In my experience the most common excuse for food truck owners not being active on social media is that there is not enough time for marketing. Running a mobile food business usually means working well over 80 hours every week, and that’s just taking care of getting your food bought, prepped, cooked and then sold along with the things like accounting and truck maintenance to make sure that your business will be on the street next week.
There are two primary options for building your social presence: do it yourself or hire someone else to do it. Having an employee on your food truck staff to handle social media marketing kind of falls under both categories, but there can be problems with this scenario. First, if you are starting out with a small operation, many truck owners are the only employees and cannot afford to hire a line cook let alone someone to handle the social media. Second, if you don’t already know how to properly promote your business on social media, how can you train someone else to do it?
Outsourcing your food truck’s social media marketing isn’t a bad option if you can afford it, but then you end up with a group that isn’t familiar with who you are or how you run your business. This could be disastrous for your brand. So now you’re back to where we started: either do it yourself or don’t do it at all. If I can give you any advice, it would be – not doing it at all should never be an option.
So, how do you make the time to implement a good social media strategy and still sleep at night?
Not enough time for marketing your food truck? Here are five suggestions that can lighten your load:
Prioritize Social Media Marketing
If something isn’t a priority, it won’t get done, this goes for social media. There are too many things that need your attention every day. Only the things which are considered important tend to get done. Social media marketing is important, and you need to look at it that way. Put it on a calendar if you have to. Outside of posting your next location, it doesn’t really matter what days or times you choose, as you will soon see.
Provide Good Content
This article isn’t a full class on the content of your posts or tweets, but you should understand the 80/20 rule of content creation: four interesting posts that don’t promote your food truck directly for every one that does. The content you share needs to include interesting items on the web, of which most should be related to food or your local area. Google is a great resource, but making good notes about what you find is vital.
Please note: Mobile Cuisine has always aimed to be a resource of information regarding the food truck industry, so feel free to share our content with your followers. *end of self-promotion*
You need a solid piece of software to help with your social media, or you will spend entirely too much time on them. A social media dashboard such Hootsuite or Buffer will allow you to take all those ideas you’ve collected and schedule them throughout the day or week. You can set something to post Monday morning at 10 am, then Wednesday at 5 pm, then Friday at noon all in one sitting.
By setting up your social media sharing in advance means you can spend more time during your day dealing with creating great food and making your customers want to come back for more.
Post on Multiple Platforms
There are more than a few social media platforms available for food truck owners, and I’ve always suggested taking advantage of at least four of them: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn (others include Pinterest ,Instagram and Foursquare). While you may want to tailor each message separately for each platform…make sure your content gets there.
Use a Group Effort
You may never reach a point where you have a team dedicated to your food truck’s social media, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your existing team to help out. Before handing out passwords you need to fully understand the range of tasks you want the team to help with.
Develop a strict set of guidelines which need to be adhered to if you set your staff members as social media representatives (the tone they use in posts, if they can reply directly to customers, the content of their posts, etc…). This will prevent problems which could potentially be devastating to your food truck’s good name.
Never give in to the “not enough time” excuse. Make it happen, because your food truck business’ future literally depends on it. Just don’t try to shoulder everything yourself. Use social media tools to lighten your load, and stop using the excuse of not enough time for marketing your food truck business.