This past Sunday you may have seen a smattering of colorful ice cream cones on your social media feeds with #NationalIceCreamDay in the caption, and chances are you probably didn’t give it a second thought.
However, days like National Ice Cream Day aren’t just an excuse for foodies to go grab a cone and snap a pic, well, it’s also that, but that’s besides the point. If you saw a perfectly scooped cone ‘grammed by a brand, that’s called a real-time marketing opportunity, and they used it to their advantage.
Yes, there’s a national day for everything, in fact, later this week is National Tequila Day (you can thank or hate us later for that reminder), but these types of events are prime for becoming trending topics on social media and you need to start paying attention to them because it can mean great exposure for your brand.
How? Well, we’re glad you asked:
People Actually Use Hashtags
Yeah, they aren’t just there to grab likes, hashtags are the primary way people cut through the noise on their social media feeds.
Hashtags allow people to escape all the engagement ring pics and selfies infiltrating their feed so they can find new places to explore and new accounts to follow based on their interests.
Think about it, if you’re a foodie who lives in the DMV area, it makes sense to scroll through the #DCdining feed. You’ll find new restaurants to try and you can connect with other people who have the same interest as you who will most likely post things you like looking at.
Essentially, hashtags are the portal for discovery on social media, so even if your restaurant is on Instagram and Twitter, if you’re not using hashtags strategically, you’re missing out on a lot of users looking to discover exactly what you have to offer.
It’s also important to note that by utilizing hashtags associated with trending topics on social media, you’re essentially gaining even more exposure than you would with a typical hashtag because there are more people searching and posting with that tag. And since there are more posts associated with trending hashtags, it’s important to have a good quality picture and caption that stands out among the other curated photos.
Join in With Your Customers and They’ll Help Do Your Marketing For You
Not only can using a hashtag on your restaurant’s photo give you exposure, but if you remind your customers to use it too, you’ll increase your exposure even further.
Let’s keep with the #NationalIceCreamDay example, say your dessert menu features an item with ice cream. Rather than hoping people order that dessert, encourage people to come into your restaurant by posting a picture to your social media feeds declaring that every diner gets half off your ice cream dessert in the name of “celebrating #NationalIceCreamDay.”
You can really get as creative with it as you want, but giving people a reason to post about your restaurant is the best way to get other people to post for you, and in the process they’ll be endorsing your establishment to all of their followers.
Imagine if only five of your customers posted a picture tagging your restaurant and using a trending hashtag. They’ve not only exposed your brand to their followers, but also to all the people searching for that hashtag. Trust us, the number of impressions adds up quick.
It Shows You’re a Social Savvy Brand
People like to share things that make them look cool, smart, and fun, so you have to show them that dining at your establishment makes them part of the “in” crowd.
By keeping up with trending topics on social media and things that are currently getting people’s attention, it shows that the people behind your restaurant are innovative, creative and engaging, and who wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant run by people like that?
Again, give people a reason and a reminder to come in, and if your food is worth its salt (pun fully intended), people will naturally share, it’s simply the nature of the plugged-in social society we live in.
Leverage trending social media topics in the right way, and you can create a wave of people who want to get off their phone, come to your restaurant to eat your food, and then share their experience with what can be thousands of others. To say the ROI is high would be an understatement.