And whether we are visiting brilliant pubs in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland they all have several things in common. Not only are they innovative operators who maximise the opportunity that live sport presents but they also all value and make the most of social media.
We asked our most recent BTMOTM winners for their top tips when it comes to social, here’s what they came up with…
Pick a platform
Or pick a few, but make sure you choose platforms that fit well with your style of business. It may be that you like the community feel of Facebook, the acerbic and fast-paced nature of Twitter or the visual aspect of Instagram.
Our January BTMOTM winner Lee Price, general manager at the Royal Pier in Aberystwyth, says: “The social media platforms we use that tend to engage the best for sporting events are Twitter and Facebook.
“The Twitter account is managed by me, the Facebook account is largely generated by myself and the team.”
The best accounts have a consistent voice and are regularly updated. This means you need to carefully consider who is allowed access to represent the business to the wider world.
Lee generally controls the output on Twitter and Facebook but also allows staff to interact with customers via those platforms.
For Stuart Green, at The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham, it is a more communal process.
“We use all the major platforms and we share out that responsibility among the staff,” he says.
Lee and Stuart both value the reach that social media provides, allowing them to get closer to their current customers and connect with new ones anywhere in the world.
Lee says: “Social media is hugely important to help us raise awareness with events and sport and everything on the Pier as a method of engagement.
We always want to personalise the Pier and make customers feel valued and listened to and without social media we wouldn’t be able to reach the people that we need to. It would be practically impossible.
Stuart adds: “It’s hard to gauge how it brings people in but we have seen an increase in people on social media and then we do see them in the bar.
On rugby international days we have had people from all over the world who have seen tweets and posts that we have put out.”
Pick a purpose
For consistency of message and tone of voice it’s important to establish what you want to say on your social channels. Do you want to promote your sport, talk pub politics or show someone murdering I Will Survive in last week’s karaoke competition? You can of course talk about the multitude of elements that make your business what it is but try to keep the tone consistent so it all feels representative.
Denise Coyne, licensee of the Sibthorpe Arms in Hertfordshire, focuses on driving live sport.
“Social media plays a really important part in promoting our events because people go on their phones to find out what’s going on.
“Social media brings new people to the pub because if they are new to the area they will be looking for what’s happening and we will have information out there, It is a great way for people to discover the Sibthorpe Arms and what we are doing.”
As the very name of it suggests, social media should be a dialogue, so ensure you use it to engage and involve customers. One way that Stonegate pub The Merchant in Glasgow achieves this is with competitions.
General manager Steve Samson says: “We find it difficult to measure social media in terms of footfall, however we like to run ‘like’ and ‘sharing’ competitions for food and drink prizes and that seems to drive engagement and volume through social media. Those people will come in to see the match off the back of that.”
Consistency is king
Yeah, we know the customer normally gets that title but you can treat them like royalty by providing consistent messaging on your channels.
One way of doing this is with the look and feel of the events you run and sport you show.
Steve achieves this by using the social assets that BT Sport provides to promote the very best in live sport.
Social assets are vital to use. It’s easy to use them on our page without having to create our own designs. It gives a uniformity and a consistency of messages when we are posting.
And Lee adds that using BT Sport’s assets sends out a strong message about your business.
“A great way to promote BT Sport events is to use the social media assets that are on hand via the BT Sport channels. It’s crisp, it’s clear and it communicates effectively with the customer. It delivers the standard and quality of the advertising that you want to reach people’s phones.”