These social media strategies aren’t just for attracting new customers. They’re proven customer retention techniques, and they’re easier than you think.

It’s not a secret that the best restaurants, bars, and hotels offer more than just a decent meal and a place to rest your head. They provide an experience to their guests. That experience may be as simple as providing a quiet, low-key spot for a drink, or it could be the ample large-screen televisions so everyone can watch the big game. It could be the sauna in every guest room, or maybe it’s the ocean view from the dining area.

Those experiences, the ones that keep your customers coming back on a regular basis, happen in person. As customer retention techniques go, a great experience – from customer service to the food on the plate and the wine in the glass – is a guaranteed way to develop happy customers. But how does that translate to social media?

No one can savor your homemade ice cream or your award-winning cocktails on Instagram. They can’t feel your luxurious linens on Twitter. Customers (and future customers) can, however, get a first-hand taste of your customer service. And, dare we say, they can almost taste your food, sip your custom cocktails, and feel themselves sinking into that king-sized bed in your hotel.

Here’s a fun idea! Come up with hashtag games for your bar and restaurant patrons, and display photos and leaderboards on your walls to increase engagement while promoting your business. Start building your social wall today!

5 Customer retention techniques that are only available on social media

Yes. You read that right. These customer retention techniques are specific to social media. And if done well, they offer an unbeatable way to not only engage your current customers, but also attract a new audience.

Engagement- Customer Retention Techniques For Restaurants, Hotels, and Bars Using Social Media1. Customer service

Excellent customer service is about more than responding to complaints (which you should, of course). It’s also about engaging with and acknowledging the customers who give you compliments or tag you on social media. Veggie Galaxy, in Cambridge, Massachusetts is top notch when it comes to making their Twitter followers feel recognized. Their feed includes regular interactions with customers, thanking them for eating there, complimenting their cooking skills, answering questions, and having some fun.

Remember that social media doesn’t need to be formal. Have fun, be social and engage with your customers just like you would if they were sitting at your bar.

2. Beautiful photography

Instagram is known for the multitudinous pictures of food. Some of those pictures are good. Some are not. And some make us wish we could reach right into our screens and take a bite. Gracie’s, in Providence, Rhode Island, has a mouth-watering presence on Instagram, which undoubtedly brings new customers to the door, and brings back those who already know what to expect when they go back. Professional-quality images go a long way on Instagram for keeping customers interested and in touch.

Love- Customer Retention Techniques For Restaurants, Hotels, and Bars Using Social Media3. Share the love

When you live in a vibrant tourist destination like New Orleans, one simple way to reach customers is to engage them in the fun going on all around you. Le Pavillon Hotel, a historic luxury hotel near the French Quarter, uses their Twitter feed to share their city and invite guests to be part of the action. They Retweet pictures of the city skyline, promote local events, and, of course, share plenty of travel articles that highlight New Orleans. All in all, it’s a very smart way to entice visitors to the city, some of whom will stay at Le Pavillon.

You don’t have to live in New Orleans to engage a similar strategy, though. Promote minor league sports, nature hikes, nearby museums, your favorite restaurants, local history, a walking tour of the best ice cream, or anything that might strike a tone of curiosity in potential customers. As a bonus, strategically placed digital signage around your hotel can help you promote these events and destinations to your current guests, further establishing your hotel as the resource for things to do in your area.

4. Boost your supporters

With over 4,500 hotels in 109 countries, Accor Hotels have no shortage of talent to ensure the success of any customer retention techniques they try. Their Twitter feed, however, isn’t just a series of bland hotel pictures. Mixed in with their own photographs are reposts from guests that feature the gorgeous scenery near their hotels. This is a strategy anyone can use, though, whether you have 50,000 employees or 50. Your social media feed doesn’t have to be just about your hotel. Keep your eyes open for people who appreciate what you do, and make them the star of your social feed. And if you do have multiple locations, you could easily cross-promote by displaying a live social media feed at each of your sites, giving guests stunning images of your locations where they could take their next vacation.

Be yourself- Customer Retention Techniques For Restaurants, Hotels, and Bars Using Social Media5. Be yourself

You don’t have to set a foot inside Last Straw to know what this Austin, Texas bar is about. With drinks like The Breakfast Club, Burt Reynolds, and Oops, I Did It Again, this is a destination for all your 1980s memories. Their Instagram feed is an homage to the likes of the Fresh Prince, Weird Al Yankovic, and more than a few neon-colored drinks. Last Straw shamelessly embraces their aesthetic, and with over 6,400 followers, it’s clear that they’re onto something.

That doesn’t mean you have to pull out the parachute pants and become a theme bar to develop a social media strategy to pull in customers. It does, however, attest to the fact that your customers (current and future) love you for who you are. The best customer retention techniques in social media are about being real. If you’re a slick, high-end bar in SoHo, let your Instagram feed reflect that. If you’re a blues bar in Atlanta, use your Instagram feed to let your customers know what to expect when they walk in your door.

When it comes to social media, don’t sweat it. Relax, be yourself, and treat your customers like you would in person. There’s no mystery behind these customer retention techniques in social media. You just have to take the initiative to get out there.

Get started with hashtag marketing with a customizable Everwall for your bar, restaurant, or hotel that includes the ability to monitor and filter posts.