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Marketing

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follow-your-nola-food truck

After years of fighting and preventing food trucks from operating on the streets of their own city, NOLA recruits a food truck to travel the country and invite tourists to visit the Crescent City.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) summer ad campaign offers even more reasons to travel to the ‘Crescent City’ in 2014. The additions include an event activation, more robust paid advertising, and an enhanced website that will engage the experiential traveler.

“There are endless options available today to engage visitors and prospective visitors and we intend to engage as many as possible in our quest to encourage experiencing our city,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). “By using the tools in our “Follow Your NOLA” campaign, people will experience and interact with New Orleans in a very personal way.”

A “Follow Your NOLA” food truck will premiere food, prizes, and fun at Jazz Fest, then hit the road, traveling to three cities in Texas, including Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Locals and visitors will be able to follow along on Twitter, via #followyournola on @visitNewOrleans.

Besides tasting authentic New Orleans food prepared by Chef Brian Landry, a spinning compass will award prizes with every turn, such as cultural experiences including live music and a Mardi Gras Indian; “Follow Your NOLA” gifts; and even a chance to win a trip to New Orleans. Twitter users can also enter into the sweepstakes by using the hashtag, #TasteOfNOLA on @visitNewOrleans.

“Sending our “Follow Your NOLA” food truck throughout Texas will remind our neighbors that they are just a short drive away,” continued Romig, “It is a rolling advertisement that should generate enough interest to keep New Orleans top of mind and encourage those who see it to plan their own personal trip on our website.”

Joining the food truck activation, beginning today, a paid media campaign will launch with fifteen and thirty-second spots featuring the voice of New Orleans actor John Goodman, who has a deep passion and love for New Orleans, as well as the soundtrack of Professor Longhair’s iconic song, “Big Chief.” The commercials are targeted toward key ‘fly markets’ with non-stop service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport as well as regional ‘drive markets’ via broadcast television, national cable, and digital video.

Additionally, the campaign will be promoted via a national integrated digital media campaign on partners such as Afar, Bon Appetit, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Garden & Gun, and Pandora.

Targeted fly markets include Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Nashville, TN; Kansas City, KS; San Francisco, CA; and St. Louis. MO. Drive markets include Baton Rouge, Monroe, Lafayette, and Shreveport, LA; Columbus, MS; Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; Mobile and Montgomery, AL; and Pensacola, FL.

“The New Orleans experience is what attracts people to our city and keeps them coming back. This campaign has all of the touch points that highlight our culture and we can’t wait to see the reaction of our friends and neighbors in Texas when we bring great food, music and cultural experiences to them with the “Follow Your NOLA” food truck,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Visiting New Orleans in the summer is a great value with festivals nearly every weekend and plenty to see and do.”

The “Follow Your NOLA.com” website includes a new feature allowing lovers of New Orleans to build a personal travel experience by creating a map-based itinerary. Or users can experience the city following in the footsteps of favorite celebrities, who have posted their favorite haunts in New Orleans. Musician Irvin Mayfield, and artist Terrance Osborne signed on, as well as famous chefs Emeril Lagasse and Anthony Bourdain, and New Orleans Pelican’s basketball star Anthony Davis, among others.

The campaign is also being promoted on New Orleans’ official social media channels via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and the GoNOLA.com culture blog. Join and follow the campaign at followyournola.com, NewOrleansOnline.com, or via hashtag #followyournola and #TasteOfNOLA.

The campaign was created by digital marketing agency 360i in collaboration with NOTMC.

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Food Truck Branding

Creating a fantastic menu, providing a professional customer service program and informing customers where they will be parking next seem to be the most common goals of most food truck vendors.

Unfortunately, many have yet to dive too deeply into their brand. Sure, they designed (or had designed) a great logo and wrap for their truck, but a truck’s brand is much more than the aesthetics. Too many brands continue to fail at explaining what their business has to offer to the people in their community. A lot of this seems to come down to not understanding their customers as individuals.

Some of the food truck brands we examined often seem most interested in talking about:

  • Who they are
  • What they sell
  • Their geographical coverage
  • Their ownership
  • Their customer demographics
  • Their financial performance
  • Their innovations
  • Their social media marketing initiatives

Now contrast that with what plays on the minds of customers:

  • Is the truck’s menu aesthetic and functional?
  • Does the food truck’s brand image and reputation fit with who they are?
  • Does it respond to customer complaints?
  • Does the food truck follow ethical business practices?
  • Is the food truck interesting? Is it in the news? Do people talk about it?
  • Who speaks for the brand?
  • Is the branding consistent? Are customer expectations met?
  • Is it easy to find?
  • Is the menu overly-complicated?
  • Is it priced right?

So while food trucks focus on what they are doing, customers focus on how the food truck’s brand makes them feel and which of the many food truck options available to them feels most like them.

Mobile food vendors need to make a shift to a more human level of interaction with their customers. It’s not enough for them to listen and respond to what their research tells them. To be truly responsive, and not just process driven, food trucks need to find ways of talking to their consumers that are more natural sounding, more personality based, more give-and-take, more intuitive, more versatile.

Ultimately, the real role of social media going forward is that truck owners will need to evolve away from their instinctive nature to sell or talk about themselves. While some food truck owners are doing this, but my opinion is that we will see many more follow this path in the years ahead. Along with daily tweets sharing their next location, food trucks will need to engage with customers with different conversations, some scheduled, many not, taking place at different times across a varied range of topics.

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Give Network Initiative

Join with fellow vendors in this historic & innovative initiative

You may have noticed that we have recently launched an updated theme at Mobile Cuisine in an effort to better serve our readers.  Just as the mobile food industry has grown over the last 4 years, we have too and are ready for new partnerships and promotional opportunities.

Today, we announce our partnership with the GiveNetwork (givenetwork.biz) to benefit two national organizations fighting hunger in America; Meals On Wheels Association of America (mowaa.org) and Convoy of Hope (convoyofhope.org).

The GiveNetwork is a collaboration between Global Impact (charity.org) and Give.mobi LLC.  The GiveNetwork Initiative involves retail and independent businesses (in this case, food trucks) in the hosting of unique trackable Quick Response Codes or QR Donation Portals for consumer access and engagement via smartphone or tablet.

GiveNetwork QR CodeThrough these portals, food trucks facilitate donations from their customers for the two selected charities.

The reasons we have decided to promote this initiative are because 1.) it benefits two great organizations, and 2.) it incorporates the use of mobile technology to facilitate those efforts.  Additionally, food trucks receive ongoing marketing opportunities when they sign up.  The purpose of this partnership is to unite the food truck community in philanthropy and engage their customers in a new and meaningful way.

It’s easy to sign up your truck for the program.
  1. Click on the GiveNetwork logo on the Mobile Cuisine homepage.  You will be taken to the registration site.
  2. You will be asked for some contact information and method of payment.  There is a discounted fee of $45 for a year of service.
  3. Automatically emailed tax exemption donation receipts will include your brand and a personalized “thank you” message from your truck to your donating customers.
  4. Your signage with your uniquely trackable QR Donation Portal will be sent to you immediately to post where visible to your customers.
  5. Marketing Opportunity:  At the close of each month, you will receive a list via email of donor contact information (names/emails) along with total of overall donations collected by your truck’s unique QR code.

Every month Mobile Cuisine will announce newly enrolled trucks, trucks with the most active donors, and the latest happenings of the two organizations that are benefiting from the donations.

We are excited to be the media partner for this creative way of facilitating mobile donations.  Many of you already give back to your community in your individual way by donating your time, food and services.  This initiative allows your customers to be part of the giving too.

Join the GiveNetwork Food Truck Initiative Now!

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Twitter Engage Followers

Yesterday we dove into the topic of finding relevant Twitter followers for your mobile food business. Today we’ll expand on that thought and discuss how to keep your new followers.

While having fantastic food coming from your service window with great service will get customers to keep coming back, the same type of strategy needs to be used when using Twitter. Your followers aren’t going to keep tracking your tweets if the content is the equivalent of an unpleasant server presenting them with bland, non-innovative food.

So how do you keep your followers coming back for more?

Tweet Interesting Content

If you are new to Twitter, this task may seem easier said than done.  Even if you aren’t an investigative journalist there are a number of ways to share interesting content? Here are some ideas.

Use Google Alerts

Set up Google Alerts to get daily email updates about all of the things that are of interest to your audience—from “vegan recipes” to “food truck industry news”—and share them through Twitter.

Share Images

Photos and videos are a proven way to engage your audience. Use photos to share your menu items or events you take part in so your food truck business will get click-throughs and comments.

You may have just come up with a great new recipe, take a picture of it and ask “what do you think?” Photos engage, especially if you tie them into a giveaway.

Engage With The Crowd

Mobile food business’ on Twitter who don’t talk to other people are significantly less engaging and less likely to get followers. Just because someone hasn’t followed you back doesn’t mean that you can’t engage them. Check out their conversations and see if you can jump in with relevant comments, or retweet some of their links.

Join The Conversation

Chances are, what is of interest to your followers is what they’re already talking about! Rather than trying to start a new discussion, why not join an existing? See what your audience is talking about and engage them in that conversation. Ask questions, answer them, retweet and respond.

Also, being part of conversations will get you in front of more people, increasing your chances of being followed.

Get involved with #chats

Anyone can start a chat on Twitter by using a hashtag. By joining the conversation at appropriate chats, you can quickly build your relevant followers; assuming you have something valuable to add!

If you’re looking to engage other local merchants, you could chime in at a chat set up by your local chamber of commerce. If you are looking to talk about the national food truck scene, please feel free to join #FoodTruckChat. Although we have been lax in operating this chat, we do plan to pick it back up shortly.

Promote Your Twitter Account Through Other Channels

Leverage the following you’ve built elsewhere by promoting your Twitter account. Talk up Twitter at your website, blog or through email.

Leverage your social media platforms

Likewise, include links (and calls to action) on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

You may be tempted to sync all of your updates and tweets together using a tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck. While there’s nothing wrong with this, use this technique cautiously.

Certain platforms may not be as “conversational” as Twitter, and if you’re already connected on Facebook and you’re syncing all of your tweets and Facebook posts, what’s the value to your fans of getting the same content on Twitter?

What do you think? What tips, tools or tactics have you been using to build your own relevant Twitter following? Share something in the comments box below and include your Twitter handle and you’ll be sure to pick up a few new followers.

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relevant twitter followers

Is Twitter working for your food truck business the way you thought it would? Are you looking to grow a larger and more relevant Twitter following for your truck?

Early on Roy Choi discovered how powerful Twitter was for finding and engaging an audience for his Kogi BBQ. Not only was it a low cost marketing tool, but the speed it delivered his message and its viral nature made it a favorite tool for advertising his next stop.

Yet when some food truck owners jump on Twitter for the first time, they wonder why they don’t get an overwhelming response to their initial tweet. Soon they learn that they must develop a following.

They see other trucks with followings of 500, 5,000 or 50,000 and they want some of that. So they head over to Google “how to get more followers on Twitter” or falling for tweets advertising different ways to buy followers.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it can be very easy to build a following on Twitter if you’re willing to try tactics such as following and un-following people, creating fake accounts that follow you and retweet everything you say or even buying followers.

Although you may be able to build up your food truck’s following quickly using these shady tactics, very few of those followers will provide your business any value.

So the basic premise of this article is to let new food truck owners know that it’s not how many followers your food truck has, but how many relevant followers you have. Having 1,000 followers who don’t respond to anything you share is equivalent to shouting from your service window and claiming that the entire city is your audience.

With that said; more engaged followers are better than fewer engaged followers. So, let’s focus on getting your food truck more engaged followers.

Building a relevant Twitter following comes down to four basic principles:

  • Find and follow prospective customers
  • Tweet content that interests your target audience
  • Engaging with your audience
  • Promote your Twitter account

Today I’ll discuss the some tips, tools and tactics to attract relevant followers on Twitter and follow up tomorrow with the other three.

Find and Follow Prospective Customers

The audience you want to be able to convert into food truck sales is out there, it’s just up to you to find them.

Build a Strong Profile

Because most people will check out your profile before following you, it is important to put your account settings in order and present your food truck business in the most engaging way possible.

Profile photo: Make sure you’re using a photo of your truck or your logo for your account. Let people know what type of business you are and what tells them more than showing off your truck.

Background Photo: Use this large area to help show potential customers what’s on your menu…show off a single item or collage of images of the food you serve.

Detailed Bio: You’ve got 160 characters, so get creative. Let people know what type of food you sell and where you sell it. If your tag line explains this and fits…use it here to keep a consistent marketing message across all media platforms.

Location: Because the food truck industry is so hyper local, make sure you include the city you operate in. If you are like most trucks and work in multiple cities or counties, put the general region and state you park your truck in. This can be the make it or break for some people to follow your mobile food business.

Third-party Tools

One of the first places to start your search for relevant people is at one of the many Twitter directories out there. Over the years a lot of these directories have come and gone but these are our favorites:

Use these tools to search your area for your ideal customers.

Leverage other Truck’s Twitter Lists

A great source for new people to connect with is other food truck’s Twitter lists. As long as the lists are made public, you are free to subscribe to them, quickly getting access to dozens or hundreds of vetted Twitter users.

Search Twitter

You can use Twitter’s search functionality to find relevant people and engage with them. For example, let’s say you are launching in Cleveland. Start by doing searches on #Cleveland #Foodtruck on Twitter.

Once you find people discussing food trucks in your area, you can join the conversation by @ (mentioning) them, answering their questions and otherwise engaging them.

Since your truck’s customers will normally be local, run a search to see if you can who’s hungry and close to your next stop. Then reach out directly to those starving members of your community on Twitter and offer them a discount or free drink if they show up to your service window and mention “Twitter” as they place their order.

For more ideas on finding and following the right people, keep an eye out on tomorrow’s follow up article.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to retweet it or add us at twitter.com/mobilecuisine.

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four walls food truck marketing

Increasing sales is the top goal of most food truck owners I speak with. To do this, it requires that the vendor focus their effort. All too often, food truck owners look for a quick fix to increase customer traffic, turn to creative advertising campaigns, hoping they will provide the “cure-all” needed to bolster sales.

There is much more to marketing than just advertising, however. In fact, nearly 80 percent of all marketing takes place outside of your food truck.

Four walls marketing is a practice used by restaurant owners, and although your customers do not sit down inside your truck, the same type of marketing strategy can be used by food truck owners. The idea behind this marketing involves the physical appearance of the business, the attitude and appearance of your employees, and the type of experience you create for your customers.

Unfortunately, many mobile food business owners spend time on social media advertising campaigns to bring customers up to their service window only to have them disappointed by their experience.

At best, social media advertising creates short-term customer traffic. Four-walls marketing, on the other hand, creates long-term customer loyalty, assists in building customer frequency and creates a solid reputation for your mobile food business. Evaluate the condition of a four-walls marketing plan for your truck by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the appearance my truck provide an environment that I would feel comfortable in as a customer? Is my truck clean? Is the sidewalk or parking area clean? An clean environment around your truck can become the place of outstanding customer experiences.
  • Are my menu items made with the highest quality and consistency? Believe enough in your food products to inspire others to believe in them too. Because your reputation is at stake, you should tolerate nothing less than perfection.
  • Does my staff project a positive, enthusiastic, customer-minded attitude? This is the most critical element. The people who staff your business determine the ultimate success of your mobile food business. Instill in your staff that building relationships with customers is the business of doing business.

If you were not able to answer yes to all three of these questions, you need to make the necessary adjustments to your food truck and staff so you can. If you answered yes to all three questions, congratulations.

Now, take an additional step and ask the real decision-makers; your customers. Customers tend to see things from a different perspective than you do. If your customers’ answers match your own, you’re on the right track.

Because everything relates to the customers’ experience, don’t just settle for customer satisfaction. The best strategy you can adopt to lead your food truck business to success is to strive to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Once you’re using an effective four-walls marketing plan as your primary effort in marketing your food truck, you can supplement it with other strategies.

A creative advertising plan is a necessary element to promote your mobile food business, and there are “no-cost” strategies that can help increase sales. Two of the most effective are:

  • Suggestive selling: With some simple training and follow-up, your staff can increase sales without adding a single new customer. Find an item or service that can be offered to customers to complement what they already are purchasing. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. If you are successful in suggestive selling only one of 10 customers, it can have a tremendous impact on your truck’s annual sales.
  • Upsizing/upselling: If you offer more than one size for your menu items, suggest the bigger size, then let the customer decide. Most people want the bigger size; they are just waiting for someone to persuade them. Again, you will increase sales without adding a single new customer.

By using an effective four-walls marketing plan and supplementing it with advertising and other creative strategies, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your food truck goal for increased sales.

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food truck marketing checklist

The key to success in today’s growing mobile food industry, where customers are getting more choices daily, is effective marketing. We have put together a quick inventory checklist for your use.

Does your food truck have or need these basic marketing elements? Run through this list of the marketing basics below and use the “needs” as the beginning of a new marketing plan based on the basics.

Food Truck Marketing Inventory Checklist

Have | Need

___ | ___ New logo within the last 2-3 years

___ | ___  Current business ID (business card, letterhead, envelope, label, etc.)

___ | ___  Updated competitor analysis (pricing, products and promotions of competitors)

___ | ___  Update business cards as necessary (at least every year, add Twitter and Facebook)

___ | ___  Online listings and search rankings tracked and updated

___ | ___  Active social media participation

___ | ___  Soliciting and utilizing regular customer feedback

___ | ___  Action plan with timeline for next six months

___ | ___  Appropriate metrics to monitor and plan success

___ | ___  Updated press kit and regular news releases out with photos

___ | ___  YouTube videos posted to branded channel

___ | ___  Photo gallery on website or in print of all menu items and interior/exterior photos of truck

___ | ___  Branded clothing and promotional items (for giveaways and uniforms)

___ | ___  Email list

___ | ___  e-Newsletter to existing customers

If your food truck business has an informal or unwritten marketing plan, now is the time to make it official. If you already have a marketing plan, be sure to update it regularly.

If your food truck’s existing marketing efforts aren’t working, stop now and assess the situation more thoroughly. The food truck industry is growing every day and your mobile food empire can’t afford ideas that don’t work in hopes that someday they might.

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When you create a Facebook account for your food truck business, you are assigned a random ID.  This used to be no big deal and probably not something a food truck owner would even think twice about.  But in today’s age of SEO it’s imperative to keep up with the ever changing digital world in order to stay on top of the competition.  Here are 3 reasons you need to claim your custom Food Truck Facebook URL as soon as possible.

Custom Food Truck Facebook URL

Marketing

You should be doing as much marketing as possible.  When you need to use your FB URL on your truck’s wrap or printed advertising, which you often should, you don’t want it to say, facebook.com/pages/My-Food-Truck-Name/909442628111.  It just doesn’t look right and nobody is going to take the time to write down or copy that lengthy behemoth.  Changing it to facebook.com/MyFoodTruckName is much easier on the eyes and something that will not only help your branding efforts, but make it much easier for people to refer others to your page.

Competition

Chances are you aren’t the only person out there who has thought of “My Food Truck Name” for a food truck name.  While this may keep you from claiming the domain, MyFoodTruckName.com, you may still have a shot at claiming it on Facebook as, facebook.com/MyFoodTruckName.  So get online and do it!

Search Engine Optimization

The search engines, like Google, place a high value on URL’s when determining rankings.  If your URL isn’t exact match, or very similar, for what you’d like to be found for, (such as My Food Truck Name), you aren’t going to rank very well.  By claiming that exact match URL you have a great shot at ranking highly for your mobile food business Facebook page.

Now that you understand why it’s so necessary to claim a custom URL, here is how you do it:

NOTE: You only get to make this change once so watch for typos before you save the change.

  1. Login to Facebook under your administrator account for your food truck business page.
  2. Go to your Facebook business page.  (be sure you’re signed in as your food truck page and not your personal profile)
  3. Click “Edit Page” at the top right.
  4. Click “Basic Information” on the left sidebar.
  5. Change the username to your liking.

After you change the username, you should be able to see the new Facebook url in your browser’s address bar like this:  facebook.com/MyFoodTruckName.

Here’s a few more tips for changing your Food Truck’s Facebook username and getting the most benefit from it:

  • Make it short.
  • Make it memorable.
  • It should match the common name of your food truck or be very similar.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word to make it more readable.
  • No spaces or special characters. Only a-z and 0-9 are allowed.
  • Double and triple check for errors before you save because, YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT.

Bonus Tip: Try to match your FB food truck username to your Twitter, YouTube and any other social media usernames. Consistency helps with branding.  Also, if the name you want is already taken, just choose the next best option and something that still closely represents your brand.  The goal is to have your food truck’s name in there and have it match (as closely as possible) to the actual name.

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At its core, the whole point of your food truck blog is to provide your readers with valuable content.  A food truck blog is supposed to fill in those gaps related to your mobile food business that cannot be found on the internet even though people are looking for it. It strengthens your customers’ relationships with your business.  So what are those gaps? What should you write about for your food truck blog?

blog-post-ideas

Your Cuisine

You think about your food and drink differently than your average customer. Parts of this greater knowledge should be shared. If the concept of your food truck is centered on ethnic food, you can tell your customers how your cuisine is served in its native country. What are the circumstances in which they eat it? Why did this food become popular there? You can talk about regional differences and give them access to information that few know about.

Every type of food or drink has a story. You might ask: how do you find the best ingredients? Customers do prepare food too and giving them a little inside knowledge won’t change how often they eat out. If you do something special preparation wise, this is a good place to include it.

Community

People are always looking for things to do. You can mention your food truck and try to put in the center of the life of the neighborhoods you operate in. You obviously don’t want to mention the specific competitors, but let locals know the community better. You can create a list of things to do. Or set up a self-guided tour for a weekend. Customers respect businesses that acknowledge the quality in other establishments in the same area and industry.  Besides, when customers want a sit down meal, they are not normally also considering a meal from a food truck.

History and Customs

Sites like Wikipedia leaves gaps, especially information that is based on unconfirmed histories. You would be surprised at how many of your customers look for these histories. They are unsatisfied with Wikipedia because it doesn’t provide much of a frame for information. You don’t need to do that. You can claim that your region of Thailand is where so and so dish comes from even if others dispute this. You don’t want to seem prejudiced but you don’t have to be impartial either. Your histories can be a story. With firsthand experience you can make distinctions that others miss.

Opinion

There always seems to be a debate revolving around the food truck industry. The press covers them all the time. While still being fair, you can take a side. This may get some comments and settle peoples’ opinion on an issue. If you are clear, giving a position will help. It will get comments and maybe even cause a little stir. You shouldn’t write something that makes any enemies but gaining a higher profile comes from taking small calculated risks.

Tell Your Story

If you can tell your story without selling, you should include this. Remember you provide food and drink, one of the most basic human needs. Tell your story. Why are you passionate about your food truck? What inspired you?

Being Fun, Interesting and Accurate

We covered what to write about. The ‘how’ is a little more related to your food truck’s concept and brand. The one thing I’d suggest is to be fun. For some trucks, that may mean humor. If you need a little help, look around the internet. You can find some good sources for information and also ideas for specific articles. Take that information and give it a twist. With interesting articles and a sense of excitement, your food truck blog can be a crucial part of your online marketing plan.

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Food truck owners wear many hats. Most fill the roles of CEO, CMO, CFO and Executive Chef. Inevitability, some of the tasks required to be completed in those areas will not fall into the owner’s comfort zone. Because of that we have consistently provided information and article to help those who may need a little help.

Today we’ll touch on marketing and a very basic concept within the realm of online marketing, the “call to action”.

call-to-action-button

So what is a “call to action” and what does it mean in relation to your food truck? You may recognize calls to action on websites you visit, for instance a giant button that you instinctively click to take you the desired next level of interest on that site. In regards to your own website, it may be a “Catering Reservation” button that you use as a call to action without even knowing the terminology.

Wikipedia defines a call-to-action as:

One of the most important concepts in marketing and promotion: “Call to action” (CTA) is a single focused command used after you have established you have got something good to offer, and you want the customer to act upon it. A “Call to action” is copy used in advertising to encourage a person to complete an action as defined by the advertiser.

Examples of “Call to action” words are “Click here”, “Click to download”, “Buy Now”, “Enter Now”, “Call now!”, “Bring your coupon”

So how can a food truck owner put calls to action to work in social media? How can you invite your fans and followers to dig deeper into your website without sounding like a used car salesman?

Remember, social media is not a sales gimmick tool, but a community builder. If you’re pumping out nothing but sales pitches on Twitter and Facebook, you’re not getting the most out these tools, and may in fact be turning customers away.

Let’s explore a few ways to include calls to action in your food truck’s social media efforts:

Use shortened URLs for links

Not only does this practice save valuable twitter real estate, it makes for easy reading in your tweet, and more importantly – it’s re-tweetable. There are several URL shorteners out there such as Bit.ly and TinyURL.

Link to photos

You want to tweet about your award-winning menu items, but let folks know that they’re cooked fresh daily and here’s what they look like ala minute.

You may have heard; a picture says a thousand words. Take a pic of a one of your great entrees, side dishes, or even the the sandwich board sitting outside of the truck, to put an “action shot” into your tweets and posts.

If you have a smart phone with a camera (and if you don’t…why?), you can upload on the spot, from your favorite Twitter dashboard, or Facebook.

Link to your other social media platforms

It’s possible that your followers don’t know you have a Facebook Fan Page. Tell them about it and include a link. Likewise Facebook Fans may not know you’re on Twitter. A little post with your Twitter address and message about special deals to followers will show up on all of your fans’ walls.

Have a YouTube Channel? Tweet/post about a video you just posted from a special event or cooking class you organized. Ideally you also feature your YouTube videos and Facebook ‘events’ on your website, and linking to the pages on which they live is where you want to point people with your links.

Trivia questions for prizes

Send out a tweet out once a week asking a trivia question relating to your menu, history, staff, etc. Let your followers know that the answer is buried somewhere on your website. For instance:

Q: What is the name of the sauce that accompanies <insert menu item here>?
A: <answer>

The likely ‘prize’ for the first correct response might be that specific menu item. Good will spreads good will, and customers will be talking about you and your contest. They and every other would-be winner would have dug through your online menu looking for the answer as well.

Ideally you’ll have other interesting items on your site to entice them to track down your truck even if they didn’t win that week. Making that effort a regular thing is highly recommended. Followers and fans will come to expect it.

What kind of “calls to action” are you using to promote your food truck on Twitter and Facebook?

 

Give Network Initiative
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