We’re living in the age of marketing, when anyone with a smartphone can be famous (at least on Instagram) and it’s almost impossible to find a venue that’s not on social media. In many ways, marketing is a necessary evil. It connects bars, restaurants and clubs directly to their audience, building community, spreading news and even attracting new customers.
But it’s also confusing.
Who are the right people to target? What’s a shadowban? Should you be on TikTok? How does Clubhouse work? How many promotions are too many?
That’s why we reached out to Christie Lawler, one of Austin, Texas’s marketing masterminds. Lawler is the woman behind CJL Consulting, a beverage marketing agency. She also founded her own female-focused industry nonprofit, The WITI Group, and launched JAB MIXOLOGY, a line of infusion and mixology products.
If there’s anyone who’s on top of the latest trends and challenges within marketing, it’s Lawler. We asked three fellow Austinites (all from our Evolve Austin episode) to task Lawler with their most pressing marketing questions.
Read on to find out what you should be doing with barcodes, why Clubhouse is cool and how you can find the best hashtags for each of your Instagram posts.
I notice some people are getting QR code fatigue, any new cool QR technology that helps people stay engaged? – Travis Tober, Nickel City
I recommend using QR codes to drive LTOs (Limited Time Only marketing campaigns). Try printing a QR code sticker that goes on each table and drives guests to a different rotating feature every month. After a few months, your guests will start to look for the rotational special. This gives you the flexibility of always developing something new and keeps printing costs down while driving increased sales and interest in what you’re going to create next.
Which new social platforms should we be posting to, in order to reach potential guests? – Justin LaVenue, The Roosevelt Room
Instagram is the perfect platform to reach your guests. But in terms of what’s coming next, we recommend driving content through Tik Tok videos. You can highlight your bartenders making cocktails, and the reach is fantastic. Clubhouse is a great new tool for engagement as well. Start a room and host weekly discussions, you can promote them via your other channels. If you utilize email marketing, you can share the news, videos and upcoming conversations that way to build your following. Also, look into being a guest on an industry podcast. There are plenty out there… including ours!
Facebook vs Instagram, are they both worth it? What type of content works best on Instagram? – Adam Orman, L’Oca d’Oro
I think they are both great tools. We use both and have structured our posts for high traffic times, where our followers are engaging the most frequently. Instagram stories seem to be the favorite option for spreading your news. Do some research on the best hashtags to use as well— the Smarthash app is very easy. It helps you create the best hashtags to improve your post’s visibility.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity. If you have a marketing question, email [email protected] and we might answer it in a future article!