New Year's Resolution Number 1: Set aside an hour at the start of each week to make sure your website is up to date.


So Christmas is done for another year, the decorations are tucked back in the cupboard under the stairs, the customers have retired to their living rooms and you’re probably now trying to convince them that #TryJanuary is much better than #DryJanuary.

The start of the year is also a good time to give your web and social media strategies a bit of attention. When did you last check your website was up to date – make sure those Christmas events have been removed* and start listing events that are coming up: RBS Six Nations Rugby starts on 6th February, there’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is on 6th March and Easter starts on 25th March.

All these events, and others that you are hosting, should be listed on your website and being talked about on your social media.

Set yourself these New Year’s Resolutions for your online marketing strategy:

- Set aside an hour at the start of each week to make sure your website is up to date. Remove old events*, list new ones you’ve agreed to since last updating the site, make sure your menus and drinks lists are correct.

- Check your images – update any ‘feature’ images to highlight upcoming events or showcase your busy restaurant.

- Is your business listed on Google’s My Business? If not, get it on there – this listing is paramount to ensuring your venue shows up in Google Maps and in ‘pubs near me’ style web searches, as well as promoting your website to a larger audience. (If you are listed, make sure all your details are up to date.)

- Make use of video. Rich media content is valuable in all social activities, with pictures and video increasing your engagement by upwards of 40%. Facebook, Instagram, Vine and YouTube have apps that all allow you to create and share videos of varying lengths, while services such as Meerkat and Periscope let you live stream content happening in your pub right now.

- Check your reviews – TripAdvisor isn’t the only place people can air their thoughts on their visit to your premises: Google, Yelp!, Facebook and FourSquare are just a handful of online review sites potential visitors can see what others think of your pub.

An hour might seem a Long Time when you’re planning your busy day, but 2016 will be an important year for the growth of your online strategies and, if you get in to the habit of scheduling this in each week, usually it will take less time to do these updates.

Once your website is up to date you can then focus on your social media, generating conversation with your visitors and making them feel part of the business even when they’re unable to visit. Remember: conversation, rather than selling, generates engagement which in turn will increase the reach of your online audience.

People love to get involved, so ask them what snacks they’d like to see during the rugby half time, or get them to tell you what the worst chat up line they ever heard was in the build up to Valentine’s Day.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a successful digital year for you all!

*NB: venues using Inapub’s SocialConnect package to manage their events don’t need to remove old events from their website: they’re removed automatically once completed!