Interview: Marketing Manager, Fabio Adler at McQueen

Following on from my recent appearance as a panelist at Imbibe Live! I was delighted to be asked by the magazine's editor to write an article on social media best practice for their drinks business readers.

As part of my research I interviewed several people who do a great job with their social media marketing including Young's Pubs, The London Cocktail Club, McQueen and Meantime Brewing.  As a little taster of the final article, here's the full text from my interview with Fabio Adler who's Marketing, Events and PR manager at McQueen, the award winning bar, restaurant and club venue in London's Shoreditch.     

Fabio, how did you first get involved in marketing and social media management?

Initially, I was working at a concierge company called Quintessentially and then the Ten Group. I used to organise events for members and through this I came into contact with agencies and PRs who were promoting new restaurants and bars in central London.   I became really interested in the PR side and finally found a position with McQueen that combined my events skills with a new PR role. On the first day at McQueen at the beginning of 2011, I opened a new Twitter account for the business and now we have over 5,000 followers.

What social media channels do you use currently?

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.  On Facebook and Twitter we use the channels to speak to our principle audiences as we have a big following on both.

On Pinterest, it's all about the story behind the brand, Steve McQueen, American Idols, our style, interiors and videos. We also have a board for our club flyers which again are all about the style and image of McQueen.

Google+ is also interesting as it helps to give our events and business more profile on Google search.

Which channel or channels are working out best for you so far?

On Facebook we have over 7,000 likes so that's our biggest audience. We have our biggest interaction with our 25 - 28 year old fans there. We post ads on a regular basis on Facebook for our tasting events, cocktail offers or other special events like the World Cup. Usually I don't spend more than £20 at a time, but it's always very helpful and we see a spike of interest / likes when we run these ads. I'm quite targeted with the advertising and I look for audiences who have expressed interest in a related subject, for example we would target local soccer fans for our World Cup promotion.

How do you use your social media accounts? For marketing, research, recruitment, other purposes?

Mostly, we use it for talking about McQueen and for talking with our customers and neighbours and for interacting with our DJs and supplier brands. Shoreditch is great, in that we have a lot of interaction with other people and businesses locally. On the clubbing scene people are very active on social media and you often get DJs asking about work directly on Facebook. We also use it to keep an eye on what our competitors are up to.

How important would you say social media is for McQueen?

It's an important part of our reputation building activities. As I manage all of the business's PR and Events it's not something I can focus on every day but it's still a key component of what we do.  

Have you had any particular successes with your social media in the past year?

We released a new video recently to help promote the venue and that had a fantastic response. I decided to spend the whole day talking it up on social media and that ended up with people like View London, Design By Night and Hoxton Radio mentioning it to their wider audience. We had over 20 retweets in one day which is a great number for us.    

Posts about our inspiration, Steve McQueen also get a great reaction. People like to hear about him and how he inspired our venue. Many people who follow us weren't even born when Steve McQueen was in his heyday, and they love discovering more about this really cool man. We also focus on stories with an American focus, as US design and culture has had a strong impact on our venue layout and design.   I'm also thankful to say that we get hardly any complaints which is a great indicator for the success of our venue service and experience.

On another occasion, Gary Linekar came to eat with us and he sent out a lovely tweet about his meal to his one million plus followers. On the back of that one tweet, we picked up 100 new followers in a day. It just goes to show that personality endorsements on social media can have a big and immediate impact.

How do you manage your social media week to week?

I manage everything via my laptop or mobile. I'll have all the channels open on my computer each day. The mobile apps make it especially easy to keep tabs on what's going on, so I can respond to a customer message even if it's on a Saturday evening.

What's your biggest issue using social media?

It can be very time consuming, also it can be hard to keep it interesting all the time.   I have to deal with all the aspects of marketing the business and running events, so it can be neglected some times.  

Having quite a diverse demographic can also be a challenge as our customers range from mid 20's to business people in their 50's from the City. 

What are your top tips for using social media within the bar business?

Don't appear too pushy. Avoid the sense that you are the best option in life! I prefer a tone that is more laid back and modest.   For example, don't go on a ReTweet rampage and retweet every good thing anyone has every said about you. After a while it just gets a bit too forced looking. It's important to keep a balance. You don't need to talk about yourself all the time. Thank people for their kind words and talk about the rest of the world too to keep the conversation more real and relevant to your audience.

For more about McQueen you can visit: or why not follow them on Twitter @__McQueen__ or on FB at McQueenShoreditch.