Opinion: how to engage with customers while your pub is shut

By Katy Horwood, Fuller's

- Last updated on GMT

Stay social: top tips on how to stay engaged with your customers during lockdown
Stay social: top tips on how to stay engaged with your customers during lockdown

Related tags Coronavirus

With your pub doors firmly closed, it may feel like the only thing to do now is sit and wait for further instructions. However, with people currently using social media more than ever, this could be the perfect time to seize the opportunity and digitally connect with your customers.

Your pub being closed doesn’t mean you need to disappear – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Here’s how to build followers, strengthen relationships with existing customers and grow your online reputation in preparation for when your pub reopens.

Get personal

Great teams make great pubs and now is the time to see this translate online. Social media is the perfect place to deliver the personal touch and give your customers an insight into the people who make your business tick – whether it’s a cooking tutorial with your head chef or a Q&A with the general manager, involving your team online immediately gives your pub a personality.

And if any of your team have done anything awesome on lockdown, now is the time to shout about it.

Use your social platforms as a place for conversation

With many people at home, using social media more than they would be usually, this is your chance to speak directly to your customers.

Asking a question in your post is a super way to make people feel involved and create a community too – people like to share their thoughts and experiences.

Do your bit where you can 

People remember the good things you do – and there is plenty of potential for good at the moment.

Whether it’s donating stock to food banks, supporting your community or raising money in a creative way, don’t be afraid of sharing your efforts online and showing your customers you are proud to be an active part of the community, even when closed.

Plant the seed

Is your pub a great venue for a wedding or the perfect place for a party? While you might not be able to take bookings now, there’s no reason you can’t plant the seed in people’s minds about what your pub has to offer when you do open your doors again.

Looking back, going forward

With every pub comes a story and for many businesses the history within the walls makes for pretty engaging reading.

Do you have old photos of your pub, or stories from the bar you could share with customers? Secrets from the cellar or crooked tales from yesteryear? Get creative online with your once upon a times... 

Link up with suppliers 

With so many unique and exciting brands on the market there are no shortage of suppliers happy to share their knowledge and insider tips​.

From ‘meet the brewer’ Q&As, online distillery tours and perfect cocktail tutorials, it’s the ideal time to join forces.

Have fun

One thing is for certain, we’ve all broadened our general knowledge in the past six weeks – and with good reason.

Online quiz nights are a great way to get people together, engage with your audience and have a bit of a giggle too.

All quizzed out? Live music, scavenger hunts, sing-a-longs and online bingo are all fun ways to keep your customers entertained in lockdown.

Celebrate special days

Pubs are a place to mark occasions and just because you are closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved.

There is an abundance of awareness days​ throughout the year, which can be the perfect way to generate creative content on your social media platforms.

Whether it’s challenging your customers to come up with a pub-related limerick on National Limerick Day (yes, there is such a thing) or giving your followers a live wine tasting tutorial during National Wine Week, it’s a super way to keep your content fresh and topical.

Let your customers lead

It’s the people at the heart of every pub and, with limited access to in-house content at the moment, this is the ideal time to engage with your customers and get them involved on your social media channels.

There is no better testament to a pub than the loyalty of its regulars and encouraging your customers to share their memories​, thoughts and feelings about your pub is an awesome way to connect with your community.

Home-school (yourself)

And if you’ve still got time on your hands, why not take the opportunity to fine-tune your social media skills? With plenty of online resources out there it could be time to get savvy on your social.

Canva​ is a good place to start for free graphic design for social posts, while Spark​ and Mojo​ will help transform your Instagram account, making sure it’s on-point and ready to roll when lockdown is lifted.

Related topics Marketing UnitedWeStand

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