WHY SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS
Many of my clients and restaurant owners ask me if social media is effective. Overall my answer is a resounding "yes". After that, the devil is in the details, and you need to know the best practices in social media. Staying active and engaged is a relatively inexpensive way to expand brand awareness, increase website traffic and build a community of loyal followers that translates into purchases in your establishment or of your product. To explore this idea, let’s look at three do's and three don'ts that can benefit your business no matter whether it's a cafe, a farm, a restaurant or a maker.
THREE DON’TS of SOCIAL MEDIA
DON’T ASSUME IT HAPPENS ORGANICALLY
You cannot just hope that your posts work. Just like all marketing projects, you need a plan. Write out an organized plan that includes items such as the social media outlets you plan to use, the number of posts or tweets per day and/or per week you will write, and the time you need to research ideas, take photos (ahead of time, and in the moment), write posts, track analytics and engage with your followers.
DON’T GET TOO FORMULAIC
Keep it fresh, keep it real, keep it timely. You can tell yourself “I don’t need to post on this cool event we created because I am just too busy running the event.” That is a missed opportunity. Remind your staff, set a timer on your phone, whatever reminder you need to keep adding content. You will find that your mind's eye will set off an alarm saying, "capture that for social media!" Another creative method I have seen in use, is people that love a restaurant or an event post, and you merely need to add it to your feed.
DON’T IGNORE THE STATISTICS
Get the most from social media by tracking the metrics provided by the media platform. There are performance indicators that help you analyze which posts work the best. With analytics and research you can learn the following tricks:
- Impressions and Reach. Impressions are the number of times a post from our page is displayed in a newsfeed, whether the post is clicked or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see the original post then see it again because someone shared it. Reach is the number of people who received impressions of a page post. Reach might be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions.
- Follower Growth. Track the number of followers on your networks and watch how it grows over time. You might notice one particular post or promotion attracts a lot of followers.
- Competition. With a little research you can determine why similar businesses to your own focus in a certain direction. This is how you can learn to differentiate yourself. If they are making fish sticks, and they are making millions, do not feel like fish sticks are the answer to your business.
THREE DO's of SOCIAL MEDIA
1. POST GREAT PHOTOS
When I was growing up, pets and food defined good advertising campaigns. This still holds true today and social media allows you to present your photos without the expense of a “Mad Men’esque” advertising campaign. Food posts can be easily planned and the photography work can be shared with your staff and even your customers. Once you figure out who has a great eye for photography, you can start planning ahead and building a gallery of photos ready to go. Here are some statistics that might inspire you and and help you accept social media’s ability to attract and engage customers:
- 72%of food photography is of a main meal. That could be your food in the photo.
- 49% of consumers learn about food through social networks. That means you can reach about half of the people on social media just by becoming active.
- 24% respond to conversations about food on social media. Engaging with your followers about your food photos helps build your brand and gain trust.
- Need more information like this. Here is one of the many good iconographics on the topic.
2. PROVIDE RELEVANT CONTENT
Keep your content short, simple and on point. Impact improves with simplicity. Say more with fewer words. If your goal is converting followers to paying customers try a give away, a gift card for the 25th person who likes the your post. Try taking pre-orders from your posts by enticing followers with an incentive. For example, a restaurant in the Baltimore area delivers a mason jar filled with thick-cut maple bacon with your check in on FB, or mention their restaurant on Instagram. Always seek new ways to ask your audience to sign up for your newsletter. This will direct them to your website.
3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS
This is interlocked with content. If you give your followers some way to engage, then they will engage. Give them helpful tips about your business and engage with them through education. When they respond to a post, respond back to them. They want to get to know you and the personality of your business. Interacting with them will help them get to know you better.
LESSONS TO TAKE WITH YOU
In summary, engage your guests with good content, good photos, and education. This will take your social media from dull and lackluster, to colorful and interesting. If you wish to indulge yourself in more statistics, here is a great article. If you would like a virtual coffee with me, Martha Lucius, feel free to email me when you are next at your iphone/computer. I look forward to hearing your successes.