Adapting Your Social Media Content in the Age of COVID-19
In a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, governments all over the world have enacted an increasing list of rules, restrictions and guidelines, often with very little notice. Of course, this has been a huge hit for the hospitality industry, with cafe, restaurants and bars having to halt in-venue dining and pivot to takeaway or delivery services or other streams of revenue.
Yet, despite the fact that your customers may not physically be in your venue, you can still keep their attention on your brand and offerings through social media! After all, with whole populations having been ordered to stay at home, not only do people have more time than ever to spend scrolling, but they are actively looking for virtual ways to connect with others, entertain and educate themselves.
So, how can you make the most of this increased activity on social media? Keep reading for our top ideas on our to keep your social media interesting and engaging for your audience during these precarious times.
Post Updates & Reminders
The main aim of organic posting on social media is to connect with audiences who already follow you and are interested in what you’re doing. With that in mind, use your social media to give your followers updates on changes in your business such as trading hours, new takeaway options, ordering processes and your delivery partners. Make sure that these posts are clear so that you customers know where to find the information they are looking for, and also to avoid any disappointment! Using stories highlights is a good tool for this, as you can remove old information or add new, relevant information as necessary.
Something that is especially important during this time is to make your customers feel comfortable and safe by outlining what you’re doing to ensure that the food they’re consuming is prepared in a clean and safe environment. What have you changed in terms of food hygiene and safety? What are you doing to ensure social distancing rules are being respected? Whatever it is, make sure your customers know and are reassured.
Show Some Friendly Faces!
If you’re a small, local cafe or restaurant, chances are that you’ve got some regular customers who know you, your staff and your business well, and who also follow you on social media. Give your customers a feel of normalcy by getting your staff in front of the camera (if they are willing) and showing your audience a friendly face! You could do a quick Q&A about aspects of your business, such as which of your new takeaway dishes they recommend, ask them what they’re doing to stay sane in this crazy period, or perhaps even have them learn and perform a TikTok dance, just for a laugh!
With more time spent indoors, people are definitely looking to get their creative juices flowing and this includes getting creative in the kitchen! Follow the example of some of the world’s best chefs including, Massimo Bottura and Jamie Oliver, and both entertain and educate your followers by posting step-by-step recipe and tutorial videos, or tips and tricks from your venue’s kitchen. These could be a walk through of your venue’s signature dishes, or perhaps your favourite home-cooking recipe that uses up those scraps in the pantry. Or why not host an interactive, live-streaming session where your chefs suggest substitutions for hard to find ingredients? Given Instagram’s live-streaming capabilities and interactive features on stories, the best part is that anyone and everyone can participate. All you need is your phone!
Go Behind the Scenes
When customers visit your cafe or restaurant, it’s rare that they would see beyond the dining area. Take this opportunity to give your audience a behind-the-scenes tour of the parts of your venue they may have never seen before! Do you have a herb garden attached to the restaurant? How about any cool gadgets in the kitchen? Now is your chance to show it all off and tell your customers the detailed story of your brand and business!
Expand Your Content Pillars
When your offering options are limited and it’s not a great time to show images of a restaurant bustling with people, it’s a good idea to think about what else you can post, whilst still keeping your posts on brand and in line with your venue. For example, are you a dog-friendly establishment? Go through your old photos and start posting images of #dogsof[yourcafe] for some light entertainment! Or do you normally host a live-music session at your bar every week? Share a playlist of similar music for your followers to enjoy! When thinking about what else you could base your content on, just be mindful that it should still have a relevant connection. Don’t confuse your followers by posting something completely random!
Connect with Media, Influencers and Publications
In times of crisis, communities often band together to form a community and support those hardest hit. Now is no different with many food bloggers, journalists, influencers, magazines and radio shows offering a helping hand to give shoutouts to local businesses fighting to survive. Don’t be afraid to reach out and offer a collaboration, pitch your chef for an interview or tag them in your IG stories! In doing so, these other entities can help you create content (that you can also later repost) and expand your potential customer base.
Start a Challenge!
No doubt you’ve seen the ‘See 10, do 10’ pushup challenge or these Q&A question templates floating around on Instagram stories, so why not start your own? All you need to do is come up with a theme or concept that relates to your venue or business and that would appeal to others, tag some people and off you go! Done purely for entertainment, there are pretty much no rules here, so the possibilities are endless!