The Volunteer Inn is a gorgeous little pub in Chipping Campden. Back in 2020, the pub gave its social media a boost with more regular activity, increased engagement and awareness. Maybe* loves a good story, and like all pubs and restaurants, lockdown has not been kind. But despite the challenges facing the country watering hole, the pub rose to the challenge with a few simple tips and tricks to quench the thirst of more punters. In our usual 10 steps, we show you how they did it.

Step 1: What was the business goal?

The Volunteer Inn needed to serve its existing patrons and increase awareness to reach new ones.

Step 2: Telling The Volunteer Inn story

The Volunteer Inn set about telling the story of the history of the inn and the staff that make the pub the thriving community hub it is. In their own words, telling The Volunteer Inn’s story is “not just about the pub. It's about the lifeblood running through the pub”. A member of staff is featured every month on the social channels so the social audience can get to know the faces behind the bar and in the kitchen. This level of openness, warmth and personality helps The Volunteer Inn own its place as a space for people to gather, share a pint, and grab a tasty curry.

Step 3: What do The Volunteer Inn want its audience to do

The Volunteer Inn wants locals to stop by for a drink and a bite to eat. But with pre lockdown 3, tier 3 restrictions in place from Boxing Day, the Inn had to remain closed.

So instead during lockdown, the Volunteer Inn has focused on its takeaway service to bring a taste of the Volly to customers’ homes.

Step 4: How does The Volunteer Inn engage with customers?

The Volunteer Inn engages with other local businesses across Chipping Campden, By doing so it shows support for the whole community online, as well as welcoming them to the Inn offline, or as the recent case may be, serving them at home.

The Maybe* Engage view showing the conversations by Chipping Campden businesses that The Volunteer Inn can engage with

Step 5: Who does The Volunteer Inn want to engage?

The Volunteer Inn wants to engage more locals in the Chipping Campden area, and wider Cotswolds. Throughout the festive period, the Inn cooked up a social media contest storm with its ‘Very Volly Advent Draw’. The contest invited other local businesses each day to announce the winner in video format of a daily prize.

As well as providing a daily prize for residents, the approach to announcing the winner was an opportunity to engage and shine a light on the many other businesses in the area, furthering that sense of community investment the pub has become famous for, and increasing engagement throughout the community.

Step 6: Where do The Volunteer Inn need to engage and how did they do it successfully?

The Volunteer Inn is active across Facebook and Instagram. The business knows its customers are predominantly active on Facebook though so it invests the majority of its efforts there.

The business has spent time getting themselves more active on social since the first lockdown. It’s looked for new ways to serve customers, regularly reminds them that although they are closed they can still order from their restaurant and injects topical humour into its content - including the use of memes. Through December with the introduction of its Very Volly Advent Draw, the pub increased its engagement by over 127% on the previous month.

Focus your efforts on where your customers are, and where they engage with you the most. The Maybe* See What Works report will help you figure this out for your business.

The Maybe* See What Works report for The Volunteer Inn showing the content and engagement with it September 1 - December 31

Step 7: Who or what else are your customers distracted by and interested in?

Like all pubs up and down the country, The Volunteer Inn has had to pivot and find new ways to serve customers during lockdown, and keep them safe on re-opening.

Back in July 2020 the inn did a stellar job communicating their re-opening precautions which helped alleviate punters concerns.

On New Years Eve, the pub served up its takeaway curries, taking pre-bookings for its locals that would be celebrating at home rather than in the pub.

By being mindful of its customers' concerns about safety, and their restrictions, the Volunteer Inn has been able to plate up for its patrons, even when it can’t pull them a pint.

Step 8: Mastering advertising

Facebook advertising is great for supporting local businesses as you can get nice and local with your targeting.

Once you’ve got a Facebook page, you can have a free Facebook ads account which allows you to advertise on both Facebook and Instagram. And Maybe* is on hand to help you advertise easily and cost-efficiently.

See how to connect and manage your advertising

If you’re using advertising on Facebook and Instagram, your audience insights will really help inform who you should target. You can create three different types of audience within the Facebook Ads manager. Let’s break them down.

Saved - this is easy. This is basically a cold audience, one that has perhaps never come across you before. This audience type allows you to add behavioural and interest targeting; gender and demographic information. So if you want to advertise to women between 25-45 in Chipping Campden then you can do that.

Custom- A custom audience allows you to take your Facebook page and Instagram page and build an audience based on who and how it's been engaged with over a period of time. The Volunteer Inn could use this when they are reopening as a way of getting messaging in front of anyone who’s engaged with their page.

Lookalike - this is the clever stuff. Made easy. So let’s say you have created a custom audience from your engagement data. A lookalike is where you take a custom audience (and you can only do it on custom audiences) and say find me the top 1% of people in Chipping Campden who match my existing custom audience. Facebook will then find all the people in your custom audience, and then look for more people it thinks might be similar based solely on their Facebook activity. For a pub like the Volunteer Inn this is gold dust as it helps them deliver on their business goal to reach new customers.

Step 9: What are The Volunteer Inn’s measures of success?

The Volunteer Inn knew that it wanted to increase its posting frequency, increase customer engagement and build awareness. The Inn is also measuring its follower growth which shows that it is reaching new audiences and that more locals or visitors to the Cotswolds are discovering the local gem.

The Maybe* Your Report page for the Volunteer Inn

Step 10: Measuring delivery on the original objective?

The Volunteer Inn engages existing locals and new customers with its own content and also builds relationships with other local businesses to benefit from the shared customers.

Using Maybe* means The Volunteer Inn is able to identify and engage in local conversations, and can sell to more customers in the local area as a result.

Check out the Maybe* Your report feature which enables you to track your social media performance metrics and your business goals.

How using your report within Maybe* helps you track your social media and business goals

Key takeaway

The Volunteer Inn knew it needed to up its social media game and responded to the challenge thrown down to it by lockdown. By telling their story, bringing it to life on social and keeping up regular communication and engagement, the Volunteer Inn is increasing its awareness which is exactly what they set out to do, and is retaining its place at the heart of the Chipping Campden community online and offline.

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