5 Easy Ways

bar marketing skills

I’ll be the first to admit, I am no bar expert, in fact I know nothing about the bar business. I keep it that way for a specific reason, I’ll discuss later. So why would I send you a letter about helping your bar if I am not a bar expert? Well, for one very good reason, I am your customer.

First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Craig Osterhoudt and I help bars, pubs and taverns in Las Vegas make more money with effective digital marketing. I have been an entrepreneur since I graduated from UNLV. Having owned businesses in several industries such as finance, construction and contracting, automotive, marketing and advertising and many others, I have extensive knowledge of many different business types. I have been able to do this for one reason.

bar marketing skills

“What I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for, your competitors.”

Bar Social Media Marketing

So, like I said, I have no experience with running a bar, none whatsoever. However, my experience, my expertise, my “particular set of skills, is Marketing. Marketing is a skill that translates to any industry if you know how to do it right. However, there is one issue I have come across with all of the businesses I have owned and run. The more I got to know about the business, the more I had difficulties marketing the business.

You see marketing is about identifying with the customer, and showing them (in a cost-effective way) that you are offering what they want, in a way that entices them to use your product or service. The more you know about the nuts and bolts of a business, the more you alienate yourself from being a customer and evolve more into an owner/operator etc.

This is why I don’t learn the bar and tavern business from the inside out. I view bars and taverns solely as a customer and that helps me market bars and taverns more effectively. And believe me, I am your perfect customer.

I am the guy who just stops in a bar for happy hour, late night, in between etc. If I like the place I will stay and hang out. If I like it a lot I will throw 20 bucks into a machine. Then 40, then 200. I’m the guy you want to stop by your bar. I don’t eat at Applebee’s and Outback. I eat at bars and taverns. When people want to meet up for drinks or dinner, I don’t invite them to the strip, I meet them at a local bar, somewhere between our homes that is convenient for both of us.

I grew up in Las Vegas, eating at places like the Lift, Instant Replay and Four Kegs. I used to be in a pool league that played at the Rice Paddy, Dealers Choice, the Hard Hat and Foothills. When I need WiFi, I don’t stop into a Starbucks or McDonalds, I keep a list of bars near me who offer free WiFi. To this day, I can be still be found in my old time favorites like Champagne Café, Larry’s Hideaway and Dino’s.

You will NEVER catch me at a Dotty’s though.

Which leads me to, “Why I Choose to help bars and Taverns.” I have been a bar and tavern customer since I was just a kid. Some of these places are as home to me, as the house I grew up in. However, I have to sit here and watch these places fall like flies to Dotty’s or something similar.

My favorite Philly Cheese Steak was at Triple Play, now a Joanie’s. My favorite Karaoke place was Bailey’s, now a Dotty’s. My favorite late night stop on the way home for amazing food, Foothills Express is also now a Dotty’s. It’s maddening. All of the places I used to love to go are dropping like flies and it has to stop.

So, that is why I choose to help bars and taverns in Las Vegas, get more customers via an effective digital marketing campaign. Every time I see another bar or tavern fall to the mini-casino, I read another marketing book or gain another certification. I learn more and more how to effectively market bars and taverns to hopefully help one of my places stick around for the long haul.

So, what does any of this have to do with you? Why am I bothering you with all of this?

Well, I wanted to introduce myself and let you know there is information free available to you, to help market your bar or tavern. Pretty much all of my ideas, tactics and strategies can be found, for free, on my marketing channels. Here are a few you can take a look at if you get a chance.

Website – www.barandtavernmarketing.com

Facebook – @barandtavern or www.facebook.com/barandtavern

Twitter – www.twitter.com/craig_o

There are some other resources I have available for those bar owners who feel like they could use some help especially with social media.

The fact is marketing and advertising has completely changed over the last 5 to 7 years and many of us have found ourselves lost when it comes to marketing. When we used to do ValPak, Yellow Pages and Radio, now there’s Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Social Media Marketing. A client of mine asked me, why should I use Social Media Marketing? There is no way to measure the return or find out if its working or not. I referred him to a quote by Gary Vaynerchuk –


If you look at the most successful, busy bars in Las Vegas, you will notice that they have a strong social media marketing program, and the fact remains that it’s the way things are now and as bar owners we need to embrace it. Luckily, it’s pretty easy and its cheap. Also, the best thing about social media is it makes if very easy to spy on what your competitors are doing.

Free Tip – Watch what successful bars are doing on social media and mimic that. Boom, you don’t have to be a social media marketing expert, just a good, “mimicker?” (is that a word?)

To get started check out a few of my resources, they will teach you everything you need to know about how to market your bar or tavern effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, Social Media Marketing isn’t all that I do. There are still several conventional marketing methods that work great, however they don’t work the same as they used to. You have to use them smarter, since they are more expensive and less effective than they used to be. I know several businesses that all they ever did was take out a yellow pages ad each year, and that was all they needed to stay in business. My how things have changed.

Anyway, if you want my help, feel free to give me a shout. I don’t charge for meetings and I will give you a free consultation at your convenience as both our schedules permit. As a parting gift as a way of saying thanks for fumbling through this letter of mine, I would like to offer you free access to my special educational booklet.

“5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Bar Staff Into a Full Time PR and Marketing Department.”

Don’t take this booklet lightly I charge bars and taverns $1000 to come in and train their staff on these techniques but I am giving it to you for free. You can find it on my website


So, there you have it, if you are looking to get out of the bar you own, and are looking for someone to take over and maybe give you some walking away money so you don’t have to leave with nothing, please give me a call I’d like to see if we can work something out. Either way I wish you success in whatever you do and I really want to thank you for reading my letter, I hope to hear from you soon.


Craig Osterhoudt

PS – I just wanted to mention one more thing, if you feel like your bar really has potential and could make good money but really just needs someone to take it over that has a zeal for running and owning a bar, then I would really like to talk to you. Maybe if what I am offering up front isn’t enough to make the deal we can work out a small payment plan.

Free Marketing for Bars

free marketing for bars

Never before in history has free marketing for bars been so easy. Never have you been able to get so much exposure for your business for free. In today’s day and age, it is entirely possible to have a full blown marketing plan, that works, and drives customers to your business, for free. Look back as far as you like, but businesses and yes bars, have always needed to spend money to market their business, from TV commercials, to newspaper ads to direct mail, heck even handing out flyers yourself costs more than sending out an email.

Free Marketing for Bars is easier than you might think.

If you are a bar or tavern owner today, you are very lucky. I remember when I had a business doing about 5 million a year in sales, once a week, a different advertising person would come by trying to sell me advertising. First it would be the Yellow Pages guy, and the next week, the radio ads salesman would come by. Then, shortly thereafter would come the ValPak’s and Local Magazine and yes, even the newspaper guy would stop by, even though I never bought.

Today it’s a bit different but you still have everybody and their brother trying to sell you some marketing help. Now it’s the Yelp people (man they are relentless) and the social media managers and some of the others are still around like radio and TV, (thank God the yellow pages aren’t.) However, as someone in the marketing business, I am often asked, what should I spend my money on first?

Facebook ads?

Pay per click?

Radio? TV?


My answer is always the same. Why would you spend money, when you aren’t first maximizing the free advertising venues that are available to you? I see people spending thousands of dollars every month on advertising but still haven’t claimed their free google my business listing. I mean It’s absolutely insane!

The number one thing any small business can do to promote their business is to claim and maximize their Google My Business listing, yet I see hundreds every day that aren’t yet claimed. IT IS FREE! Wow, so needless to say, there are many, many awesome things you can spend money on for marketing and advertising, so don’t think that you don’t have to spend money to market your business.

What I am saying is do all the free things first, then worry about how to spend your budget. Here is the fact of the matter. If you aren’t maximizing your free marketing channels, you probably aren’t maximizing the ones you spend money on either. Most small businesses decide on a monthly budget say 2,000 per month or 6 percent of sales, or 1 dollar per visit, whatever it is, they decide on some monthly budget to spend on marketing and advertising. Then, because they are busy, they spend that money on whatever sounds best and they can get done the quickest so that they can move on to the next item on their to-do list. This is very bad marketing management. Every single dollar you spend on marketing needs to be tracked, measured and compared to other marketing methods to see which works best.

The other problem is that there is just too much to learn, I mean it’s hard enough learning how to do your business, let alone learning the business of marketing and advertising. I actually know a guy who was spending countless hours building his Facebook page and had no idea that no one was seeing the work he was putting into it. He told me, but I have 2500 likes, all of those people are seeing my posts. I felt bad that I had to break it to him that, no, sorry, they aren’t. If you want people to see those posts, now you have to pay Facebook, to get in front of those people whether they liked your page or not. He was shattered and just felt like giving up, after all the hours and effort he put into it. I explained to him some of the new free things he could be doing, still the fact remains that there is so much info out there on the web, on free marketing for bars,, how do you stay on top of it all?free marketing for bars

Well the first thing you do, is follow a blog like this one, written especially for you the owner of a bar or tavern and specializes in marketing for bars. If you follow this and a few others, you will always be on top of the things you need to be doing as far as free marketing for bars. You can also hire someone, but I would be careful with that. Once again you are paying for something that could be free if you know how to do it. For example, you could build up a social media following and them let them do the work for you for free.

However, eventually yes, it is a good idea to just hire someone to do the marketing for you, but just make sure you really vet them, and make sure they know what they are doing and are going to provide you trackable, measurable results, otherwise do not hire them. My favorite thing to do is to ask a bar owner his customer counts for the last 6 months. If they don’t consistently go up, month after month, you don’t have to worry about firing me because I will fire myself. I will not let someone pay me if I cannot get them results I am after. But I will still teach you all of the free marketing for bars ideas that I know.

I once spent 8,000 on a postcard campaign that did not generate one sale. Not one phone call, not one customer visit, NADA. I have wasted too much money on bad marketing and advertising to ever let anyone else go through the same nightmare if I can do something about it. So, once again, are you taking advantage of all the free marketing channels available to you.

Do you have a Twitter account? Instagram? Snapchat? How about a fresh and consistently updated website? Have you claimed your Google My Business Listing? Are you updating it and working on it. Most importantly, are you collecting the emails of your customers and building a email list? Dear lord, if you are not building an email list, you are missing out on the absolute most important thing you will ever do. And all of these are included in the genre of free marketing for bars.

From time to time I dabble in business brokerage and help people sell their businesses. So, I know from first-hand experience (I’ve also owned 10 businesses of my own) that the number one asset of any business is its customer list. The better your customer list is, the more valuable your business is, simple as that. Luckily, I can help you with all of these free marketing ideas. If there is one you are particularly interested in, and you don’t see and article or blog post on that specific topic, drop me a line and I will help you out.

Twitter for Bars

twitter for bars

5 Reasons Why Bars Need a Twitter Strategy – Twitter for Bars

  1. PR – Let’s face it, PR as you may know it, or PR of the 80’s and 90’s is dead. Twitter for bars is the fastest method now to take on a PR campaign for your business. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain how to use Twitter to get free PR exposure but the short version is to follow prominent PR professionals in your area, and add them to a list. Interact regularly with them. Then when you do something PR worthy, reach out and ask for assistance. You can still use conventional PR methods, but you can still drive an Yugo as well, but twitter is the 2017 Ferrari. Don’t get me wrong conventional PR as it used to exist is very valuable. However, getting access to that type of PR is either very difficult or very expensive. Twitter for PR, is not expensive or difficult but it is time consuming. You must put in consistent effort over the long haul. This isn’t something you can outsource either. Getting followers, retweet and so forth, that type of stuff can be outsourced, I guess, but starting meaningful conversations with PR people and interacting effectively with them is not something that can be done by anyone else but you.

    twitter for bars
    twitter for bars
  2. Longevity – Twitter is here to stay, and Twitter for Bars is here to stay. Even though other Social Media channels have become more popular or have more users, Twitter will still be around. It is the easiest way for celebrities, politicians, and social media influencers to reach their fans and the public with quick reliable uncensored speed and efficiency. Even my 78 year old grandfather knows what Twitter is, because it is constantly on the news and TV shows. No other social media channel does what Twitter does and it has a time and place for everyone. When you place an ad in a newspaper, that is pretty much done in a couple days. That ad is gone forever, and so is the money you spent on it. But if you make an interesting Twitter post, that can last forever. You post it to your Twitter feed and it will be there forever. You can re-share it as well with a click of a mouse and it is doing its magic all over again. But the reason I say longevity for Twitter is that there is some sort of idea floating around out there that Twitter isn’t going to be around much longer, sort of like Yahoo. People talk about how fast Instagram and Snapchat grew to more monthly users than twitter and so forth. But that really has nothing to do with anything. How important are the things someone does on Instagram vs. Twitter? No one can really say for sure which is more important, but seeing a picture my friends posted on Instagram and interacting with the journalist at the local paper are two totally different things.twitter for bars
  3. Access – Your customers will feel like they have a level of access to you that they normally wouldn’t be able to have. Knowing that I can reach out to a business and have a discussion there, visible for the entire world to see is very empowering to the customer. I once complained about the customer service I received from a specific Wells Fargo branch bank in a tweet. I was immediately contacted by a rep from Wells Fargo with a solution to my problem and 3 other branches within 5 miles of my location, that had a customer service employee who had been briefed on my situation and was willing to assist in taking care of the service that I needed that the first branch messed up. Pretty powerful. Even more powerful when you consider Twitter for bars. But, for this to work, the main thing is you need to actually engage and interact with the people trying to reach out to you, otherwise it could have an opposite effect. Disgruntled customers could be having an entire conversation about your business, on your business page, tagging you in all the discussions and unless you use your Twitter account, this will all go on, for everyone to see without you knowing about it. The worst part is they will be on your page encouraging you to respond, and if you don’t respond it shows indifference on your part and that’s what really drives customers away. .twitter for bars
  4. Trends and Conversations – Twitter is the easiest way to stay on top of trends and conversations that are going on in your industry. Do you want to be a “cool” bar? Just follow the “cool” bars and see what they are talking about and tweeting about and you are right there with them. The trend for early 2017 is Mescal in mixed drinks and craft cocktails. Most bars don’t even carry Mescal. Never before have you been able to easily spy on what the trendy bars in New York and LA are doing like now. You would have had to send secret shoppers all over the world to be able to get the information you can get from 6 or 7 minutes browsing lists that you have made in Twitter. Injecting yourself into conversations that are already happening is also very powerful.
    Its an old copy-writing tactic that you should inject yourself into the conversations going on in someone’s head already. If you have a target market say “mothers of grade school age children” you can easily craft your message to the conversations going on in their head. For example, for the entire month of August, the conversation going on in the Mom’s head is getting the kids ready for back to school. Crafting your messages for this is very powerful. But with Twitter for bars, you don’t have to guess, you can inject yourself into the REAL CONVERSATION, that is actually happening, right in front of you. If there is a local event that is going on in your area and people are talking about it, you can take advantage of that in ways that use to cost a fortune can now be done for free. For example, say your local sports team has made it to the finals series and you want people to come by after the game. You can tweet to the people interested in and talking about the game, that you have 2 free beers for every person that brings in a ticket stub. To do this before, you would have had to pay for a radio commercial or advertise in the stadium, but now, a couple smartly placed tweets, with the right hashtags and you’re in business.twitter for bars
  5. Marketing? – Oh yeah, you can actually get customers from Twitter. Every marketing program you undertake can be enhanced by using Twitter. There are a million ways to market on Twitter but the best part is it is very hard to overdo it on Twitter. You can post 20 to 30 times a day and no one is going to care. That’s what people expect you to do. If you post more than a couple times a day on Facebook or Instagram, you are going to irritate and agitate your customers. Those who were happily following you before will start to unfollow and block you if you fill up their feed too much. But with Twitter, no worries, it will be very difficult to do that. Especially because Twitter moves really fast. Anyone who really uses Twitter a lot and follows a lot of people probably doesn’t look at the actual feed, because it moves too fast. They have interesting accounts separated into lists, that they can review as they are interested in that list. For example you may find yourself on a list called happy hour or nightlife. Then when that particular person is looking for somewhere to go to happy hour or a cool place to have a drink with a friend after a movie, they will scroll through that list to see if there is anything interesting going on. If you are using your Twitter account effectively, chances are, they are going to come by your place. Twitter is great for so many other things as well when it comes to Marketing. You can test ideas, you can post live videos of what’s going on at the bar, there are just so many things you can do its endless. The best thing you can do is use Twitter to cheaply test out ideas before you take them to more expensive Social media channels like Facebook and YouTube. This article isn’t to teach you how to use Twitter for Marketing but rather to explain why you need a Twitter strategy, and the main reason is to get customers in the door.

Here are a couple awesome Twitter accounts to follow to get you started. If nothing else, just emulate these accounts and that will be a good start for you and your bar or tavern.

Social Media Marketing for Bars and Taverns

The first thing I always tell people about social media marketing for bars, especially when it comes to Nightlife and Taverns, is that social media is about people. Its about friends and family and seeing what your friends are up to and interacting with them via these new channels that make it easier for friends and relative to stay in touch. You don’t have to write a letter to grandma anymore, you can just “snap” her a message. Also you don’t have to reach out to every friend individually, when you get that new promotion, you can just make an update post to your social media channel of choice and let everyone know all at once.

social media marketing for bars
social media marketing for bars

Social media marketing for Bars can be tricky.

Social Media is about people. Many folks get irritated when businesses try to come in and force marketing and advertising into the feeds of friends and relatives and being social with their acquaintances.  So most clients I have who have tried social media and complained that it didn’t work, did not keep this in mind as they went about their social media marketing campaign.

They interrupted the feed of their prospects with irrelevant, obtrusive ads that just irritated the customers instead of engaged the customers. When you are using social media for advertising, you have to remember that people do not want you messing up their social media feed, so if you do, you better make it good.

The majority of adults understand that things have costs. They realize that in order for them to keep using this awesome tool, there will have to be some advertising, and they are ok with that, they don’t let it bother them too much, but eventually, they do get bothered if they see the same crappy irrelevant ad blocking up their screen space all the time.

With a billboard, there really is no intrusion, because if the message on the billboard doesn’t apply to them, they can just ignore it, it doesn’t get in their way, or slow down traffic, it just is there and they drive past it and even if it does really bother them, there isn’t anything they can do about it.

However with social media, they can do something. If the same stupid ad shows up 5 times a day for a week or two, eventually, no matter how capitalistic they are, they are going to block that ad. Then when you get too many blocked ads, the social media channels will begin to penalize you and charge you more to show the same ads.

I will go into each social media channel individually later on, in other posts, but the thing to remember here is that, you are interrupting a feed of someone who is wanting to see information about their friends and family, make sure you do something that they aren’t going to be frustrated with and make sure it belongs there.

One good way to do this is to make your marketing messages about people. Did you know that Dave, from the Wendy’s commercials, HATED doing those commercials? He detested it. He hated the lines, the cameras, he hated getting makeup done and was known to snap at make-up people because he just could not stand the whole notion of doing those commercials. But guess what, they outperformed every other type of commercial they tried so they had to keep doing them.

People are social beings (which is why social media is so dominant) and prefer to see things about people, so your ads and marketing messages should be people based. That is why you should turn your employees into small individual mini marketing departments inside your bar or tavern. If I see a advertisement from the local bar, saying Happy Hour 3pm to 6pm Mon Through Thursday, I don’t care and if I see it too much I’m going to block it.

But, if instead, I see a post from “my local bartender” and she says, “come hang out with me today we’re slowest from 3pm to 6pm, lets catch up!” That is an entirely different experience when in reality it is the exact same thing, just said and executed differently. Both cost the same amount in time and effort, but one works for social media, and the other doesn’t work. In fact the first example may even have a worse effect than doing nothing at all.

Subscribe to my blog to be notified when future posts come out on each individual social media platform and how to effectively use them for social media marketing for bars and taverns. Also drop me a message if you would like a copy of my booklet, “How to turn your staff into Mini Marketing Departments.”

Relevant Social Media Posts

Making relevant social media posts are the most important thing to remember when marketing your bar or tavern.

Social media posts
Relevant social media posts

The PITH method is an easy way to make sure your tweets and FB posts are the maximized to the most effective way of communicating with your prospective customers. Before I explain the PITH method, there are two things to remember. You are not posting to your customers only. You are posting to the average 250 people they know, and the average 250 people they know. Therefore the post/update/tweet has a reach of 62,500 people and that’s only if it’s somewhat useful. The number could rise exponentially if the social media post is more effective. The point is, just because you may not think it speaks to your followers, it may be of interest to someone they know. It is so easy to pass the information on these days, that if your social media post is effective, it will get forwarded on to someone who may be in need of your services.

Second, the main reason people join Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is not to be marketed to! Most business owners forget that people go on Facebook to check out their friends and what they are doing. So, if you are constantly bombarding your fans with sales pitches, they will just block you and that is the worst thing that can happen. If you have 300 friends but 250 of them block your posts (which you don’t and cannot know) then all of your efforts are for naught and you are spinning your wheels and not getting results. Use the PITH method to make sure you are providing the most effective posts to your friends and followers. Your posts should include one of the four categories listed below and the best ones will have two or more categories satisfied in the same post. Remember, very rarely any of your posts be a direct sales pitch to buy your products. Unless it’s a wildly great deal, for a very limited time, you should never post blatant sales pitches in your post. They should be subtle references that reminds your followers that “Here is what I do, if you ever need it, this is a reminder to remember me if you do, meanwhile I am going to provide you with posts that are P,I,T or H.”

P – Personal / Private – The fact of the matter is that people are interested in other peoples personal and private lives. That is why Facebook grew so fast and why it is what it is today. Same holds for Instagram. No other reason. Therefore you need to make your social media posts of a private/personal nature, for people to engage with you via Social Media. When you make a personal social media post, they see you as part of their Facebook community and allow you in to their circle. Most marketers fall into the trap of thinking, “Oh, I am using Facebook for business so I need to keep in professional.” That is the easiest way for you to get lumped in to the group of people that only get viewed if they are extremely bored. If you want to stay in their feed and have your posts show up on their page on a regular basis, you cannot come across as a business sales person. Of course, you don’t want to put pictures of you acting inappropriately or being crass and rude but your social media posts can be personal things that your followers will find interesting. There are a million examples but you need to let people into your life a little bit if you want them to follow your posts with interest. I follow Lebron James on Twitter and of the hundreds of posts he made since I started following him, the one I remember most, was the night before the season opener. He said he was getting those “First Day of School” jitters, and even laid out his clothes for the next day. It was a simple, yet still professional, insight into his personal life.

I – Interesting. – If you find something that is interesting, go ahead and pass it on. If you look at Twitter page @UberFacts, they only post interesting facts that you might have never known. They are very interesting. They have thousands of followers without having to follow back (which is the key to knowing if someone is truly providing customer perceived value through their Twitter account) and the people follow just to see the interesting tidbits that they share.

The trick is to post things that are of extreme interest to the masses, but have a slight correlation with your product or service. Do not reference articles that are boring and scream “Hey, here is a reference to my product.” I knew a security contractor who sold alarm systems. Anytime a news source reported on a crime, he re-posted it in his feed, because he thought it would entice his followers to do business with him. However, the articles were not interesting, and people see right through that. Eventually, his friend/followers just end up blocking him (I did) because he only posted articles about break in’s and stolen property. Who wants to see that on their Facebook home page every day?

He would have been more successful if he posted a personal tidbit and only posted articles that had maybe a smaller reference to his products, while being more interesting, such as a “5 million dollar painting goes missing from the local museum, police say it’s an inside job.” This would be more interesting to the general public and doesn’t scream, “Hey you’re not safe in your home, buy an alarm from me!” Yes these articles are fewer and farther between but it beats alienating your audience via, boring, sales intent loaded bait and switch articles.


T – Timely – Another way to make sure your posts are read and your feed isn’t blocked/unfollowed is to provide timely discussions. I like the example where the police re-opened the investigation of Natalie Wood’s accidental death 30 years after it happened. If at that time you were to make social media posts about Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner or Christopher Walken say a year or two before that, your posts would’ve gone unnoticed. However, the exact same post the day after the announcement would get 100 times the response that it would’ve gotten only a week earlier.

If you are going to make a social media post and it doesn’t meet one of the other three PITH criteria, make sure it related to a timely subject and watch your response rates sky rocket.


H – Helpful – Make your posts helpful to the everyday person in their everyday lives. You should be in the business of helping other people if you hope to be successful in business. Zig Ziglar says, “You can get anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” If you want to get followed and have your posts read with interest and passed along to others, go out of your way to find things to post in your feed that will help others make their lives easier and less stressful. If you come across an article, webpage or product that is truly helpful to others, by all means, share that with your followers whether it helps you or not.

If your fans/followers see you has someone who consistently provides help, value and assistance, they will associate that type of behavior with your business endeavors as well. They will think, “all of these photographers are the same, except, John Smith. He really goes out of his way to help people,” Now, when they need a photographer, or when they know someone who needs a photographer, they will be your best salesperson because you have provided them with consistent value over time.

So, remember blatant sales pitches should never be used on any social networking sites. You should have a nice rotation of PITH posts, updates, tweets. Also only 33% or less should even have a vague reference to your business via articles or products. If you are a photographer, sure post tips on how to be more photogenic, or how to take a great picture every time, but they should be 33% or less of your overall posts. The others should be of a personal nature or helpful in general. If you would like more help with social media posts and social media management, see my new article titled, 4 Social Media No-No’s: How Most Marketers Are Annoying Their Followers.


Social Media Etiquette

bar social media marketing

When it comes to posting to your social media accounts I get the same questions all the time. Questions such as how often should I post? When is the best time of the day to post? Should I link them all together? The answer to all of these questions is the same, it depends. I know how everyone loves to hear that answer so the following is a brief discussion on how to post to your social media feeds, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other social media websites you may be involved in.

To start off, I would make sure you are involved with those four at a minimum. These are the bare minimum for today’s current state of affairs. If you wish to do more, feel free based on how much time you have to dedicate to your social media campaign, however these are the only four that I feel have a broad enough reach to justify the time commitment required to do it right. Speaking of linking accounts I do not recommend linking your accounts. There is nothing worse than seeing someone’s twenty tweets a day clogging up my LinkedIn home page. I have to scroll through pages and pages of “tweets” to see what I am really trying to see when I am on LinkedIn which is the career updates of my colleagues. However, if you choose to use one of the social media platforms not a part of the ‘Big 4” (SnapChat/Pinterest), then feel free to link them to one of the big three so that your posts show up there too. It’s an easy way to add reach to your campaign, without having to do any additional work other than the initial set up.

The most important thing to remember about social media is that in essence it represents “permission based marketing.” These people have given you permission to “market” to them (and here’s the important part) “within the confines of the accepted practices” of the medium. With Twitter, it’s ok to post 10, 20 or 30 times a day. This is a huge no-no with LinkedIn. In Facebook, it’s ok to tell everyone you love Joe’s Coffee shop on 3rd Street but not so much with LinkedIn. You do not want to ruin the trust that your followers/friends/colleagues have given you when they granted you their permission to market to them with social media. Even if they don’t “unfriend” you they will still block your messages so that your messages do not appear in their feed anymore. That is the worst thing because you might think you have 300 Facebook friends but in reality only 20 or 30 are actually seeing your posts and that just ruins everything.

So here are the 3 No-No’s when it comes to social media posting. As long as you avoid these three common pitfalls your posts should be safe from being blocked by your followers.


Do not be an over poster. Nobody wants to hear every single thing you do all day unless it’s interesting. “Just ate lunch, it was tasty,” is not a good Facebook post. It’s fine every once in awhile but some people give an every hour on the hour update of what they are doing and it just annoys everyone so you end up getting blocked. There is only so much room on someone’s screen, and if it is all getting taken up by your meaningless, or repetitive boring marketing messages, you will get blocked. “Please like my new fan page” ten times a day is also a no-no.

When it comes to Twitter you can post much more often but the same rules apply. If you post the same tweet over and over with just one word changed, people will block you. It’s ok to promote and send meaningless tweets because they don’t last long, but if you exceed the generally accepted communication practices you will get blocked. Also if you post twenty tweets in a row all at the same time so someone’s entire feed only shows your tweets, you’re going to get blocked. Just make sure you are posting regularly and following the PITH method for content. (See article here)


People are followers, friends and contact’s because they want to interact with you, not so you can be a one way street when it comes to updates and messages. If you never comment on someone else’s posts, don’t expect them to comment on yours. You should spend more time focusing on other peoples messages than you do on your own. I estimate a split of 70/30. For every 3 posts you make on Facebook, you should make 7 comments on other people’s posts, Your Twitter ratio can probably be flipped 30/70 and LinkedIn would be more acceptable at around 50/50 but either way, you need to be commenting on other peoples updates and being involved in the conversation that is going on in the social media world.

You can’t be that guy at the party that interrupts a group of people talking about a movie they all just saw and ask someone what kind of dog they have. Nobody likes that guy. Don’t be that guy. You have to enter the conversation already going on, if you want to be involved. Remember it is called “Social” media. The same social etiquette rules apply in real life as in social media.

I recommend 2 practices when it comes to posting on other peoples comments. If you see a post that nobody has commented on, either like it or reply to it. You will make the recipient feel better if nothing else. It’s almost embarrassing to post a joke or interesting tidbit in your feed and then have everyone ignore it. So be the nice guy and respond to it. It will go a long way. The other extreme is to reply to posts that are getting a lot of action. This way your reply is seen by a greater number of people. If it is a PITH post, you may just get some more followers and friends as a result of posting to active posts.


If you are going to run a social media campaign, either do it or don’t. It’s not something you can kind of do every once in awhile. If you haven’t posted in months and then all of a sudden you add a post, asking something of your followers, not only will you not get any response, you will get a negative result. Can you imagine if you showed up to a long lost friends house after several years and asked to borrow their lawn mower? What, no hey, hello, how’s it going? I haven’t heard from you in years and the first thing you have to say to me is can you borrow my lawnmower?

That’s just not how it works, you have to be involved. You have to be a part of the community. You need to make consistent, relevant posts to the conversation that is going on already before you are allowed to start your own conversation. Lurking in the shadows waiting for a slow minute to ambush your followers just isn’t the way to go. If you are trying to get back into the swing of things, start with liking a few posts, or “retweeting” some other tweets, to raise your level of involvement. You could also start by “friending” a few new people and then starting a “Hey, long time no see” conversation with them. Then start to work your way into the conversation and being a part of the community. When you are a regular contributor to the community, your marketing messages are welcome and expected from your followers as long as they are relevant. People enjoy helping you succeed, and will go out of their way to help promote your services. But remember the golden rule when it comes to your social media campaign. (Yes, the rule Golden Rule, no clever variations here)

So there you have it, the 3 Social Media No-No’s. As long as you avoid these common pitfalls, you should get great success from your social media campaign. Now that I’ve told you “How” to post, if you feel like you need some guidance on “What” to post, take a look at “The PITH Method. The simple guide to making great posts.”


Using Social Media Can Put You Out of Business

using social media

In today’s social media environment where every person with a smart phone has a voice, good marketing can put you out of business faster than bad marketing. If the customer experience isn’t positive, good marketing will work against you, including using social media. People will find out how bad you suck much faster than if you have bad marketing especially when you are using social media. People will find out faster than ever before.

In years past, for the most part, unless someone was speaking to their neighbor over the fence or standing around the water cooler at work, if a customer of yours had a bad experience, you might be lucky to where no one may ever hear of that event.

However, today, one bad experience can go viral, and seriously affect the longevity of your business faster than ever before. Therefore, if you invest in marketing and build a great, effective marketing system, but do not perfect the customer experience before doing so, you may put yourself out of business faster than if you had no marketing program at all.

That’s why I tell my clients to make sure they have a great product first, then work on the marketing program and begin using social media. Or, even better, I tell them, “You work on the customer experience/product/meal/service and let me work on the marketing.

This is the reason why I am so picky about who I work with. If I don’t believe a client is providing a great product or service, they are just going to go out of business after I start helping them. The last thing I need is word getting out that once a company hires me to do effective marketing for them, they go out of business. How would that look for my portfolio.

The first thing you should do before marketing is take a look at your product and make sure it is world class. A potential client was telling me that he offers incentives to customers to post to social media but he can’t get anyone to share anything. I told him, “You don’t have anything here worth sharing!” Do you think someone wants to share a picture of your soggy chicken wings served on a plate they used in the 70’s?

You need to provide an experience that is worthy of sharing, then people will share it, without incentives. That’s the point. Before you try to do anything to get a new customer, make sure when they walk through the door, they are going to get a great experience every time they walk through the door, then start working on getting more new customers.


Better Social Media Posts

twitter for bars

A lot of what I know about social media marketing I learn from watching the main experts in the field currently such as Gary Vee and Tai Lopez. One of the things Tai Lopez teaches is his VRIN method for better social media posts. On my own personal Instagram account I post things from my daily life and I am going to use one of them to explain Tai Lopez’s VRIN method. If you want more info about Tai Lopez, you can just Google him, or open YouTube most likely you will see his video as an ad as soon as you try to watch a video. The idea is to score your social media post before posting it on a scale of 1 to 10.

If your post isn’t at least a 30, you probably shouldn’t post it to your followers if you are trying to build your following and increase customer engagement.

My last post on Instagram was a picture taken at the half way point of a difficult long hike I had just completed. It was a view of a long winding trail down a mountain with a huge lake at the bottom.

The V in his formula stands for Value – I scored this a 2, since it doesn’t provide much value to anyone except maybe some motivation to get out in the outdoors and get some exercise, and it wasn’t very valuable to me, because it gave me a little pride that I had completed the hike, but other than that not much value.

The R in his formula stands for Rare – I give the post a very low rare score because even though it is very rare that anyone has taken a picture here, EVERYBODY takes pictures at the most picturesque spot on their hike. So, while this location and picture was rare, the idea of posting a hiking view pic isn’t very rare so the combination of the two factors compels me to give it a 3 score on the Rare scale.

The I in the VRIN formula stands Inimitable (meaning hard to imitate) – I gave it a little bit higher because not everyone can make or finish this hike. Also very few people know where this hike is, and those that do, may hike a hundred other hikes in the area instead of doing this one. But still, it’s still possibly only a 5 on the inimitable score.

The N in his formula stands for Non-Substitute-able – I give it a 4 on this scale because anyone can go somewhere and take a picture of somewhere they hiked and post it to SM. The only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 1 is because not everyone can say they hiked this far in extreme conditions. No trail, intense weather etc.

So my total score would be a 14. Not very good. But for a personal account this isn’t life threatening. However, if you are building a business you will want to make sure your posts rate higher on this scale.

A few things I could’ve done to increase the VRIN score and therefore make a better social media post would have been to post myself in the picture, and possibly add some of the gear I was using such as the running/hiking shoes I was wearing or the GPS system I used to find the place. I also could’ve posted my bleeding elbow and empty water bottle from when I took a spill and busted my only bottle of water that I brought for the hike. Had I done the latter, I probably would’ve had a much higher VRIN score and definitely would have had more comments, likes, shares etc. I also could’ve made a short video or flipagram to the music Clumsy by Fergie. That would have really garnered a lot more engagement and would’ve been a much better social media post.

When you are about to make a social media post, score it real quick on this VRIN scale, then try to improve each individual area until you are around a 30 or higher. Then you are good to go with your post.