Here are the BII’s Top 10 Tips for maximising the opportunity:
1. Pick a staff member who is digital savvy – the younger members of your team in particular are likely to be skilled at this – and task them with overseeing the creation of a library of digital images and videos of your pub in full party mode. Offer them a bonus if they compete the task – this can be as simple as a bottle of champagne or a cash sum added to their Christmas pay cheque.
2. Agree a brief for the project with them in advance in writing – so you may want to suggest particular images or give them an idea of how you will be using the collateral. For example, you might need 10 striking ‘party images’ that can be used generically over the year – champagne corks popping, DJ playing, party lights and decorations, a candle lit table set ready for a party or sharing platters being served by your staff. If you are including customers in the shots it is advisable to ask first if they mind them being used in your marketing, but they can be simple colourful close-ups of food, drink and decorations.
3. Make sure they have the right equipment for the job. If they have a modern camera phone the quality on most is easily good enough to use for this, but if not then you may need to provide a phone or tablet they can use. The device needs to also have a video function as well as a good quality digital camera.
4. Don’t forget video! Video is picked up and shared far more by the algorithms on Facebook, Instagram and most other social media sites now so short video clips can be even more effective in your digital marketing strategy than static photos. Videos shouldn’t be more than a few seconds long or you will lose their impact. Some pubs are even filming ‘John Lewis’ style Christmas videos now, in preparation for next year. You’ve got the tree, the decorations, the Santa outfit, so why not set up a ‘Night Before Christmas’ video shoot you can use in 2019? Your efforts can be hosted free on YouTube and sent out to customers via social media in the run up to next Christmas. If you open on Christmas Day itself you could also video the whole day, from opening presents, to welcoming customers, to closing up, and run it as a speeded up video.
5. Think about key events in 2019. Planning to launch a Rum Club? Set up some shots of your best rum drinks, bottles behind your bar or customers enjoying rums at your bar now and your marketing is already in the bag! Thinking of doing a big push on sharing platters in 2019? Now is the time to get those images and videos of customers enjoying them. And of course for Christmas 2019 you will already have a bank of marketing material to help you sell next year’s party bookings well in advance.
6. Refreshing your website for the new year. You should be updating the images on your website with the seasons so for winter the exterior of your pub in the snow, candles lit in the windows, your roaring open fire and mulled wine steaming away can all be stockpiled as images and videos to get you through the colder months.
7. New Year’s Eve. This is a huge opportunity as your pub is likely to be packed to the rafters and video of the midnight count down, images of your party in full swing, live music performances, dancing and food offering will all prove invaluable next year.
8. Get in the kitchen. Videos of your kitchen team cooking the turkey will help sell next year’s Christmas, and images of food preparation can generally be used all year round. You can even take images of some of your chef’s special dishes and later add a recipe to them and share cooking tips with your customers.
9. Testimonials. You will hopefully have some very happy customers in your pub over the festive period. Short video testimonials are a great way of promoting what you do throughout the year if customers are happy to be featured.
10. Edit away afterwards! Ask your project leader to download all the images and videos into a central library on your laptop – or use a file sharing service like Dropbox to store them without filling up your computer’s hard drive. You can edit and play around with the video clips after you have stored them, for example, have a champagne cork popping in slow motion, or a pint poured in reverse, using free video editing sites like Vimeo. Or through sites like Canva you can edit images, add wording or branding, and play around with fading or filters.