Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Our Dos and Don’ts For Strengthening Your Online Presence
Start Growing Your Social Media Profile With Our Recipe For Success!
As a food entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly the envy of your close friends and business contacts. After all, food businesses are inevitably associated with creativity, artistry and endless inspired originality. So, it follows that you, as a budding food entrepreneur, embody the charisma and innovative spirit that is so closely linked to the notion of the ‘food start-up’. And it makes sense; who could have a passion for food without having a genuine zest for life….?
With food businesses often being established by individuals with the most captivating and engaging personalities, it would be natural to expect that social media marketing for food businesses would be an absolute cinch! Just set up your new business-specific social media profiles and unleash your dynamic personality out there into cyberspace. It’s easy, right?
Well, if it actually were that easy, we probably wouldn’t receive the number of requests for social media training that we receive every week.
Maybe you’re a seasoned social media pro who’s been cyber-networking since the early days of Facebook; or maybe you’re still getting to grip with the basic fundamentals of your smartphone.
Whatever stage you’re at in the social media journey, we’re sure we have some valuable tips that will significantly boost your online visibility.
Read on to find out how we can help you communicate your key brand attributes via social media. We want to help you discover a boundless worldwide audience of food-fanatical consumers, buyers, journalists and online influencers! Whether you’re in the seafood business or not, the world is your oyster!
1. DO: Build Relationships
It’s vital to build strong relationships with your target audience. The keyword here is ‘engaging’. No doubt, you’ve heard about the importance of engagement over and over again; but what exactly does it mean…?
It’s helpful to start by looking at a definition:
“Social media engagement measures the public shares, likes and comments for an online business' social media efforts. Engagement has historically been a common metric for evaluating social media performance but doesn't necessarily translate to sales.”
From working with numerous food businesses over the last seven years, we’ve learned that, when it comes to social media engagement, there is no ‘quick fix’.
However, there is one vital tip that we recommend our clients take on board: build a relationship with your online customer, without (this is the extremely vital bit!) being ‘in your face’.
Let’s keep things in context, the very term ‘social media’ says it all - you need to be social. In essence, this means it’s not all about you or your product. Don’t hog the limelight – show your followers and fans some love! It’s’ a two-way street; to truly engage with your audience, you need to build relationships by liking, following back and commenting.
Plus, think about how you can share the most engaging ‘likeworthy’ social posts. Our digital marketing research indicates that, in order to gain traction online, up and coming food businesses need to focus on the ‘food experience factor’.
Food experiences are now a crucial part of our contemporary lifestyles. Indeed, food culture surrounds us!
In particular, Millennials are hugely influenced by our growing foodie culture. The Millennial demographic adores discovering sparkling new food experiences. They want to express their individuality by revealing their ‘new finds’ in terms of food products and eateries. In fact, the Millennial approach often centres on inspiring FOMO (fear of missing out) in others!
So, armed with this knowledge, here’s your social engagement opportunity: reveal juicy nuggets of insider knowledge and behind the scenes info (nothing too confidential, obviously!); post awe-inspiring, share-worthy photos and, if at all possible, establish photo opportunities so that your customers can take that envy-inducing selfie or a mouth-watering shot of the beautiful dish they’ve just been served up.
2. DON’T: Focus Exclusively on Follower Numbers
It’s probably fair to say that we live in an increasingly data-driven environment. Naturally, it’s easy to get carried away with numbers: How many followers/fans do I have? How many likes/shares do I have this week compared to last week?
We advise, however, that you take a step back from all this numbers talk! It’s true what they say: it’s about quality not quantity.
When clients ask me the classic “how to do I increase my following on social media?” question, my response is always the same. I remind them that the first step to delivering a successful social marketing campaign is recognising that an increase in followers means absolutely nada if your followers aren’t consuming your content.
For example, a 10K following is of little significance if your content is being met with a stony cold social media ‘silence’. Consequently, we recommend that you place less emphasis on the significance of follower numbers and focus instead on likes, shares and comments – an accumulation of likes, shares and comments is a more accurate reflection of your social media success.
3. DON’T Forget About Your Competitors!
No matter how unique you feel your business is, it’s a well-established fact that there is always competition. It can be frustrating to launch your new food business and then subsequently discover that there’s a similar enterprise poised to eclipse your progress.
Sometimes, it might feel easier to just completely ignore the competition. However, the head-in-the sand approach is not one that we’d recommend!
Firstly, as a social media strategist, I advise food business clients to claim preferred brand name accounts on all of the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.). This will avoid the prospect of aggressive competitors encroaching on your social media territory and, of course, avoid your target audience becoming confused by brand similarities.
Secondly, try to learn from your competitors! Ask yourself the following questions:
What are my competitors doing right?
What are they doing wrong?
How are my competitors working to stand out from the crowd?
What can I do to ensure that my own business gets noticed before theirs?
4. DO: Set Targets
As with other areas of your business, targets can help to give you focus. We advise that you take a step back every two to three months to assess your successes and failures.
Here are some examples of the type of social media targets that our clients often consider:
Increasing website traffic – What percentage of your website referral traffic is originating from social media sources? By what degree would you like that percentage to increase within the next three months?
Generating new leads — How many sales leads or product orders are you receiving via social media channels on a weekly or monthly basis? What is your target number of sales leads?
Food PR – How often are your social media posts capturing the imagination of bloggers, journalists and influencers? Is the frequency of mentions increasing or decreasing?
For more suggestions relating to social media targets, contact us directly for a consultation.
5. DO: Create a Social Media Schedule (and try to stick to it!)
All successful businesses need structure and this is especially true of start-ups and SMEs.
The old saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ rings true in our experience dealing with clients. In order to build social media engagement, you’ll need to post regularly - we’d recommend two to three posts per platform on a daily basis.
To decide on the optimal post times (morning, afternoon, evening, late night?), check the data insights on each of the platforms you use; you’ll soon gain an understanding of what works best.
A routine definitely helps – it creates an expectation of new content. Your followers may even develop a habit of checking your profile to view your latest posts.
WARNING: Don’t forget, however, that if you post too often, you may annoy your audience!
See our sample social media schedule below to get an idea of how to plan your very own program of activity.
In conclusion, navigating the social media environment is never easy; however, the opportunities offered by social media platforms mean there’s incredible scope to grow your brand and win over new foodie fans! The time you devote to building relationships with your audience can lead to a higher number of sales, an increase in customer loyalty and higher positive reviews.
If you’d like a full audit of your social media presence, we’re always here to help! We offer a complete social media consultancy service – just tug on our apron strings....
Naturally, the above list is not exhaustive. Over the coming weeks we hope to look into even more social media techniques that will help you become a social media rock star! Watch this space!
In the meantime, we’d be delighted if you shared your very own social media experiences with us. Have you had any notable successes (or disasters!)? Do you regularly get likes, comments, and shares on your posts? We’d love to hear what works for you!
If you have any questions, make sure to ask inside my Facebook group, Bite-sized Marketing Morsels with The Dirty Apron & Co. This is one of my favourite places to hang out! On this sounding board, I get personal and raw while introducing you to other food industry movers-and-shakers, bringing mini-trainings right to your feed for delicious results.
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OWNER - THE DIRTY APRON & CO.
The Dirty Apron & Co. is a one-stop shop that turns delicious dreams into reality. Rachel and her team are specialists in food marketing for retail or wholesale food businesses, cafes, restaurants and caterers.
They are passionate about all
things food, and have the know- how, experience and industry contacts to help new food businesses get started.