Of all the industries turned upside down in recent months, hospitality is one of the hardest hit. Not only are many hospitality businesses independently run, employees are often on casual contracts and processes are not set up to automatically ‘go digital’.
But we’ve been floored by the ingenuity of cafes, restaurants and bars during this crunch time. Many are setting themselves up for a fruitful new identity in the post-pandemic world.
It’s not easy innovating amid anxiety, but it’s also vital that businesses that depend on in-person interaction think fast right now. There have been some great ideas coming out of hospitality venues affected globally. Digitally up-skilling is the focus of the moment, as venues are needing to beef up their e-commerce, content and social media skills. Sometimes these are entirely new areas for a venue, but there are some simple tricks that are repeatable no matter your team size, or skill.
Flexing their digi smarts
The founders of Honey & Co., a popular London Middle-Eastern restaurant that’s currently closed have been doing cook-alongs on Instagram Stories. They’re not too polished, just nice simple instructions that keeps them front of mind and their normal customer base highly engaged. They’re sharing their audience’s bakes to create a real sense of community – something that will be invaluable when they reopen. Their deli venue is also about to trial pick-up meals and the founders also have a food podcast – all are linked from their Linktree to create a unified home for their various pieces of content.
The awesome thing about a Linktree profile is you don’t even need to have a website – it’s the fastest way for you to point followers to the places you want them to go. Think of it as the contents page for your venue.
Here are some best practice tips for your own Linktree.
Get orders across your different locations
The best way to get your Linktree working harder than a singular bio link, is separating out your ordering platforms. You might have different ordering portals for your different locations, or you might want to direct your customers to pick-up orders or delivery orders. Right away you’ve streamlined the customers’ ‘journey’ in ordering with you.
With Linktree PRO, you get to fully customize the appearance of your Linktree. In ‘Appearances’ you can use one of the custom theme presets, or you can change background and button color and fonts to best suit your brand. It’s here that you can upload your logo too.
Once you’ve tweaked the appearance of your Linktree and added your first links, your next step should be adding your Linktree URL to anywhere you exist online. Share it in a tweet that you pin to the top of your Twitter, and place it in your Twitter bio. Add it to your Facebook business page, and share it in a pinned post. Add it to your Instagram bio and share it in your Story so followers know about your new services. Don’t forget other platforms you may have a presence on, like YouTube, Snapchat or TikTok.
With Linktree PRO, you get to add social icons to your profile. It’s a great way of helping audiences find you on the platforms that suit them, without taking up the most valuable real estate (the ones which drive to sales!) on your page – your links. You can see that Sidecar Doughnuts have used the social icons for their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a direct email link. You can find all of these, and more, in ‘Settings’.
Sidecar Doughnuts have also uploaded a photographic background that is so on-brand, I’m salivating. This is all part of the PRO package too – and you can browse the Unsplash integration if you need a relevant image.
You’d think that wine tasting was about as IRL as the hospo scene gets! But the clever folk over at Brooklyn Winery have come up with a virtual wine tasting pack. They’ll deliver four wines to housebound customers, and deliver a wine tasting via Facebook Live. It’s been popular so far with the first two sets sold out already!
Brooklyn Winery are drawing attention to this offer by placing the link at the top of their Linktree, and using the Priority Link feature, which means that link wobbles or jumps to catch the visitor’s eye. You’ll find Priority Links as the star icon beneath the URL you paste into the Links section. You can only have one Priority Link, so pick your most important!
Other things you can do to make your links stand out include using thumbnail imagery for each link, and writing punchy copy that clearly shows the visitor where each link sends them.
Not every venue right now is able to tap into delivery or pick-up functions. A good way to tap into your regulars who might be missing out on their daily trips is offering gift cards on your Linktree. It helps keep a little bit of cash coming in. Some venues are also showing their audience ways to send a coffee/takeaway order to someone working on the front line of Covid-19, like health and old age care workers. It’s a lovely way to keep those feel good vibes flowing through your community.
What do you customers want to know?
To really connect with your customers now you need to think about the things they’re most concerned about. It may not be very sexy to write about your hygiene practices, but right now it’s reassuring to your customer base to hear that you’re going that extra mile to consider your staff, and their own, health. Aus-based ice-cream store, Gelato Messina, has included a link to their Covid health and safety practices on their Linktree.
hey also have a link which simply reads ‘All Stores Are Still Open’, rather than ‘Opening Hours’ – that’s perfect because it considers the viewpoint of the customer, who may be used to assuming opening hours haven’t been updated in the current circumstances.
And that’s not all!
With Linktree PRO you can also add a email subscribe button, that integrates directly with a Mailchimp account. That means when a visitor enters their email on-page in your Linktree, it’ll update your list in Mailchimp right away. This is great for capturing customer details and keeping them looped in on your activities during lockdown.
We’ve seen venues do cute things like link to Spotify playlists that their customers might be used to hearing in-store, or sharing YouTube videos of behind-the-scenes footage of staff prepping takeaway orders. Our new Video Link means you can play that directly on your Linktree.
Come and learn with us
Want some extra guidance on ways to encourage purchases right now? Join our webinar, Linkree Live: Brand Marketing in Tough Times on Tuesday 21 April at 4pm PDT (that’s Wednesday 22 April at 9am for our Aussie fam!). We’ll be discussing all things related to small biz conversion, specifically in this tough climate, and having a Q&A with Linktree founder, Alex Zaccaria. You can register right here.