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BII Christmas Checklist: Website & Social Media tips

Your festive menus are ready, your bookings are coming in and your decorations are waiting in the wings, but just as important as your customers’ experience in your pub at Christmas is how you appear online.

1) The customer’s digital journey

Google your pub to check what your customers see when they try to find you. As well as having your contact details and website details up to date and correct, use the Add Special Hours option to highlight any extensions to your usual hours. For example, you may be opening early on Boxing Day – this is the place to advertise that fact. Also consider adding your Christmas offer to your description – those 140ish characters that show up under your listing. Once updated, check that Google hasn’t put a ‘read more’ link in the middle of your offer.


2) View your website through a customer’s eyes

Open your website using both a phone and a laptop so you see how it looks on both devices. By now you should have your Christmas menu typed up and available to download. If this is on a ‘food’ page, make sure you link to it and mention it on the homepage as well – customers won’t bother clicking three or four times to find it. Even better is to have a tab or click through on your homepage taking customers to an entire page dedicated to Christmas and New Year. You can include your opening hours, details of any entertainment, party packages or special offers, online booking (if you have it) and/or a dedicated Contact Us form for party booking requests. Google will thank you for having all this content on a separate page with a boost to your rankings for people searching for Christmas related pub terms in your area. Also worthy of note here – put a reminder in your diary/on your phone for January to take down this information after the event.&nb


3) Social Media channels

Starting with Facebook and Twitter, there are two things you can do quickly and simply in the run up to Christmas. One is to update your header image to reflect your Christmas offer, the other is to pin a post about your offer to the top of your profile. When updating your header, again make a reminder to change it to something more relevant after Christmas. When you pin a post to your profile, it’s placed at the top of your page (which is otherwise in chronological order), meaning it’s more likely to be seen by people visiting your page. If you’ve hired entertainment, make sure they know to promote the event as well to their followe


4) Hashtags

Consider creating a hashtag for your pub’s events and promote it along with the event. This encourages customers posting to social media to use your hashtag, making it easier for you to find all the posts about your event later. You can search for this hashtag on Twitter and Instagram then share some of them on Facebook. Give credit to whoever took the photo/gave the feedback, tagging them where possible.


5) Encourage positive reviews

With Christmas being a generous, positive time of year, it’s a great opportunity to ask customers to write you a review. Perhaps not as they leave, after enjoying your hospitality for a few hours, but a friendly email to the organiser a couple of days after their meal would be a nice touch. A run of positive reviews in December could give you a boost in the rankings come January. They’re also great to use when promoting next year’s events. 


6) Get your customers involved

Get your customers posting on Instagram and Facebook and encourage them to keep coming back during December with some simple social media challenges – for example the best festive jumper pic each week or worst cracker joke gets a free bottle of champagne. Keep it simple and use your hashtags to make it easy to see what has been posted each week. 


7) Video

Video is increasingly easy to produce and gets boosted by most of the popular social media sites so it is seen by more people. Plan in a run of video clips in the weeks leading up to Christmas – these can be anything from speeded-up clips of your Chef making mince pies, to a slow-motion replay of someone pulling a cracker, to clips of live music or special events and parties. Most modern phones now take good enough quality video to be used on your website and social media accounts and allow you to edit video, or add simple special effects. If you are not confident with video there will be someone on your team who is, so delegate the project to them.