Once you have done your social media homework and you are starting to see a regular group of fans participating in your events you need to take certain steps to keep them coming back.
In a recent Forbes article , Jayson DeMers writes, “… for most businesses, being impersonal will turn away followers and make them disinterested in your posts, your brand, and your company. One of the core purposes of social media involvement is humanization of your brand , which builds loyalty, awareness, trust, traffic, and conversion rates.”
Below are 5 “human” steps to make your followers feel at home with your fan club.
1. Claim an Area and Sit Together.
There is not only strength in numbers, but a certain sense of comfort. When you are alone at a bar watching a game, you are most likely not as willing to express your true fanatical side. But once you are surrounded by 10, 50, 300+ other like-minded individuals you support each other and become a much more formidable force against any ne’er-do-wells.
2. Say “Hi” (and get an email address).
Need a self-confidence boost? Go around as people are arriving and introduce yourself. They will be grateful that you took the initiative to start what they have always wanted to be a part of. Of course, be ready to hear occasional gripes and “constructive criticism” as well. But all of that is very important. People want to be able to put a face to their leader. They want to see and know who they can suggest things to. Who they can thank and occasionally complain to. We STRONGLY recommend that (at least at first) you pass around a sign-up sheet for your fans to fill-out asking for their names and emails. See our post on the importance of an email subscriber list here .
3. Banners and Memorabilia.
Many bars/restaurants are not going to want a permanent display to your team. If your location doesn’t want to “pigeon hole” itself as a specific bar, that’s ok. Every game day you just do it for them!
Die-hard fans love memorabilia and usually have it in spades. Encourage them to bring their good luck charms, their signed items, etc….but BE CAREFUL. These items have a tendency to “walk” away. If your fans bring such items its best that they keep them on their own table or within arms reach. As for banners, those are not very expensive and make a great statement to the people walking in that THIS establishment is a (insert your team here) bar.
Even better. Ask the bar to buy a banner for you. They should have connections with the beer distributors who often are happy to pay for something like that. If not, tap into the budding artists within your group and put out a request for them to create some posters you can hang.
4. Local Food at the Bar.
Almost every town has a localized delicacy. Whether it’s Lobster for New England or Crawfish for New Orleans, bringing hometown favorites to your establishment really makes people feel welcome and special. If your location doesn’t want to carry it, is it something that you can have flown in via care packages? Try speaking with the distributor of the food item. They may be willing to sell you the item directly. Want even more street cred with your fans? Make it a secret menu item. Don’t advertise it and just tell a few key people. Believe me, when someone sees a food favorite from home, the word will spread. Tell them its a secret menu item only for your fans. This not only adds a little intrigue, but it endears your fans to your group and to the location carrying the food.
5. Specialty Drinks.
Is your team’s town known for a special beer or drink? For example Rainier in Washington, or Yuengling in Eastern Pennsylvania? Is there a signature drink or ingredient native to your fans home? Try to get the bar to carry it. If they can (don’t get us started on beer distribution problems…let the bar handle that) it’s a win-win for all involved. Your fans will love it and the bar will most likely fly through it.
What if your locale isn’t really known for a brewery or specialty drink. Get creative! Look at what the bar carries (or will carry) and see if you can get specials for a specific beer. For example, Vikings & Ravens fans are in love with “purple”. Does your bar carry Ibita’s “Purple Haze”? Will they give you a price break on game day for it? See where we are going with this? Staying with the purple example, what about a special purple shot?
As you can see there are many, many ways to bring that “home town” feeling with you anywhere. These are only a few ideas. We welcome you to share your ideas in the comments section below.