Mary has just opened up a café in Calgary, Café YYC. She’s enthusiastic and ready to go. She’s read everything she can about marketing, and she’s excited to dip her feet in the world of trying to get her café’s name out there on the internet and on social media.
She knows she brews a mean caffé latte, and with one sip she can earn a customer for life. Starting from scratch with no experience in online marketing at all, how can she get customers lined up through the door?
My colleagues can tell you all about the worthy avenues of search engine optimization (SEO) to get her website ranking, and pay-per-click (PPC) management to direct traffic toward her site. I’m going to talk about what Mary can do in terms of writing and marketing content to get eyes on her site and bodies in her café.
Step 1: set up a blog page
Mary already has a website, and she has written decent content on the main pages. Someone visiting her site would understand that Café YYC is a coffee shop located in Calgary.
Mary has a nice “About Us” page that explains her passion for coffee and customer service. She was smart to include testimonals from a few satisfied customers and a widget with Yelp reviews. She’s got a map showing her exact location, and even has a menu page showing her tasty array of South American coffee, handmade deli sandwiches, and fresh bakery treats.
Mary’s first order of business should be to add a blog page to her website, with a link on the top menu so it’s easy to find. It should fit in with the rest of the website and be easy to read and navigate. On the individual blog pages, there should be social sharing buttons so anyone who reads and likes an article can quickly share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on.
Now it comes time to write the content itself. Here are some unique content ideas:
- Video showing her making the café’s best-selling croissants
- Step-by-step instructions on how to make the perfect cappuccino
- Opinion piece about what makes Brazilian coffee beans superior to Hawaiian beans
- Slideshow of pictures from customer appreciation day
- Recipe for Café YYC’s signature Raspberry Iced Tea
- An introductory guide to the science of coffee
- A travel journal of a visit to a Costa Rican coffee plantation
- Product recommendations for a home espresso machine
- An infographic showing statistics about preference for black coffee, milk, cream, sugar etc.
All Mary has to do is share some of her knowledge and talents with the world, and people will come. Right? Not quite. If a blogger falls in a forest…you get the picture. This leads us to step two.
Step 2: create social media accounts
Before she can share her worthy content on social media, she has to create social media accounts first. She should create a profile on all the major social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Even if she doesn’t yet see a use for apps and sites like LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Vine, and Snapchat, she should still make accounts to lock up that username.
The account name should be “CafeYYC” or something similar in all instances. She can also create a personal Twitter, like @BaristaMary to establish more of a personal presence online.
In order to build up page likes and follows, Mary can invest in paid ads or she can launch an organic campaign for likes. “LIKE and SHARE this Post for a Chance to Win a Coffee Gift Basket from Café YYC!” “Tweet your FAVOURITE surprising coffee toppings using the hashtag #crazycoffee.”
Step 3: amplify blog content on social media
It doesn’t matter how much amazing content Mary produces for her blog page and website. If she’s not getting a huge number of views on the site, that content doesn’t get seen. Therefore once she’s finished writing, it’s time for her to start sharing her content on all the major social media networks.
Some content will be more effective on different networks, so place a larger emphasis depending. For example, “15 Most Incredible Iced Coffee Recipes” will be a bigger hit on Pinterest, while “8 Creative Ways to Keep Your Workforce Happy” will draw more eyes on LinkedIn.
On Twitter you can retweet the same link multiple times in a day; on Facebook you’ll want to limit it to once a day or less, while on less-trafficked platforms once every few days is plenty. Mary should also reshare content after a few months of dormancy to get some fresh eyes on it – just make sure it is relevant. She shouldn’t tweet her Pumpkin Spice Muffin or Peppermint White Hot Chocolate recipe in the middle of March!
Step 4: create social media content
Mary can use her social profiles for a lot more than sharing blog posts if she wants to get her name out there and start establishing a brand identity. Social media has a lot of pros and cons, but two things stand out above all.
For one, it’s all about instant gratification and short attention spans. Next, it’s definitely a visual medium. People idly scroll through their feeds and timelines. You need to stand out and you need to provide value.
For Mary to do this, she should upload beautiful pictures of her creations, on a daily basis if possible. Post a picture of an irresistible macchiato in the morning, a brie and apple panini at lunch, and an outdoor view of the sun setting over the café in the evening.
She should encourage customers to post pictures of them hanging out at the café or sipping coffee using the hashtag #cafeyyc. If the campaign needs a bit of a jump start, she can hold a contest, where the best picture wins a gift certificate to the café.
All Mary has to do on social media is be fun and interesting and provide something of value to the customer. As long as she doesn’t spam with boring content or annoying links back to her website, people will embrace Café YYC’s social media presence.
Step 5: engage with others on social media
Social media is about being social and connecting with others. There’s definitely a balance of give and take, and you need to contribute to the community beyond sharing your own blogs and status updates.
Mary can show her value by engaging with others. Follow people, like business pages, comment on posts, and like/share relevant content from around the web. Mary should share her knowledge with the community!
Content marketing is a key part of the holy trinity of a comprehensive online marketing strategy, alongside SEO and PPC management, and should never be overlooked by business owners looking to make an impression. It won’t happen overnight, but in due time Café YYC will claim its rightful place as a hip destination in Calgary.