Use social media to connect with new and existing customers – Social media allows operators to have conversations with both existing and prospective customers.
Get your free Google Listing – Google My Business allows operators to show pub photos alongside key pieces of information such as opening hours, address, phone number and star rating.
Decide on a clear web purpose – Is your site a means of showcasing a menu, driving bookings or providing updates about which games are on? A good website is about connecting customer desires with business needs.
Think mobile first – With more than half of the world’s internet traffic driven by mobile (52%) its essential that websites are mobile-friendly. Google’s free Mobile-Friendly test tool allows operators to gauge how smartphone friendly their site is.
Keep customers posted – Email marketing services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact are free and affordable services that accommodate attractive layouts and allow operators to monitor how recipients interact with each message.
Taking place at top-flight football stadiums across the UK, including Anfield, Old Trafford and BT Murrayfield, operators have been able to pick the brains of Google Digital Garage experts on everything from search engine optimisation to Google business listings as well as grill BT Sport stars such as Robbie Savage on how they’ve used the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to further their careers in sports broadcasting after hanging up their boots.
Discussing the initial response to the sessions at a training session for pub operators at the BT Tower in London, Gori Yahaya head of training at Google Digital Garage said feedback had been “fantastic”.
"We've had a high level of engagement, people have been asking lots of questions. Lots of people have been giving examples of what they've been doing themselves and we've been getting a lot of sharing of knowledge – which has been great.”
Yahaya highlights that the main issue social media-shy operators have raised in the sessions so far is being able to spare the time to tackle social media effectively.
"I guess from a lot of those in the hospitality industry, pub owners, club owners, they're often trying to find ways to use social media in an efficient way and to save time with it because they understand there are so many different platforms out there that it's hard to get a real focus on a strategy.
“Many pub owners and club owners don't really have a true strategy to doing it and that's where they want to get a stepping stone, or starting point, from which they can set goals and measurements.
"If you're going to commit, you've got to do it properly” says Yahaya. “I feel if you're going to invest in a platform – be it Facebook or Twitter – what is really important is that you know how to do it in a way that you have a capacity to do and you can handle it. It’s better that you’re active, understand your customers and reach them with the kind of messaging that resonates.
“Do a little bit of research because it'll pay off – that's the most important thing, understand your audience, set yourself goals and it will pay off, but the more active you are the better because having a passive account doesn't look as good."
Confidence is key
"We live in an age where we're all digital consumers,” says Yahaya. “We get things very quickly and very easily through our mobiles.
“As a pub owner, you are a digital consumer and what you want to do is take advantage of these tools to help drive customers to your venue.
“It can be a bit intimidating because there's so much change in the social media landscape so it's incredibly important to take the first step towards building a strategy.
“Honestly, it's much much easier than people think it is, so just having that confidence is truly important."
BT Sport customers can sign up for one of BT Sport and Google Digital Garage’s free training sessions at www.btsportbusiness.com/google/