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How To: Social Media I cannot stress this next step enough when it comes to social media—get a professional photoshoot done! Spend $300-$400 and get some nice, high-res, amazing photos of your building, food, and cocktails. These can be used for websites, TV screens, social media, and pretty much anything when it comes to marketing. Without this step, the rest of your marketing efforts will suffer. I promise you. Once you have these photos, now you can post on the only remaining social media platform worth using: Instagram. Since Instagram is all visual, you could imagine your ROI if you insist on skipping the professional photoshoot step. Do not post flyers. Flyers = advertising. Human nature hates to be advertised to. When you quit advertising to people and start providing them with great looking high-res content, this is where you’ll start to see a return. Provide value, don’t advertise. If there was a TV channel devoted to commercials, would you watch it? Would anyone? Be the show, not the commercial. Customers want to see great looking, professional pictures of your steak, your cocktails, your unique building. They do not want to see your flyer with eight bullet points discussing your happy hour specials along with five lines of contact info. Once you draw their eye in with that awesome-looking signature drink photo, human nature’s curiosity will entice them to click, go to your website, learn more, and look closer without you telling them to. Behavior has evolved, and we need to keep up. My suggestion as a professional bar/ restaurant marketing expert is to not hire someone to manage your social media. Once you have the professional photoshoot done, the rest is easy. Don’t forget the “social” part of social media either. Don’t use the “spray and pray” method. Pay attention to comments and respond to questions. Interact, don’t dictate. Finally keep in mind that your social media accounts are a finite, closed audience. They are a fishbowl of people who already know you exist. Paid social media reach can bring people into your

fishbowl and increase numbers, but it is expensive. You pay Facebook for the reach and the expert to make sure it’s done correctly. Don’t forget that the entire ocean of consumers lies right outside this fishbowl. This is the audience almost all bar and restaurant owners do not address, which is insane to me. New customers do not use social media to find you. Tourists do not use social media to stumble across a bar they’ve never heard of before. Google and review sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp are where the ocean of consumers will find you. My advice is to put your money here. Make sure your online presence on these platforms ranks higher and better to your competition. This is where the real ROI lies. If you are in a tourist market, in my humble opinion, social media is as close to worthless as it gets unless you break out the wallet. Our job as marketing experts is to figure out where human nature is steering people and to meet them there—plain and simple. Since we are meeting less and less people over social media, we must adapt and pivot. This is not meant to sound negative. My job as a marketing expert is to bring as many people in the door for the least amount of money. That’s it. Social media just does not fit this model anymore using traditional methods. I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best.

Erik Shellenberger has been in the restaurant and bar industry since he was 13 years old and worked for his mother in the food and beverage department at a ski resort. Since then, he has held every position from dishwasher to bartender to marketing director and everything in between. With a decade of corporate marketing experience, he has gone from student to teacher and now runs Bar Marketing Basics ( He has quickly grown his client base from his hometown of Scottsdale, AZ to across the nation with clients as far away as Caldwell, NJ. His book, Restaurant & Bar Marketing, will be released on Amazon soon.

social media is about brand recognition &

repetition GET A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOSHOOT DONE so you can post


don’t advertise August 2018

Bar Business Magazine


Profile for Bar Business Magazine

Bar Business August 2018