, and for experienced operators who haven’t had training in some time. During the TULIP course, Carmelo delivers a short introduction about how to get the most from social media. This is to encourage a further meeting to develop your social output, once you’re up and running.
“As an established brewery, we have over 200 years of experience, and it’s important to us to share our knowledge to keep the industry moving forward.”
Social media is a great tool to elevate your pub and provide new opportunities for growth. With the help of a dedicated support system at Thwaites, you’ll have invaluable advice available to make the most of this popular and ever-changing marketing channel.
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