Nearly three quarters (75%) of Australians are now using social media. So it goes without saying, that not leveraging this marketing channel to engage with current and potential customers and promote your club’s bistro is a missed opportunity.

One common excuse for letting social media strategies slide is, “We’re too busy!” And certainly, with the hospitality industry being understaffed, time poor, and often operating on slim profit margin – is social media really worth the investment in time and resources?

“Yes, yes and yes,” says Brisbane-based social media consultant Mel Kettle. She says social media is imperative to creating a happy and ongoing relationship between your venue and your customers.

“Friendly customer service can make people fall in love with a brand over social media and loyal customers stay longer, spend more, cost less to serve and provide valuable feedback,” says Mel.

“Social media is about building relationships, having conversations, providing customer service and generating customer loyalty.”

Meaningful brand-to-customer relationships are now being fostered online. From direct emails to Facebook marketing, online advertising or SMS alerts, the instances of traditional face-to-face contact is becoming more and more limited. Online is not just where customers go to source information about your venue, but also to get an understanding of your brand’s ethos and atmosphere.

The audience of a club bistro or restaurant has traditionally been an older audience. Lower price points, leisure facilities, and long-standing history of the venue within the local community means that the baby boomers still see this as their ‘second home’.

However, as this generation moves on and become less frequent visitors, it’s more important than ever to focus on reviving your venue’s reputation for a younger family-oriented audience. This means connecting with them via social media. Promote your weekly menu, deals, facilities, and event details such as live music via your social media channels and customers will find it easy to consume and share.

So, where to start with your social media strategy?

“There are many platforms with new ones popping up all the time, but for most hospitality business wanting to promote their food offerings, Facebook and Instagram are the most important,” says Kettle.

Facebook and Instagram also happen to be the two most used social media platforms in Australia. Facebook is by far the most popular – preferred by 95% of social media users and with a particularly broad appeal including older users. Instagram is the next most used platform in Australia at 31% usage among our population.

Of course, there are plenty of other social media platforms vying for your attention in 2017 as well. There’s Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr…the list goes on. Social Media News Australia recently reported that Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in popularity, however the majority of Snapchat users tend to be in the 18-29 year range, while Twitter is more age balanced.

However, the recommendation is this: don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re new to introducing social media into your day-to-day marketing, start small.

When it comes to social media, your output is directly correlated to your input. The more time, effort, and money you allocated to your social media marketing, the higher the returns in regard to both engagement and spend.

Social media is a hugely powerful tool to attract and inform your ideal audience. With the clubs sector desperately needing a makeover to transition into the 21st century with families and a millennial audience, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are going to be your secret weapon to getting them in the door.

Now you know why social media is important for your club, become a Profitable Hospitality member by viewing our subscription options to discover the 12 steps you need to know to promote your club on social media.