By Rob Cressy, Founder, Cress Media

Smiles don’t lie.

It’s been a hallmark phrase for the way that I run my business, create marketing, and interact with my customers.

And it should be for you too.

What it means is if someone is smiling, they are probably having a good time.

It is then my job to make sure that people are always smiling and having a good experience with my brand, and the groups that I work with.

A good example of Smiles Don’t Lie

I created an event series called the Bacon, Sports & Beer Celebration. We brought together 20 sports bars and restaurants serving bacon-inspired creations with 25 craft breweries, Nerf games, pop-a-shot, and a DJ bumping hip-hop jams. Plus everyone in attendance was rocking jerseys. Over 700 people attended it, and while it was going on, I captured photos and videos of everyone having funand getting down, so that I could use it later.

The root of this for me — which is another staple for how I do business and live life — is that I have fun in everything that I do. From writing this article, to throwing an event, to creating content for social media, I’m going to have a blast doing it.

Your customers are the same way. They want to have fun, so the brand experience you deliver and the marketing you create around it should mimic that.

On a tactical level, you should be thinking about how you can amplify the experience that customers are having on a given day in your establishment and then translating that into your marketing.

The solution is simple — Instagram

Instagram a visual medium. it’s easy to tag photos, and no platform shows off those pearly whites better than Instagram.

What you now need to do is give your customers a reason to want to take pictures of them having fun at your establishment.

The way you can do that is by rewarding them. Have them take a picture (preferably of them and their friends or your delicious and well plated food) and tag your establishment while they are there. Next have them show their server the tagged photo and they receive some sort of reward (free appetizer, percentage off their bill, etc.)

Sports bar smiles

This sort of campaign is about building a social engagement and community culture within your brand and marketing. Running an organic Instagram campaign like this isn’t going to solve all of your problems at once, as social media marketing is not a one trick pony. It’s part of a long-term engagement strategy that gets people excited to interact with your brand over time.

One of the reasons that social media marketing works is because of social proof. I’d much rather trust a recommendation from a friend of mine than any other form of advertising.

Even better if I can see them smiling, and having fun at that spot. If it looks like a blast, I may even hit them up in the comments and ask about it.

You want to repeat that interaction on an endless loop

From there you can take the Instagram posts your customers tagged you in, compile them together, and use them in your marketing on social channels and in your newsletter.

Tip: you can use the Repost app for Instagram and it’ll allow you to repost other people’s Instagram photos easier. Always make sure to give photo credit when possible. 

I also recommend that you publicize this Instagram campaign in your establishment. Make sure all of the servers and staff knows to talk about it, include it with the check, or put it in the bathrooms (to give a few ideas.)

The key to a successful campaign like this is you have to let people know about it. You can’t assume they’ll just automatically do it because they won’t. Success with marketing is about increasing awareness and then turning that into action.

A crazy thing will happen when you run a successful campaign like this. You’ll start to see other opportunities where you can integrate your social media and community — both online and offline. People become excited to interact and hear from your brand. You’ve given them a reason to want to come back to your establishment.

Like I said, “Smiles don’t lie.”

If you are looking for a social media specialist to help your brand grow and engage your sports fan audience then shoot me an email to I’d love to talk. You can also check out my Ultimate Guide: Digital Marketing To Millennials, which I think will deliver some value to you.