During his press conference on Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb laid out his roadmap for the State of Indiana to get #BackOnTrack and reopen the economy following his stay-at-home order. But the roadmap has a lot of twists and turns based on industry and location, so let’s take a closer look at how this impacts the hospitality industry in Indiana.
Instagram has entered the territory of “must” rather than “nice-to-have” when it comes to social marketing for businesses. There are a few key reasons why every business should have an Instagram account, and why you’re going to be pretty left out if you don’t get on this social platform.
1. Skyrocket Your Engagement
The data shows that Instagram is the #1 platform for getting post engagement.
That means that if you want to establish a relationship with your client base (which you do), then you’re going to need that post engagement that only Instagram can provide.
But let’s back it up for a second…
It’s an interesting time to be involved in social media marketing… Facebook is facing major allegations, and as a result—people are doing crazy things like starting movements to delete their Facebook accounts… (For my sake, and the sake of your distant relatives, please do not delete your facebook). As much as internet trolls might have you think that it’s the social media Armageddon, I assure you that life will go on.
It might be looking a little overcast in the internet landscape, but before we pack our bags —there’s still some hope. Facebook’s more charismatic and adopted little brother (Instagram) still has users entranced with its purity and boasts a pristine opportunity for brands who are ready to stir up the marketing pot.
Now, Instagram is the #1 platform for post engagement because its focus on visual content creates a very unique space for brands to interact with others—and if you’re a skeptic, the numbers don’t lie. According to a study conducted by Forrester, Facebook and Twitter organic post engagement levels are currently less than 0.1%. In comparison, the millennial-centric Instagram boasts regular engagement at 4% for brands. (That’s 40x better, by the way).
2. Grow Your Following with Ease
80 percent of Instagram accounts already follow a business on Instagram, and 65% of top-performing posts feature products. The translation here is obvious, Instagrammers want to see branded content, and they want to connect with brands.
Add the engagement levels for brands (4%) that we just saw and we have the optimal landscape for growing your branded following on this platform.
3. Generate Leads
Instagram is a tool for lead generation.
We know that social media strongly influences purchase decisions, even if that is at the subconscious level of the consumer decision-making process.
It’s 2018, and our favorite lead generation tool (Facebook) is making algorithm changes that are making it harder for brands to get heard. With engagement rates already resting around the 0.1% mark, it just might be the ideal time to expand your reach to include some Instagram marketing.
With Instagram, 60% of users have first heard of a product or service through the platform, and over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, or called/emailed/direct messaged a business as a result of their engagement with the platform (sproutsocial). That means that 120 million Instagrammers have been lead to a business through the platform.
You can easily use Instagram to generate new business and sales with strategic content and links in your bio, as well as reach new targeted and engaged audiences through paid ad campaigns through the Facebook ad platform.
4. Stay On Top of “Instagram Reviews”
A little-known fact is that when an Instagram user posts something on Instagram and uses a location tag, this tag isn’t owned or regulated by the business that owns the physical location. All location tags on Instagram, or “Instagram Geotags”,” are tied to a separate public account that Instagram will store posts under.
For businesses, this is a blessing and a curse.
Best Case Scenario:
Say you own a local restaurant and you have numerous dedicated and consistent customers who love to post at your restaurant and have nothing but glowing words to accompany beautiful pictures of your space. When others look at your location on Instagram, this is what they see, and they are that much more likely to convert and become loyal customers as well.
Worst Case Scenario:
You own the same local restaurant, but one dissatisfied customer took it upon themselves to post a picture of your front door exclaiming their disgust with the service that they received. This post has lingered on the web and likely dissuaded other customers from posting to the location, and has resulted in the loss of unknown amounts of revenue through prospects who steered away from your business as a result.
Although you have no control over the things that users might be saying about your brand (much like standard reviews), you can still help mitigate some possible damages by having a branded Instagram account and monitoring the posts on your location. Much like negative reviews left on other review platforms, by responding to negative Instagram posts, you are much more likely to prevent harm to your reputation.
5. Don’t Get Left Behind
As of 2017, nearly 71% of businesses in the United States were already using Instagram. The release of Instagram business profiles and the ability to to run ads/analytics with ease have been large factors in driving the Instagram growth movement.
You may notice that this looks like an exponential growth graph, and that’s probably because it is. Fortunately for you, just because 71% of these businesses are using Instagram doesn’t mean that these businesses are using it to its full potential.
We can make a pretty good estimate as to where this usage rate is going to reside by the end of 2018, so don’t get left behind.
Don’t wait, get started on your Instagram strategy today to generate new leads, amplify your brand, and build new business!
Honing Steel Hospitality has a new home! We’ve moved our offices into the historic Circle Tower building on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. As part of the Level Office co-working suite, our private office’s address is:
Honing Steel Hospitality
55 Monument Circle, Office #713
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Want to visit our new office and see our wonderful view of Monument Circle, while learning more about what a partnership with Honing Steel Hospitality can do your business? Contact us today!
About Level Office
Level Office offers fully furnished, amenity-rich workspaces with direct fiber internet & WiFi in prime locations so businesses can thrive. With budget-friendly private offices, office suites, dedicated desks, coworking memberships, virtual offices and daily offices, Level Office is perfect for small businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and companies expanding into a new city or looking for an impressive new office space.
When clients rent an office space at Level Office, they’re not only getting a physical workspace—fully furnished with desk and chair, direct fiber internet and WiFi, and company logo display—but access to tons of on-site amenities and entrepreneurial community! Our communal lounge areas and coworking space are available to all Level Office members and feature a fully-stocked kitchen, espresso bar, and local beer on tap, as well as an array of great networking events. Plus, our all-inclusive pricing means that mail service, 24/7 secured access, and taxes and utilities are already included in clients’ rent.
As the fastest-growing owner-operator of shared workspace nationwide, Level Office takes pride in renovating and improving historic buildings with the latest technologies and amenities, all while keeping rents 30-50% lower than other coworking providers. Our clients love the vibrant community within Level Office, and we encourage clients to do business with one another through networking events, Lunch & Learns, and happy hours.
About Circle Tower
Completed in 1930, Circle Tower overlooks downtown Indianapolis’ prestigious Monument Circle and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A prime example of Art Deco architecture, this unique building features a ziggurat crown, Art Deco sculptures, and bronze grilles with hieroglyphic images.
Overlooking the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle, the historic Circle Tower boasts one of the city’s most prestigious addresses. Restaurants, hotels, nightlife, and nearby parking abound, making it the perfect location for networking lunches or meetings with clients. In addition, the building’s proximity to Washington Street, I-65, I-70, and multiple local bus lines makes it easy for commuters to get in and out of the city.
Circle Tower was designed by the firm of Rubush & Hunter, and built to house prime office space, with commercial storefronts on the ground floor. Faced in smooth-dressed Indiana limestone, the building rises to stepped back top stories, ziggurat-like upper stories that recede from the outer façades in terraces, punctuated by Art Deco sculptures.
Each pier top is ornamented with capital blocks carved as stylized foliate panels. The north entrance has a massive one and one-half story arch lined with foliate banding. The ziggurat crown, sculpture façade panels, granite sculptures of the arched entryway, and the design of the interior lobby, elevators, and street-floor shops are highly illustrative of the Art Deco style.
Circle Tower was completed only eight years after archeologist Howard Carter’s sensational discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. The intricate bronze screen over the north entry arch reflects the widespread interest in Egyptology at the time. Sculptor Joseph Willenborg filled the bronze grille with hieroglyphic-like images, stylized into the Deco mode.
Sites like Yelp, Google Reviews and Zomato are dominating the digital landscape and telling your potential customers where to go. Make sure your raving fans are sharing their love for your restaurant online.
Capture Contact Info
Before you learn how to capture a positive review, you’ll need a strategy to avoid negative reviews:
- Place a survey card on each table. Don’t pass the card out with the check; put the survey card in a card holder where it is visible and easy to see. Ask your server team to refer to the survey card and encourage patrons to fill it out.
- Keep the survey brief (no more than five questions) with check-the-box options to make it easy and convenient. Give them a contact info section where they can enter a drawing for a prize, such as a gift card for a free appetizer, free dessert, etc.
Once you’ve captured the contact information of your raving fans, create a follow-up email campaign that asks them to review your restaurant on other sites. Provide links to the sites in the email to make it easy for them and offer rewards for bringing in a copy of their online review the next time they dine.
Not a fan of the card method? No problem. Retailers have been using online surveys and contests in exchange for contact information with great success. For example, while large companies like Home Depot have their own survey sites, you can use survey tools like SurveyMonkey, or an experienced digital hospitality consultant can assist you with a custom survey feature on your website.
While many people use third-party sites to read reviews, if your restaurant has a landing page dedicated to reviews that appear in the search results, it will get traffic.
Looking for a creative tip? Personalize the page with patron photos and images. Invite your mom to star in her personal photo shoot and review! Be sure to use the caption “Sincerely, Mom,” or use the parent of a chef, hostess or lead server.
Respond to Social Media
If you already have a reputation management strategy in place to deal with negative reviews, it will be easy to implement a policy toward the positive reviews. Whenever someone gives your restaurant a five-star rating, make a comment and ask them to review your restaurant on another site as well. Be sure to thank them, include a link to your restaurant page on the review site, and offer to give them a photo shoot for your reviews page the next time they visit.
Getting positive online reviews for your restaurant isn’t difficult; it just takes a little effort backed strategy and creativity.
As people are increasingly spending more time with their eyes glued to screens, it’s vital to have a social media strategy in place. With so many different platforms out there, it’s imperative to know how to use them all and be able to cater to each one’s nuances.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t underestimate the use of social media for your business marketing strategy.
1. Reach a Greater Audience Organically
In the United States alone, over half of all small businesses increased their social media marketing budgets this year. People all around the world are now more glued to their personal screens than ever before, with Facebook statistics today showing there are more than 1.2 billion users.
2. Create a Loyal Community
People are often more willing to buy from a brand that they feel a connection with. Nowadays, this means a digital connection — when they are subscribed to your social media channels, you can personally interact with them and meet their needs.
3. Advertise for Free
Besides the many free platforms out there, you can get your most loyal customers to advertise for you, at no cost at all. When they are genuinely interested or convinced that your product is the best, they are likely to share it among their own social network. And your reputation grows. And so your marketing efforts can be more targeted and efficient while costing you much less in the long run.
Proper Planning and Investment
However, in order for your social media marketing plan to be effective, you must be willing to put in the time, research and initial investment. Don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time in the beginning learning how various platforms work, updating your tools and apps, and getting to know the world of digital marketing.
Then later, once your business is up and running, you will have an easier time managing your digital networks and seeing results. Today, more than ever, social media is more important and essential for businesses. But the key is planning a strategy that works for you and your market.
Need help with formulating your next social media strategy? For more advice, tips and digital consultation, call us today.