Have you ever played the game where you close your eyes and try to feel around your house, to see if you’d be able to cope with being blind? No? Um, me either.
If I had hypothetically performed such an experiment, I wouldn’t have done well at it. We live in an incredibly visual world. Our entire reality is made up of what we see, or what we think we see. Vision, it’s fair to say, is the most powerful of the senses. And it’s for this very reason that visual content is one of the most powerful marketing tools your organisation has at its disposal.
In the hospitality industry, visual content’s power is even more pronounced. Pubs, bars and restaurants are focused on selling an experience, whether it be a delicious meal, a friendly atmosphere, or the craziest night of your life. The best way to sell these experiences is by showing potential customers exactly how good a choice your business is. While you could write an essay, there’s a medium that can reportedly convey 1,000 words in a far more efficient manner.
So, how do you best attract new clientele with visual content? Here are just a few ways that may increase the queue behind your velvet rope.
Food + Instagram = Success
If you own an Instagram account, you’ll be acutely aware of its users’ love of food porn. A delicately balanced burger, a perfectly rolled piece of sushi, a 5-star foam design atop a cappuccino; Instagram was seemingly made to display pictures of eats.
So, if you’re in the business of food, what are you waiting for? Get involved! Trawling Instagram or even Pinterest for creative food plating ideas will have even the most basic meal looking Michelin star worthy (PRO TIP: You can’t really go wrong with an overhead shot), and then it’s just a matter of hashtagging your creation with the appropriate words to make it as searchable as possible.
If you’re not in the business of food, but are in the business of drink, you can do the same with your most impressive cocktail!
HONY Your Staff
The celebrated Facebook page Humans of New York has made an art form of peeking into strangers’ lives. Its formula for posting is as simple as it is heart-warming (and often heart-wrenching) – a well shot photo with a short quote from the person about either their own life or just life in general.
Why not try it with your staff? Giving your social followers or visitors to your website a quick bio or snapshot of your staff can be a great way to make your business more welcoming. It can also make your staff feel more appreciated. “If the boss feels like my story is worth telling, then they must really value me”, they’ll think.
Employ a Professional Photographer
No matter how many megapixels your camera may be, or how fantastic you are at Instagram filter selection, you simply can’t compete with a professionally shot photo. For this reason, it’s worth seriously thinking about employing a professional photographer for a special night, to capture the occasion in all its glory.
Bars and nightclubs can often be leaders in this field, employing professionals to document revelers’ slow decay over the course of a night. But the idea is one that can hold value for all hospitality businesses, be they pubs, restaurants or cafes. The images gained from this investment can continue to pay for themselves well into the future.
Don’t Be Scared of Video
To many business owners and managers in the hospitality industry, images are one thing, video is entirely another. When video is mentioned, the mind leaps to the set of a Hollywood blockbuster, with a lighting crew, a sound guy and months of post-production. These owners and managers need to chill out.
With the video sharing capabilities of Vine, Instagram and Facebook’s live feed, people no longer expect your video content to be a high production value masterpiece shot in IMAX quality high definition. Most people simply see video as a way to get a bit of insight. If you’ve got the ability to give your social followers a quick look at how your kitchen runs or the live music from your pub’s last gig, why not?
The potential of video content is enormous. And while it may seem like a big, scary unknown, for a lot of hospitality businesses, it’s simple about taking that first step. Without visual, your restaurant, bar, cafe, or pub’s marketing is essentially groping around in the dark, trying to find its way from the bathroom to the fridge.
Trust me, I know the feeling.