One of the budget-friendly ways that a small food biz may advertise, discussed in my first post, is the use of Social Media. So in this post, I’m calling out some of the most popular social media platforms your customers are using.
Customers engage with those platforms specifically to help them determine:
- What they want to eat
- The best place to get what they want to eat
- What kinds of reviews that place has
- Which menu options are available to them
- What type of atmosphere they can expect when they go
- How much they may pay when they go there
- The location and contact information of the place where they want to eat
All of these things and more will shape the customer’s decision about where to go. Shouldn’t you have as much control as possible over the information that influences those decisions?
This is the big boy so we’re starting here. The first thing most people think of when you mention social media is Facebook. Over 214 million Americans use Facebook, according to 2017 statistics. And that number is going up! I found several studies that show Facebook as the leading social media platform world wide. In fact, “Facebook” was the most searched-for term in 2017.
With such a rich environment in which to gain customer attention, you’d be surprised how many small food businesses aren’t using this platform. If they /are/ using it, many aren’t capitalizing on its full potential. You may be wondering how you could use the features Facebook has to offer to help you get customers in the door. You start by understanding what some of those features are.
- Business page: A business page is different from your personal profile. You have to have a personal profile built first. Then you can add a business page to that profile. This allows people to follow your business without doing the whole ‘friend approval’ thing or running up against a limit on the number of friends you can have like you would encounter on a personal profile page. There is no limit on the number of followers for a business page.
- Things you can do on your business page:
- List your hours of operation,
- Create a menu of your products and services
- You can even do some eCommerce, though this platform isn’t ideal for that.
- A business page allows you to boost your posts to reach a larger audience in your geographic area for a small fee. While that isn’t free, it’s still budget-friendly and it can help you reach a broader number of customers than just the people who follow you.
Having a business page also gets you listed as a business on Facebook itself, so you will show up when people search Facebook for local businesses in your niche. There are ways to make yourself show up better in those searches, but I’ll talk about that more in a later post.
- Images and video: Facebook makes this easy. The best part is that pictures you post are archived, allowing people to look back through them. You can keep your signature dishes on display, make sure your logo stays in front of your followers or feature those hallmark moments that make your business stand out. People love pictures. Studies show that posts with pictures get more attention and engagement than those that don’t.
- Facebook Live is gaining traction. It gives you the ability to interact with your followers in real time. Try doing a weekly Facebook Live session during a lunch rush where you interview your customers in line, or a session where you show your cook making a specialty dish. It makes customers feel like they’re genuinely part of your business, because they are!
- Post engagement: A lot of businesses don’t post to Facebook enough (or at all!). Studies show that posting at least once per day will keep your brand in front of customers. But you don’t want to post too much or you risk getting on their nerves. You also don’t always want to try to sell them something. That seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? But this is another way you can encourage people to make that human connection with you.
Here are just a few ideas for things you could post
- Post inspirational memes
- Daily specials
- Ask questions
- Business announcements
- Post or address interesting or relevant industry news
- Employee highlights like birthdays birthdays, weddings, significant anniversaries or graduations
- Reply to customer comments on your page
- Celebrate some business milestone
- For food trucks, this is a great way to let your followers know where you’re gong to be each day