Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers
FEC Marketing Made Easy
I had an epiphany this week about how to make sure I bring you great content on marketing and how it can help your business. At the beginning of each month, I want to share information about what’s happening in social media, give you marketing ideas you can use, and answer questions about marketing in your FEC. Let’s look at what happened in January and plan for the future.
Facebook Changes Newsfeed
The first big news of the year was Facebook changing its newsfeed to bring people closer together. It’s a big change and it’s going to affect business pages a lot IF you haven’t been connecting with your followers from the get-go. The gist of the change is if you are not providing engaging content, your post won’t show up higher in the newsfeed. Facebook’s algorithm is looking for content that is producing meaningful interactions.
What is a meaningful interaction? Simply put, it’s more than just someone liking your post. It’s about getting into a conversation with your followers.
The alarms went up a little when Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner held a Facebook live session almost making you feel that the Facebook world was ending. But it’s not. Facebook was created to connect us and over the past few years that hasn’t been the case. Posts have been about click bait, bad memes, cat pictures, and, quite frankly, bad news stories. Now is a great opportunity for you to engage your community and tell your story.
First of all, it’s a great time to do a social media audit. Go back to your accounts and remove old posts and pictures that may not represent your brand anymore. Cleaning up the past is okay.
Secondly, go back and look at your analytics. What have you posted in the past that got people to engage more? Do your fans enjoy videos?Live streams? Yummy food pictures you serve? Find out what your followers want and give them that! Also look at the days and times you are posting and see when there are more of your followers on Facebook. Post during those peak times so there is a higher probability of your showing in their newsfeed.
Make a plan. There are times it’s fun just to post on a whim but planning what you put out there is best. You may find that all your posts are promotional and not engaging your audience. Break up the promotional posts with posts of your birthday parties or live video of the back of the house. Fans want to know that you are real and will engage with you more when they can relate. Here is a quick list of ideas you can implement into your plan.
- Run a contest and have them like, share, and comment on the post
- Showcase your customers
- Do a live video showcasing a manager/party host/cook/mechanic and what they do in the center
- Share pictures of your amazing food
- Share content about other community organizations
- Ask a question
- Share a funny picture that relates to your center
- Use our Reach Calendar that is filled with national holidays and all the fun national days to help you engage your audience.
The list can go on and on. Here are a few examples from some of our clients to help you get your juices flowing.
Instagram Now Has Scheduling
The second big thing in social media in January for me was that Instagram opened their API to allow scheduling! I have been using Schedugram to schedule Instagram posts. Yes, it was a leap of faith that they wouldn’t shut them down, but now it’s open. Instagram has been my favorite medium since its launch and it has slowly become the favorite of more people. Instagram has over 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users. Those numbers are a HUGE jump from the 200 million daily users just a few months ago.
The biggest feedback I have heard from clients over the past couple of years regarding Instagram was that it was too hard to maintain because they would have to stop and load their picture. Well, now there is no excuse. Platforms jumped on this quick! HootSuite and Sprout Social are ready to go. All you have to do is connect your business account.
I will be testing out Sprout Social since we use that platform for all our other social media and analytics, but I like Schedugram. Since they have been doing this for years, they have listened to beta testers and have asked us for our feedback to create a robust system.
You can upload a lot of posts at one time without having to submit each post. It also gives you the option if you want it square or to fit the frame, edit your picture, or be the first to comment. My favorite feature is that you can add it to a queue, save it as a draft, or schedule the time and date immediately. I still like to post organically on Instagram, especially when we are at trade shows and conferences, but I like to fill up a queue of photos, so we post once a day. Having that queue makes it easy to make sure you are getting out there every day.
Don’t be scared to use Instagram. It’s fun and a great way to reach more people under the age of 30.
Marketing and Promotion Ideas
This past IAAPA I was able to speak at the Power Promotions session and it was fun to share ideas with everyone about what kind of promotions centers can plan for during the year. While you need to be looking at least 90 days out on big events or promotions, you can pull off some smaller promotions if you have someone dedicated to marketing in your center. Here are a few ideas you can implement into your marketing calendar over the next couple of months.
- Facebook Valentine’s Contest: Run a fun contest on Facebook asking people to share stories about how they met their partner. Give them a deadline and have your team pick their favorite story for a free date on you.
- Spring Break Photo Booth: Spring break will be here soon! Set up a fun photo booth with props for your guests to take pictures with. Post a sign asking them to use a special hashtag when they post. Be sure you are engaging with them by searching for the hashtag.
- Wednesday, March 28th is National Laser Tag Day: Run a laser tag special to drive midweek business.
- April 25th is National Administrative Professionals Day: Start reaching out now to local businesses and plan a fun lunch session to honor their admins.
I hope this helps you with marketing in your FEC. I’m looking forward to next month and how we can help you grow your business. If you have questions about promotions or marketing in your center, be sure to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.