There’s a new café popping up on just about every street corner. This is great news for consumers – but for coffee shop owners, learning how to distinguish yourself in this crowded market is vital. You need to not just keep up with all the trends, but to stay ahead of the game.
And what’s the key to this? Social media. In today’s world, you simply can’t afford to not have a social media strategy.
Do those three words terrify you? Do you have no idea where to begin with social media? Or do you already have social media accounts set up, but feel like you’re only reaching those people you guilt-tripped into following you? Remember, likes don’t count if they’re from your mum.
If that’s you, never fear: we’ve compiled a list of five social media tips every café should know.
1. Be Consistent
Most cafés have a social media account or two, but they lack consistency. Content needs to post consistently, otherwise your profiles will stagnate. Followers will become bored and, well, stop following. It’s not surprising that consistency is difficult, though, when there are so many social media platforms. Posting on every single account can seem overwhelming.
The answer to this is a posting strategy. For example: Instagram on Monday and Friday, Twitter on Tuesday and Thursday, and maybe blog on a Wednesday. As for Facebook, it’s one of the most-used platforms out there and so it should be your primary focus. Monitor it on a daily basis.
Use a posting app like Crowdfire or Hootsuite to post for you, even when you’re on the go or too busy to post. Crowdfire doesn’t do Facebook, but for Instagram and Twitter, it’s perfect. It’ can even work out when most of your followers are active and strategically post then.
Remember that social media isn’t just about posting, though: it’s also about communicating. Imagine if you complimented your friend on the new shoes they bought and they didn’t even bother to acknowledge you. You’d feel so rejected – so don’t do that to your customers. When you get new followers, go thank them. It develops a sense of trust and shows your customer that you care that they chose to follow you. When they comment on your content, reply with an honest and to the point answer.
2. Be Relevant
Would you ever find Nike posting pictures of toothpaste or Toyota posting blogs about how to make the perfect pie?
No, because that doesn’t go with the brand image. So why would you post about your baristas new sneakers or people parking badly? Your audience doesn’t care about that.
Think this is relevant? Think again – your customers don’t care about your shoes.
They want to know about your new specials, when you’ve changed you coffee blend, and when you have a new chocolate cake. So give your customers the details they need. And pay attention to their comments; that’ll tell you more about what they want to hear.
Post content your followers actually want to see.
3. Be in the Loop
As the speciality coffee industry grows, so should your café. Keep up with trends. Too many cafes have a hipster mentality of “that’s not specialty, we’re not on that”. But that’s pointless – if most of your customers want it, you should provide it.
Now by no means do you need to jump on every trend that hits – but you should make sure you know about it, see if it would appeal to your customers, and let people know about your policy.
And don’t forget to use social media. Considering stocking gluten-free snacks? Post on social media to gauge the interest. Opting to be strict on using full cream milk as opposed to alternative ones? Let your customers know, because otherwise you’ll have every vegan walking into your café asking if you have almond milk.
Keep up with trends and post accordingly.
4. Be Specific
Have you ever seen an Instagram picture and been left wondering exactly what it means? That’s the result of a lack of specificity. If you’re posting a picture of your barista’s latte art skills, explain exactly what’s happening. Post it as if you’re engaging with someone who has never heard of your café before. Don’t just assume they know it’s your barista.
When it comes to written content, like a Facebook status or a tweet, explain exactly what you mean. Try to think of any questions the customer might have and answer it. New brownies – can’t wait! could mean anything. Are you selling them? Eating them? New as in fresh out the oven or new as in a new recipe? Instead, try: We’re adding chocolate chip brownies to our menu! For only $2, these bad boys are an excellent choice with a flat white. So come get one before we run out!
5. Be Original
The internet is littered with images, videos, and everything your brain could imagine – so the only way to stand out is to be original. Your content should engage with your audience yet still be interesting enough that it stands out in the great abyss of the interweb.
When taking pictures for Instagram, don’t just snap a photo. Instead, think of your composition. Plan a shot, take it from a good angle so that there isn’t too much light (overexposed) or too little light (underexposed), and then use a good photo editing app like VSCOcam or Snapseed to edit it. And finally, post it with a cool caption.
The same goes for written content. Be witty. Be ambiguous yet still to the point. Be accurate and engaging (especially in blog posts).
Good composition? Check. Original? Check.
An original snap, it just needs an excellent caption.
Social media is great. It’s free exposure for your café. Use it well and you’ll literally see your customer base grow by the day. So follow our five steps to social media success.
Written by C. Whitby.
Perfect Daily Grind.