Part 2 – Engage, engage, engage!
Today’s consumer lives & thrives off the social element of eating and drinking; endless photos and videos are shared across multiple platforms to exemplify little (or big) moments in your venue. From documenting the iconic pop of Champagne to a simple post that shows a bottle of red being shared between friends, or a slow-mo video of their waiter pouring a carafe, the wonderful, social world of #wine has many faces and ‘show worthy’ moments. With this knowledge at hand, you need to seize every opportunistic spotlight and run with it, starting with the basics of building a professional Instagram account to scream & shout about your booming business wins!
Now, this isn’t to say you should unload the responsibility onto your youngest team member and forget about it; with 45% of those 65 and older regularly using and accessing social media, we’re here to tell you it really couldn’t be easier. And, having been voted the number one social media app for engagement with restaurant brands, you’d be crazy not to give it an honest go (not to mention, it’s free)!
In our first installation of this social media blog series – which, if you missed, we highly recommend you give it a read here – we fully briefed you on what to post and show off about yourself. In this article, we explore a handful of reasons as to why you need to (and should) take your social media game one step further by engaging with and showing off others – more specifically, what your customers choose to say and share about their experience with you (and your wine service)!
Share, repost, and/or ‘regram’ your customers’ photos – frequently. This can be done in a variety of ways, whether it be via your Instagram story or direct to your own timeline; following these steps will help you secure your sharing stardom. Whether it’s a cool, artistic glass of wine shot or the classic ‘cheers’ boomerang (you’re bound to have seen this iconic cheering of wine glasses on your feed at some point), there is always fresh wine & Champagne content rolling through your feed to engage with!
Consumer behavior reports from YouGov found that half of Americans (50%) take a photo of their meal before eating. These savvy snappers are pretty much GIVING YOU free content to share and utilize…it would be a sin not to! Find photos, stories, videos, and comments you have been tagged in (by following these simple steps) and share away! This type of engagement is simple, easy to master, requires little to no time or effort, and makes your guests feel seen, appreciated, and included. N.B. Be sure to always credit the original owner of the content! Read more about the importance of tagging and crediting here.
This is a great, invaluable way to show your followers what a true experience at your venue is like while, at the same time, serving to break that ‘staged’ perception of Instagram as a space that only shows what is ‘perfect.’ Real-life snapshots and videos (by real people) capture true, in-the-moment experiences and demonstrate that someone else (cough, cough, not the owner) has really enjoyed dining with you & sipping your wine.
Before moving on to our next tip, we should also probably mention the importance of displaying your Instagram handle (your username) as often and as frequently as possible! Make it easy for your guests to find and tag your profile by featuring and promoting your handle at the bottom of your menu, on your specials board, on flyers or mirrors in the bathrooms (we all know someone who loves a bathroom selfie!)… Essentially, anywhere you can flaunt your IG handle & encourage a post or a share… go for it!
You may even want to take it one step further and start your own customized hashtags – read more on that here.
Ask and you shall receive
Engagement doesn’t just end there. Instagram for example is the perfect avenue to create a two-way dialogue between you and your guests, or you and your suppliers. Ask light-hearted questions, encourage responses, and converse with as much interaction as you possibly can. Showcase upcoming promotions and use them as added layers of engagement; ask for input and feedback, make it fun and effortless! People are more likely to have a memorable impression of your business if they can actively participate in/on your page.
Pose an open-ended question on one of your posts like ‘What are your favorite wines this season?’ to help gauge your guests’ preferences. From there, you can actually use this information to better cater to consumer likes and tastes. You may discover a crowd favorite wine or cocktail amongst your comment sections. Use responses to feature some of the wines they have suggested on your feed or in your stories. Giving your followers this space to interact and comment is a fun, painless, and easy method of user engagement that also gives way to more content – winning!
At the end of the day, asking questions will spark engagement which you can never have too much of in the world of social media!
Let the voting begin
Speaking of active participation, polls are another means of collecting ideas and inspiration directly from your audience. Customers, suppliers, experts (and non-experts) can play a role in helping you choose, say, the name of your new Champagne cocktail – they are, after all, the ones you are trying to cater to.
Perhaps even easier than posing a question, the two-option poll button on Instagram allows you to present your followers with ‘this or that’ style responses. You may, for example, create a story with text that reads ‘What wine are we feeling this Friday?’ and, using the poll option, give your audience the ability to vote on two options. You can even get their input for your specials board: “Are we feeling a new….” with the option to vote for either a ‘Champagne cocktail’ or ‘Winter Sangria’ – this of course can be tailored to any season, but you get the idea! As the votes start to roll in, you can check who voted, how many votes you’ve gotten for each answer on your poll, and then share the final voting percentages with your viewers at the end. Again, easy, interactive, and free engagement!
With this knowledge to hand, try incorporating polls into your Instagram stories and let the debates begin! (Steps and guidance for Instagram polling can be found here.) And hey, even if you don’t agree with the outcome, you’ve given your followers reason to feel included and important…just don’t tell them you disagree with them!
It is also worth noting, there is also an interactive quiz sticker on Instagram that allows you to share trivia-style multiple-choice questions with your followers and track the results. With this feature, you can write out your own question and customize the answer choices — you can add up to four (or as few as two) possible answers. After viewers select an answer, the “correct” answer is highlighted in green.
Now you may be thinking, hold on, why would my followers care about a quiz…but again, you can utilize this tool in a variety of ways both to engage and educate your guests!
Quiz questions and content can go down a variety of different routes! From food & wine pairing selections, to quizzing about facts and figures pertaining to your most popular wines, all the way to quizzing about wine terminology, or the vineyard/distributor who supplies your wine. Look at the quiz function as a means to educate your followers about the obvious, the not-so obvious, and everything in between!
When it comes to the topic of engagement, your social media presence is imperative as it can drive numbers and bookings! When you begin to understand just how much of an influence social media can have on your customers’ food & drink preferences, you begin to realize the importance of motivating your followers to engage and interact with you online as much and as often as you can.
Wine (and by extension, food) is incredibly diverse in terms of flavor, pairings, and appeal; it attracts a wide, expansive audience and is often a hugely overlooked asset in terms of customer interest…until now (we hope).
In your endeavors to improve your online user engagement, never underestimate the power of a share, a repost, a tag, a mention – the more food and drink-related content you can recycle, the better. Plus, your followers will appreciate the recognition & it creates more wholesome, user-friendly content for your page.
Also, don’t be afraid to embrace the question, quiz, and poll options available on Instagram. Whether you have a food and wine aficionado or simply a follower who enjoys a good glass of red from time to time, these small prompts to ‘get involved’ are an all-for-one method that jazz up your stories. These powerful tools are excellent marketing arsenals that allow you to gather information while, simultaneously, interacting with your audience!
With 45 percent of U.S. consumers learning about their dining choices through social networks, this simply reinforces the whole you really had to be there concept – and in this instance, ‘there’ is your comment section! Stay competitive & show potential guests you care by replying to as much as you can: reviews, queries, questions, complaints, every interaction will invite attention in some way, shape, or form.
Our next & final installment of the series will look at and explore the importance of keeping your socials up to date. Keep an eye out for our follow-up article to learn more.
Looking for even more top tips on how to maximize your service? … You can check out our other articles here.