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Social Media Best Practices for Hospitality Businesses in Lockdown


26th March 2020


Why you should be posting.

With most people at home in lockdown there’s been a huge increase in the amount of time people are spending online – and especially time spent scrolling through social media feeds. Facebook has seen a 70% increase in time spent on the platform by users across both Facebook & Instagram.

So its important for brands to continue to maintain a social presence and continue to talk to people – even if your business is temporarily closed. What brands do and what they say during this crisis has never been more important – and great social is a way to control that brand narrative.

If you have goodwill stories to tell about your staff, your community, your suppliers or the industry as a whole – especially if they support your brand principles – then be proud to tell those stories. If you don’t, you don’t need to hide away – now’s the time to get creative with your content and think about how you can bring your brand, or the experience you offer IRL to people’s homes.

Giving thought to awesome branded content now should galvanise what you’re all about and really show people what you stand for.

Keep it positive, keep it authentic, keep it creative.

Customers can experience your brand outside of your bricks and mortar business whilst you are closed, through creative social content.

Why you should not stop posting.

With the uncertainty around when your business will be able to open again, it is vital to keep communicating your brand message to stop your fans forgetting you and to build up awareness for when you’re able to reopen. There is a lot of noise on social media at the moment, but the brands that are there when times are tough will be the ones that will be memorable in the longer term.

Content Ideas

Brand Pillars:

It is essential to keep your brand characteristics as a key theme throughout your content. This applies to all channels. You should regularly post content around your core brand pillars and talk about whatever it is that makes your restaurant or bar special. Italian restaurants should talk about their incredible authentic Italian food & drink and fantastic suppliers. Keep showing people the best parts of your offering so that they’ll miss it – and be excited for you to reopen!


With people not being able to eat or drink out, there is going to be an appetite for at-home food & drink inspiration. Recipes for hero dishes and hero drinks from your menu will be an excellent way for you to encourage people to recreate your offering at home. To make this even more engaging, you could live stream a cook-along or drinks mix-along. You can also reach out to influencers to have a go at making your recipes to further grow exposure and following.

You can also use recipes to engage your followers and further connect with your fanbase. Ask your followers which ingredients they have at home that they would like to use for a recipe then base your recipe on those ingredients. This will increase your engagement with your audience while also creating unique content that no one will have out there.

If being family-friendly is a key part of your brand recipe-sharing is a great way to engage parents and kids to come together and cook. With so much family time at home, parents are searching for activity inspiration. An example of this done well is the Joe Wickes Body Coach PE classes which have reached over 900K households across the UK!

Your little touches:

With self-isolation, People are going to get bored & tired of their surroundings quickly. You should share the small touches and details that are distinctive to your brand, from your hotel rooms or restaurant decor, so people can replicate the ambience in their own homes.

Competitions & Giveaways:

To drive followers and engagement, running competitions work really well. We recommend offering a lucky winner a gift voucher or a free meal for when you hope to re-open. Fans and those interested in your brand will still be keen to enter as long as the barriers to entry are straightforward e.g. like the post, comment with a friend & follow us work well.

Goodwill Stories:

Goodwill stories are good to share, but they need to be relevant to your brand and feel genuine. Pizza pilgrims is a great example of a brand sharing a strong goodwill story where they are supplying pizzas for free for NHS teams.

Your Actual Brand Story:

The real stories are always the best ones on social. You should show the behind the scenes of your brand. Your business is closed at the moment but sharing other brand projects that you’re working on is an excellent way to keep up brand momentum. What does your new day-to-day look like as a brand? Do you have a new menu in development? Are you spending this down-time training your teams, or renovating? How are you now communicating and motivating your teams? People love people to bringing these humans stories to the fore is powerful.

How to Post

Static Images

Great for on-brand quotes & support messages.

Showing the little touches which make your brand special to remind your fans

Showing popular dishes and drinks.

Showcasing any merchandise or products you sell.

Carousels & Stories

Great for showing recipes & how-to guides. The first slide should be of the finished dish/drink/setup with a text overlay. The next slides should walk through the recipe or “how to”.

Video/IGTV/Instagram Live

How to style videos with recipe walkthroughs and any other areas that are relevant to your business. e.g. decor tips or food & drinking pairing expertise.

Can also be used to get your head chef or founders to speak directly to your fanbase with a Q&A.

Longer Form Content is key right now as people have more time to consume longer reads, so think about more extended captions, blog content & longer-form video for presenting your content.

Use this checklist from Ogilvy to check that your content is being mindful.

For more ideas and support on social, please get in touch with our senior specialist Charlotte via email –

Interested in working together? We'd love to chat.

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