These past few months have been trying for all of us. For those of you who work in hospitality, it has been particularly hard. Many of you will have closed your doors and even if you did stay open, you will have had to make major changes across your business.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Many cafés are beginning to open again with the relaxation of lockdown rules, but things are not exactly back to how they were. Whilst we can safely assume our customers are looking forward to a ‘proper coffee’, we need to communicate with them via digital channels now more than ever before. Customers are researching online and on social before venturing out. This is why it’s so important to communicate effectively to your social following.

Here are our tips on what to post on your café social media during these unfamiliar times.

1. Make sure you update revised opening hours on your Facebook group

It’s likely that you are shaking up the way you work, and this might mean you are open at different times than usual. Make sure you update your opening hours on your Facebook group so your customers can check out timings before heading over.

2. Let customers know what you are doing to keep them safe

Understandably, people are nervous right now. After three months of distancing and being extra vigilant on health and cleanliness, they want to know you are doing the best you can to keep them safe. Let them know your baristas will be wearing facemasks, or that there are markers on the floor to keep people two metres apart. Make sure you post your safety measures on social media to instil that confidence in your followers.

3. Advise of changes so customers know what to expect

Maybe waiting times will be longer as you fully clean down equipment between usage; this sort of thing will differ from their usual customer experience, so give a heads up. Most people won’t mind at all, but communication is key. Similarly, there may be things you expect your customers to do, so let them know in an informational social post. For example, you may insist on cashless payment, or you may want all your customers to wear a face covering when they order. Manage expectations by being transparent on your posts.

4. Post your new or restricted menu

It’s good practice to post your menu any time it changes, but especially important right now. Maybe you are limiting your drinks menu or you are changing the takeaway food options. Either way, let your customers know what to expect before they make the journey.

5. Answer questions in a timely manner

You may see an increase in queries coming through on your social channels as you post these updates. Always make sure you respond as soon as it’s convenient. On Facebook, you have the Response Assistant (the autogenerated field ‘Typically replies within xxx’) – if you can get this down to under an hour, it will indicate to your following that you are responsive to their needs. After all, consumers use social to contact businesses as they expect a quicker response.

Make sure you keep on communicating with your customers and you can’t go far wrong. Social media is a place for two-way engagement, so keep on with the conversation and keep your customers informed!

This content was originally published here.