How hospitality companies can use social media to bounce back after the Coronavirus
By Charlie Britten
11 Jun 2020
The hospitality industry has suffered more than most in the Coronavirus industry, due to the impossibility of bringing people together in shared spaces. But social media marketing may help it recover.
There can be no doubt that the Covid-19 outbreak has had a profound impact across the whole economy. For almost all sectors, the consequences have been damaging, with some seeing reduced activity and output and others having to stop work together and put staff on furlough.
While some firms have been able to limit the impact by having their staff work from home, this is clearly impossible for the hospitality sector. Pubs, bars and function rooms have been forced to shut their doors and wait. Even the potential prospect of the opening up of outdoor spaces such as beer gardens will require a shortening of the current two-metre requirement for social distancing.
That means for the hospitality industry, income is zero for now and could be for some considerable time to come, until social distancing is at least relaxed if not removed altogether. With many pubs having closed in recent years it is inevitable more will follow, but there are ways firms can take steps themselves to survive and build for the future.
Social media marketing options
Social media marketing offers some of the best answers for any firm looking for solutions now. The online sector has been one of the very few to benefit from lockdown as people turn to their laptops and mobiles for entertainment. Netflix and Amazon have thrived as ordering online has become a way of life for many.
Using social media is something some enterprising parts of the hospitality sector have already done in various ways.
- Some have used it simply to keep in touch, such as the ongoing scenic Instagram posts of the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe, which may remind people what wonders await once they are able to holiday in the Highlands once again
- The creation of ‘virtual pubs’ has helped maintain a sense of atmosphere and community, an example being a Facebook page so popular it has actually had to recruit new staff
- There have even been cases of pub regulars setting up their own ‘virtual pub’, such as punters from the Corona Arms in Leeds
The great benefit of this is that while people are unable to actually visit these places, they will be keen to do so once the restrictions are lifted. Without this, it might be easy for people to maintain habits picked up during lockdown, such as having a drink at home.
Future social media marketing campaigns
The government has signalled its desire to begin allowing the hospitality sector to start opening up again on July 4th, with a focus on the safer outdoor environment. Given good weather, this will be an attractive summer option.
A key question is how consumers might use the opportunity. As well as being able to enjoy a drink at home after buying it in a shop, people who regularly eat out in places like pubs and clubs might have greatly expanded their home cooking skills. Therefore, some of that focus may need to be on food.
Good examples of a campaign might be:
- Online competitions with meals as prizes
- Polls on favourite meals or possible new entrants to the menu
- A focus on a positive aspect of a dish, such as local ingredients or ethical farming
These will help maintain interest and get people thinking again about eating out at their local hostelry.
What platforms are best to use?
If you are planning a social media campaign for your outlet as the easing of lockdown approaches, you can use different social media platforms in various ways. It can be useful to do different thing son various outlets, rather than relying on just one platform:
- Facebook is useful for a range of media, from photos to written posts, discussions and video
- YouTube is a great place to put a lengthy video, such as something explaining how you will keep people safe when they visit
- Instagram is good for images
- Short and snappy posts are perfect for Twitter
Don’t forget, interaction is very important on social media at any time - and especially so when people will have a myriad of questions about your re-opening arrangements.
How can BeUniqueness help you?
In these very peculiar times, we can devise something that is very specific to your hostelry and enable you to communicate effectively as you start to open up again.