What Is Social Media Marketing and How Should My Food or Drink Business Use It Best
9th May 2018
Social media has become an important tool in marketing over the years, even more so for the food & drink industry; Statista found that as of January 2018, Instagram had over 208 million posts have been hashtagged “food” since 2010.
We eat with our eyes, so being able to visually showcase your food along with the likelihood of customers sharing this visual content with their friends and so forth is very powerful.
Done right social media marketing can bring success to your business, it can create devoted brand advocates, a loyal following and a community who are actively promoting you to their own online and offline networks. With all of this in mind, you need to know how you can best use it, which is why we have created this list on how your food & drink business should use it.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social networking sites in a business’s marketing strategy. Social media can be used to promote your products and services in the form of producing content that other social media users can share with their social network.
The benefit of social media marketing is that it can help your business build brand awareness with the increase in brand exposure and customer engagement through your presence online, which overall increases customer enquiries.
Related content: 11 Essential Ingredients For A Food Business’s Presence Online
So now that you know what social media marketing is…
How Should My Food Business Use Social Media?
1. How to communicate on social
It’s important to understand that marketing always changes, why it changes, and what you can do about these changes to ensure that your business’s performance is steady and even increases.
a. Transactional marketing funnel
Before the digital era made an impact on customer behaviour, marketing operated as a funnel. The idea was that ‘shouting’ information about your products/services in the form of ads was the best way to acquire a customer, which at the time, it was. And the more money the business had, the more they shouted.
Customers would put up with the shouting as it provided them with information to which they had little to no access to otherwise.
However, with the advancement of technology, gaining access to this information has become incredibly easy. Customers can access all the information they require at their convenience, it is all at our fingertips. Ultimately meaning that the use of the ‘shouting’ transactional marketing funnel became ineffective and has no value to consumers.
b. So how do you communicate with your potential customers?
In short, customer engagement marketing is the answer. Customer engagement is about encouraging your customers to interact with and share content related to your brand.
You can encourage customer engagement by providing value to prospects and customers, who, in turn, will respond by giving your brand their time. An important question to ask yourself to determine how valuable your content is: if I were my customer, would I give up my time for this?
The benefit of customer engagement marketing is that by offering potential customers something valuable, regularly enough, your business builds trust and credibility1
2. Be part of the conversation online
Being part of the conversation and creating conversations are moderately different but they both create the same outcome; brand awareness.
a. Contribute to conversations
To be part of the conversation means to talk about topics that are relevant at the time. If there are topics that are trending, take advantage of this and share your opinions/comments. Your current and potential customers will relate to your brand more so by being part of the conversation. Moreover, if others agree with your statements surrounding the topic, they may feel inclined to share your post, resulting in more visibility for your brand.
Twitter and Facebook are great examples of social platforms which allow you to do this with ease.
b. Create the conversations
Similarly to being part of the conversation, creating conversations is a great way to build brand awareness and encourage customer engagement. But creating conversations means to pick up on relevant topics that may have only been spoken about briefly, or not at all.
You should try to talk about topics that are related to your industry as much as possible, otherwise, you risk being irrelevant to your audience.
Creating conversations such as these will show your audience that you care about these topics enough to speak about them, and not just joining conversations to be part of the ‘trend’.
Buffer is a great example of this, with them creating conversations weekly with their audience on Twitter using the hashtag #bufferchat and relative topics in the industry.
— Buffer (@buffer) 9 May 2018
3. Share Relevant Content & News
Sharing other businesses or peoples content is an effective way to show your audience that it’s not all about you, that you are adding value in other ways and are aware and connected with related topics online.
a. Be Relevant
When it comes to posting external content (such as sharing someone else’s post on Facebook), make sure it is relevant and appropriate. Although you may be tempted to share funny animal videos regularly to make others laugh, this might be irrelevant to your business and gain you a following which is not related to what you do or stand for.
You want to show your audience that you are a quality, passionate, active food business, so sharing food-related content and news makes sense. For example, you could share a Facebook video of a famous chef’s cooking tips or an update on a piece of news which relates to your industry or product type.
Related content: What Content Should You Be Posting On Social Media?
b. Show Your Support (locally and wider)
As well as sharing food relatable content on social media, you may also want to relate to your local audience. After all, they could be your biggest supporters and potential following. That’s why it’s important to get involved with local news and engage with your local community online.
A good example would be; if you are attending the local food/beer festival in your area, you could share the festival’s content as it is food related, relevant and local.
You can still try to keep it as food and drink related as possible but know that there will need to be exceptions at times to relate to your audience.
4. Customer Service and Response Time
With social media, comes the responsibility of responding to customer queries and complaints. But don’t look at this as a chore, look at this as an opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service. Don’t underestimate how many eyes will be on your responses to both positive and negative reviews and comments online.
Everyone gets negative feedback from time to time, but it’s how you respond to it that really counts. It shows that you are willing to correct a negative situation, provide a resolution and ultimately turn a negative review around to create a win-win situation. A little bit of humour and a personal touch goes a long way, don’t sound like a robot or respond very formally. Think of it this way, if someone approached your stand at a food festival with a query you would respond like a human, have the same approach to social media.
Moreover, customer reviews are very influential to your customers; 85% of customers trust online reviews more than recommendations according to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2017.
Related content: How To Do More With Your Customer Reviews
5. Run Contests & Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways is a great way to encourage customers to engage with your social media accounts. People like the chance to be able to win something or to be given something for free, especially food.
Contests and giveaways usually draw a lot of attention, so of course, naturally, this will help to build your brand awareness.
The best way to encourage engagement is to have ‘share’ and ‘like’ actions as part of the contest or giveaway terms, as well as main activity. Also, partnering with another brand or a food influencer can be an effective way to increase your visibility.
. @UniofExeter students! Head down to our #YouCanMakeIt van and sample some FREE revision-fuelling Pots! Get involved in our Wall of POT-ential too. You could win some study-smashing and unconventional prizes! pic.twitter.com/G8CxoU4yHT
— Pot Noodle (@PotNoodle) 1 May 2018
Your Next Step for Social Media Marketing…
We hope this article has given you insight as to what social media marketing is and the many ways you can use it to benefit your food business.
If you are interested in working with our team of digital experts to help you with a social media strategy, contact us via the form below (“We’d love to hear from you”).
1Leboff, G. (2011). Sticky Marketing. London, UK: Kogan Page