One of the best parts of working for Tripleseat is the conversations we have with customers.
We’re eager to hear about what’s going on in the restaurant and events industries. We love helping them learn to use Tripleseat to streamline their event management. And we’re happy to talk to them about questions they have about running a successful events business.
Marketing is a topic that comes up a lot in these questions, and that’s why we’ve got a marketing panel on the agenda for our upcoming EventCamp conference for restaurant and hotel sales and event professionals. If you haven’t registered, check out the EventCamp site to purchase tickets and to view session descriptions. We’ve invited the panelists to share their tips for three common marketing questions we’ve been hearing from event professionals.
The panelists are Lindsay Higgins, founder of L2L Creative Group, and Jeannine O’Neil, founder of JO Social Branding, and they’ll be participating in the How to Get Results with Email, Social Media, and Other Digital Marketing Tools panel at EventCamp.
1. There are so many options for marketing tools: email marketing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, blogs, and more. What are the top 2 or 3 tools that restaurants should be using to drive more business and why?
Lindsay: The number one tool I would recommend would be a calendar. It seems so simple, but it helps to properly plan your promotions. We have various Excel spreadsheet calendars built for our clients so we can reference what we did last year for marketing then use that to brainstorm what we could do this year. For online tools, at minimum, every restaurant should be utilizing Facebook to publish events at the restaurant, posting foodie photos on Instagram, and using software like Constant Contact for email marketing.
Jeannine: I would say email is the number one marketing tool that all restaurants should have. It is a fantastic way to build a repertoire with your customers, stay in touch, drive more business, and control the conversation. I also see the value of having a presence on Facebook and Instagram. I would use these two platforms to attract new customers and drive business to your location. Facebook and Instagram ads are very powerful and can help you target the audience you are looking to attract. From there, I would get them to your location and entice them to join your list to stay in touch and generate repeat business.
2. What is the one marketing trend that restaurants should be paying attention to in 2018 and why?
Lindsay: Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm are constantly changing, meaning if you have 3,000 followers, not every one of those followers will see your posts. In 2018, stay ahead of your competition by implementing a strategy to engage your audience through open-ended questions, contests, and commenting back to customers.
Jeannine: Messaging apps. I have seen more and more customers take to Facebook Messenger to communicate with a business over picking up the phone and calling or sending an email. Facebook has been rapidly developing Messenger and WhatsApp as a customer service option for businesses. These apps are something organizations should think more clearly about incorporating into their online marketing strategy.
3. How do I make marketing part of my regular daily routine when I have so much going on?
Lindsay: Our company plans marketing for our clients least one month in advance to stay ahead of trending holidays and events so we can pair the right images with our posts and create the right promotion. Even if you don’t plan ahead a month in advance, it helps to at least take 20 minutes or so every Sunday to see what is coming up to jump on key trends that will be popular on social media.
Jeannine: Planning is key with online marketing. Having a content calendar that takes into account holidays, popular times of the year and upcoming marketing promotions will not only help you tighten up your marketing, but it will allow you to prepare ahead of time and help you feel more in control. Of course, “being in the moment” is one of the key benefits of social media and what makes it unique, so I wouldn’t plan or schedule everything. I would suggest training your staff on the type of content to capture for your social media accounts. For instance, if there is a party trying to take a group picture, have the staff member offer to take the picture and then ask permission to take one for the restaurant as well. This will help personalize the content, make it relatable to your followers, and give you something original to share on your social media feeds.
Get more tips
If you’re attending EventCamp on Tuesday, April 10 in Boston, don’t miss the How to Get Results with Email, Social Media, and Other Digital Marketing Tools panel. You can reach Lindsay on Twitter at @LindsayJHiggins or reach her through the L2L Creative Group website. Contact Jeannine via Twitter at @Jeannine_Oneil or via the JO Social Branding site. You can also find more advice in our blog posts on marketing for the events industry on the Tripleseat blog.