Since I started going to bar shows in 2016, I attended several seminars about social media. Mostly they were about the benefits for bars of having an online presence. Roughly: make people aware of your existence and what you do, attract customers, keep a “fanbase” of regulars, etc. However, last month at Bottle Brothers, I attended a masterclass on personal branding and the use of social media designated especially for bartenders. It was given by Max La Rocca, a former bartender, bar manager and now competition mentor and judge as well as hospitality educator.
Indeed, it’s not only establishment or businesses that professionally benefit from being online. Individuals too. LinkedIn is an invaluable source of information for “office people”, especially those looking for a new job. It helps them expand their professional network, consult job openings and follow the latest activities of the companies they’re interested in. The latter in turns is a sure way to demonstrate genuine interest and mark points during interviews.
Bartenders work in what is essentially a sensory industry and what does a better job than pictures and videos to showcase their cocktail creations, flair style or sense of hospitality? Therefore, bartenders find in Instagram, Facebook and YouTube the designated platforms to build their online presence. Much as LinkedIn, visual social media open them the door to new professional opportunities. Think new jobs, collaborations with brands on events, brand ambassador positions, etc.
During his masterclass, Max shared his advice on how to create great content that will attract people to one’s account and possibly engage with them. Focusing on mobile photography, he gave useful tips to get quality pictures, from how to best hold your phone to how to frame your pictures.
The esthetics is not enough though. As Max reminded his audience, to truly engage people pictures or stories have to show three things: emotion; product; and experience. In other words: people, drink and atmosphere.
These three elements are also key to make brands or prospective employers want to connect with you. Therefore, it is important to take care of your personal brand on social media. “We work in the people business, in the experience business, in the communication business. We need to mind the way we communicate 360°”, Max explained at the start of his masterclass.
How? “By focusing on your concept, i.e your why; on the content you want to deliver and on the perception you want to give about yourself, the very first part of your personal brand people experience before they even visit your bar or website”, said Max. “Have the courage to show yourself. People want to see other people, display your creativity and energy”. Creating that kind of content takes time though and you have to be proactive as well, reaching to people and brands. Max himself spends about a third of his day looking for new people to follow and collaboration opportunities online. “It’s not about numbers, it’s about impact”, he reminded his audience.
Some of his suggestions include interacting with 30-40 posts per day, following relevant industry people and being consistent about the quantity of posts you publish each week.
Personally, I use Facebook to read my preferred online magazines and keep up with the activities of my favourite bars. I rarely publish on my personal profile. While I do share drinks pictures and articles on attadrink’s page, my little use of Facebook shows with the small number of followers the page has. I am more active on Instagram, again with the attadrink handle, where I share content about my bar hopping adventures and the competitions and bar shows I attend. I also use the Instagram bio to redirect people to my latest blog post. Maybe this is how you’ve landed on this article! If so, I’d be happy if you could let me know through a quick comment at the end of this post!
As my goal is to grow attadrink and turn into professional opportunities, I will start applying Max’s tips about personal branding. One of the next steps will be to start showing myself on social media I guess. So get ready to see my face popping up here and there from now on!
To conclude, here is a short video we made with Max at the end of his masterclass. More info about his InstaDrinkStrategy and other seminars on his website.