First though, we need to explain why it’s so important. Even though you’re taking the time to read this, you might still be doubting whether it’s worth your while.
Why Facebook matters for pubs
I’m guessing you’re one of two people. Either, a busy working publican thinking about using Facebook as a way of attracting more customers to your pub.
Or, you’re someone who’s planning to run a pub and want to explore how Facebook can be used effectively as a pub marketing tool.
Either way, you’re probably stretched for time. But, listen up: having a Facebook page for your pub is not an optional luxury; it’s a business necessity.
People are increasingly using the internet to plan their leisure time and it’s not just the younger generation. It’s people of all ages.
It seems like yesterday that Facebook was considered the domain of teenagers and those in their early twenties. But nowadays Facebook is boringly mainstream.
It’s not only the world’s most popular social network – it is the second most popular website on the world wide web.
And the largest demographic? 25-34 year-olds.
When customers are trying to locate the most suitable pub for a night out, or arranging a family meal, it’s often to Facebook they will turn.
That makes Facebook a potentially decisive tool in a customer’s decision-making process.
If you’re not on Facebook, they may never find out about your Thursday quiz night or scrumptious Sunday roasts.
In short, it’s an essential marketing tool that, when used correctly, WILL get more customers through your door.
Let’s get on with setting up your pub Facebook page…
Stage One: Create a personal account
If you already have a personal account, scroll down to ‘Setting up a Facebook page for your pub.’
If you don’t have a personal Facebook account you will have to create one. It used to be the case that you could set up a Facebook business page without a personal account. That’s no longer possible.
Go to www.facebook.com where you’re immediately presented with a sign up form. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll be presented with the option to invite your email contacts to become friends with you.
If you are happy to add contacts then click on the ‘Find Friends’ button and it will upload a list of all your email contacts who are already on Facebook. You can then decide who you would like to add as a friend to your Facebook account.
The more contacts or friends you make on your personal account, the more people you can invite to receive updates from your pub’s page later on.
Note: To have a Facebook account, you MUST have an email account. Personally I use Google Mail as I find it easier to organise my emails and it has an incredibly effective spam filter.
If you’re reluctant to add contacts at this stage, you can ‘skip this step’ entirely by clicking the button in the bottom right-hand corner.
For those who have more than one email account, you can invite contacts from several email accounts.
After you’ve finished finding your friends (or decided not to), you are prompted to add a photo. Remember, this is just for your personal account. Find a pretty picture of yourself – I’m sure you’ll find this stage less challenging than me! – by following the prompt to select a file from your computer or taking a photo with your computers in-built camera.
Next up you can take Facebook’s privacy tour… Don’t worry, this is not some stodgy, time-consuming chore. It’s a very simple four stage introduction to managing who sees what when they visit your Facebook page. It’s well worth the three minutes it takes.
At this point your page should look something like this…
I won’t take you through all the features of the personal account. Click around and you’ll find all kinds of easy to follow prompts. Stuff like, who do you work for, where do you live, your personal interests and so on…
Right, let’s skip to setting up a business account…
Stage Two: Setting up your pub Facebook page
So, you’re logged into your personal account. In the top right-hand corner, there’s an inconspicuous arrow pointing downwards.
Click on it and a menu drops down. The first option is to ‘Create Page.’ That’s the one you want in order to set up your business page. You’ll be presented with the following options:
For a pub, you will want to select ‘Local Business or Place.’ This will lead to a prompt which asks for the sector and location of your business. Select ‘Bar.’
One you’ve inputted your details you’ll get taken to this page…
Section 1: About. The first form asks you to add up to three categories which accurately reflect the nature of your business. This means that when people search for these categories on Facebook, your page can be found under those relevant search terms.
You are restricted on what categories you can choose. You must allow Facebook to automatically complete the category as you’ve typed it. Click the one relevant to you. Above I’ve selected ‘Sports Bar’, ‘Gastropub’ and ‘Bar’.
Facebook doesn’t recognise your categories unless you click on their suggestions. Then once you’ve added one category, they’ll create more suggestions for you beneath.
The text box beneath asks you to…
‘Tell People What Your Page is About’: Think hard about this. You have 155 characters to work with. The description you add will help you show up in the right search results.
While the previous section only allowed you to pick out very general details, this is your chance to get specific.
Think: what is my pub’s key selling point? Are we a sports bar? A real ale pub? Consider what your potential customers are likely to type into a search engine.
One crucial detail to include is your location. When people are planning on visiting a pub, they will usually have the location in mind.
So, let’s have a look at some specific examples of what potential customers might type into Google or Facebook in order to find a pub.
“Pub in [location]” “Real ale pub in [location]” “[location] sky sports pub” “Sunday roasts in [location]” “Traditional country pub in [location]”
I could go on, but I think you should instead. Grab a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm your pub’s key selling points and how they relate to your customers.
Good. Now that you have an idea of what people are looking for, you can write your 155 character summary. One other point, which is in danger of pointing out the bleeding obvious: make sure it is warm and welcoming in tone.
Once that’s done fill in the link to your website (if you have one) and complete the name for your unique business page. In other words, the name of your pub. www.facebook.com/lovelybritishpub
Step 2: Upload a Photo. Once you’ve completed the ‘About’ page, you will be then be asked to upload a picture or to import one from your website. This is your business profile picture and it will be the first thing people will see when they visit your Facebook page.
Make it good. No-one will be attracted by a glum low-res photo. It’s like walking around a city centre looking for a pub to frequent. If the first pub you stumble across has battered signage, paint peeling away from the walls, and a messily chalked-up blackboard – you’re likely to move on.
Only with Facebook your next option is not a short walk away, it’s a single click of the mouse.
So, you need to take care and get a beautiful profile picture of your pub taken with a decent quality camera. The higher the resolution of a camera, the more detail there will be in the photo, and the more professional it will look.
However, your profile picture on Facebook is only small, so you don’t need some super-duper DSLR camera which is going to cost a small fortune. Most of the cameras on smart phones these days will suffice.
There’s a famous Chinese proverb worth remembering: “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand”.
Step 3: Add to your favourites. Next you will be prompted to add your page to your favourites so that you can access it easily at any time from your personal page. Do it.
Onto Step 4…
Step 4: Reach More People: This section is all about creating a paid-for advertising campaign. You’ll want to skip this for now as you’ve only just created a skeleton of a page.
You should only consider paid advertising when you’ve established a Facebook page for your pub which is full of all the information a potential customer will need to see, as well as engaging and persuasive content designed to get them through your doors.
We’ll cover how to get the best out of Facebook’s paid advertising features in another article.
Stage three: Don’t ‘Like’ yet – making the most out of free publicity
Finally, Facebook takes you through all the vital aspects of managing your page.
The most important thing to note regards using ‘Likes’. You will be prompted to both ‘Like’ your page and invite others to ‘Like’ your page.
For those unfamiliar with Facebook’s ‘Like’ concept… If you ‘Like’ your pub’s Facebook page, people connected to your personal account will see that you’ve liked it.
And if you’ve invited someone else to ‘Like’ your page, they will take a look at it and either accept your invitation or decline. If they accept it, then any updates you make to the page will come through on their news feed.
The thing is, people are less likely to accept your invitation if your page is incomplete. So, wait until you’ve got a page to proud of before sending invites.
Otherwise you’ve just wasted your opportunity for free advertising.
That’s it, you’ve created your pub’s Facebook page, what’s next?
Read our brilliantly simple guide on how to master the essential elements of running a pub Facebook page.