As we move into the second half of 2019, I am out and about talking to clients in the beer, food and hospitality industries and it is striking me that we as an industry are merely scratching the surface of the potential for digital and social marketing. We are still doing this piecemeal rather than as a well joined-up, oiled machine, producing constant measurable activity which drives your business.
Here are my top tips/areas to focus on in the coming 6-12 months:
Not many food and drink businesses are using You Tube to great effect but with 23m active monthly users in the UK and far longer viewing times than the usual social media channels, it is a fantastic way to tell your story, showcase products and create longer form content that educates, entertains and/or helps people who are watching. For example, you could start a TV style show which reviews your beers; you could showcase food and drink pairings on your menu or let people into your business -meeting your suppliers, teams, frontline employees and your customers. You would also want to stick a bit of money behind your posts to ensure you are seen in the searches you want to appear in.
It is non-negotiable now that you need someone on your team who can constantly video, edit and post lots and lots of content. This sounds overwhelming, however by shooting all day every day you will have so much to post and then it becomes an editing job vs a content creation job. Documenting your brand, product, human and company story is now what people want/demand to see.
Why have a social/marketing team of one or a few people when you can engage your whole team to post about your brand, products and people all day every day. All you need to do is find out who is up for it. Decide what types of things you would like them to post, train them up and then add a confessional hashtag saying #iworkhere or #employee.
The messaging apps of What’s App and Facebook Messenger are now bigger than Facebook itself in terms of monthly active users. What’s App is a must look into for your business where you can broadcast to your most loyal customers and instantly communicate with them. Your open rate can be 90% vs 17% from promotional emails and the click through rate is said to be 35% as opposed to 3% from promotional emails. It’s a no brainer. Also using What’s App status (give it a try) enables you to communicate even more text and image based ‘story’ style messages to your signed up community. There is lots more to come from What’s App so do keep an eye out and start playing with it and testing it today.
Lastly Voice (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod) is not coming, it is here. So the big question is are you using it, do you have a strategy in terms of how you will ensure you are front of mind when people are searching and buying with voice and are you investing in the platforms at the other end to ensure you are top / preferred or default search when someone asks Alexa for Good Pubs, Local Beer, Delivery of Food or Book a Restaurant? I would be starting to get all of that sorted asap.
Best of luck for the rest of 2019!
Mark McCulloch is one of the leading Food, Drink and Hospitality brand and marketing minds in Europe.
Twitter & Instagram: @supersonic_inc