Tags Posts tagged with "SMM"

SMM

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Not Enough Time For Marketing

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*

Schedule Ahead

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.

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Social Media Strategy

Does your food truck have a social media strategy? Not sure what a social media strategy consists of? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

Social media is one of the most important areas of the mobile food industry that gets neglected by food truck vendors. Nearly all of the new food trucks that have come online over the last few years have created social media accounts, many of them just haven’t found the proper way to maximize their use.

While it may seem simple enough to start up a Twitter account and start posting your upcoming locations, there is much more to social media marketing than sending out the address or intersection you plan to park.

3 Points To Consider In Your Food Truck Social Media Strategy

Listening

Listening to your local market is one of the most important things that social media allows food truck owners to do. It allows you, to follow trending conversations, curb dissatisfaction with proper customer service and to win over those second guessers. Before social media, marketing was considered a monologue like talking in an empty room, or underwater for that matter. Social media has brought your customers to the party and now it’s up to you to mingle, to create connections that are relevant and that could potentially benefit your mobile food business.

Diversification

When building a strategy for your online campaign and social media accounts you must consider diversification. Instead of strictly targeting the individuals who may eventually be found in line at your truck, include messages to others in your community as well such as food and equipment suppliers, commercial kitchens, fellow food truck owners, etc. By starting with a diversified manner in mind there is more opportunity for your mobile food business to grow in multiple directions (catering, events or products that can be sold by business partners).

Diversifying your market helps to build segment pools for your target market which would eventually lead into a primary segment, a secondary, and so on. Building pools early in the launch allows food truck owners to see which demographic they are getting the most reactions from. The segmented pools also suggest which segments deserve more attention and allocated resources. The only thing to be careful with when you diversify your market is the content you share, will it offend some people or will it be shared with positivity?

Branding

Branding is a very important element in running your social media accounts. Anyone should be capable of building an image of what their food truck business is all about through the content that they share. Make sure the content you share is relevant, consistent and witty in some manner to encourage people to engage, share or like it. Although, those cute images of kittens are cute you have to ask yourself if this is consistent with your food truck’s branding. Then again, isn’t that what personal pages are for?

So are all of these points part of your social media strategy? If not…what are you doing wasting time here :). Get to work!!!

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The other night I got a reminder of how old I am and the speed in which smart phone applications have hit the market and become successful with certain age groups. I was speaking with my college freshman daughter and somehow got on the topic of Facebook. I could hear her eyes roll over the phone.

Snapchat Logo

“Dad! Facebook is for old people. If you want to know what my generation is looking at, check out Snapchat.”

I have heard murmurings of this application but really didn’t know much about it. So after a little research I found that Snapchat certainly has a huge following, maintaining an audience of more than 100 million users along with more than 350 million snaps sent per day.

Snapchat is a photo messaging application developed by Stanford University students. Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (1 to 10 seconds), after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from the Snapchat server.

So is Snapchat something for your mobile food business? Here are a few things to consider before adding this app to your marketing tool belt:

  • Snapchat works for food trucks that aren’t scared of engagement. Sure it’s a new and exciting to have more personal-feeling communication with customers, but the flip side is the potential for negative backlash.
  • Snapchat is really best leveraged by food trucks that already have a strong social media following. How else to promote a new social media audience than through the current?
  • Food trucks should only use Snapchat when they have real news. Don’t test whether or not people care through Snapchat–be sure they do before you Snap.

A few other content tips:

  • Share exclusive sneak peeks: It may seem counterintuitive, but keep some news exclusive to a particular outlet–your outlet-specific fan base will become that much more loyal.
  • Showcase contests or promotions: Test a few giveaway concepts to see what works best for your particular brand.
  • Distribute discount codes and special dining offers: Leverage Snapchat’s time-sensitive nature with limited time promotions.

One thing I have learned, with its growing user base and trend-setting mode of photo sharing, Snapchat isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. So if you are looking to gain a foothold into millennial consumers, it’s time for your food truck to get on board with Snapchat.

Snapchat website

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Are you active on Twitter? This may seem an odd question to ask food truck owners, but there are still some hold outs when it comes to this free social media marketing tool.

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So let’s start this off for those who are active on Twitter, are you interested in ways to improve the effectiveness of your Tweets? Getting the most out of our Tweets can really improve your food truck’s brand exposure, drive traffic to your truck, website, and show that you are active and engaged with your customer.

But to do this you need to step back and assess where you are today and ask yourself a few questions about your Twitter strategy. For example:

Do you find that you are largely using Twitter to share parking locations for your food truck or events, promotions, new menu items, and so on? This is great, but it’s a one-way dialog and does nothing to invite engagement.

Do you know how to find and communicate with your target audience?

How long are your Tweets? Length can impact the potential reach of your Tweets.

Are you wary of Tweeting the same message too many times at the risk of seeming repetitive?

What do your Twitter analytics say about the time of day that you send your Tweet or whether one message has more resonance than others?

They may seem like obvious questions, but they are easily overlooked in the push to maintain a steady Twitter feed while juggling your other daily tasks. However, making a few simple adjustments to your Twitter strategy can quickly earn you new followers and increase your influence.

Here are a few tips to help you get more out of our food truck Tweets.

Find Your Target Market

Twitter isn’t as completely random in terms of who finds or follows who. There are a number of ways you can hone in on your target market.

One of the easiest ways it to search for keywords and hashtags that people are using in the body of their Tweets using Twitter’s very own search tool. Running a search for keywords that relate to your food truck business specialty will uncover a newsfeed of active Tweets that feature those terms. A quick scan at these will often reveal your target market, i.e., people who are predisposed to like or have interest in what you have to offer—give them a follow!  The other great feature of the search tool is that it allows you to narrow your search geographically and pinpoint people within a certain radius of your business.

In addition, if you find some folks who you believe are influencers in your market—take a look at who is following them and extend a follow to those who are a good fit for you. This extends your reach into a potentially lucrative gold mine of brand advocates.

Engage Your Target Market

You don’t have to engage everyone that appears in your Twitter keyword search, but it’s worth investing some time each week to get to know what people are saying about your market, what they like, what they are seeking. When appropriate, simply say “hello” and give them a follow.

From here you can start to build relationships with this willing and targeted body of followers who hopefully have a propensity to read, re-Tweet, and spread the word about your business via Twitter.

Tweet Often

The more you Tweet the more you boost your search engine optimization (SEO) and visibility in your follower’s news feeds. How often is often? Anywhere between 5-10 Tweets a day is your target. To make this easier, you can use free Twitter tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck to schedule your Tweets in advance.

Shake Your Message Up

As every good marketer knows, tone and style are a huge factor in ensuring that your message stands out, resonates, and promotes action. Tweeting is like conversation, putting out static updates or statements will fall on flat ears, but engaging, teasing, querying, and showing interest will promote action. So shake your message up, use the words your audience uses, sprinkle in some hashtags and go on and tease a little. So, instead of saying:

We’re giving away 2 entrees for the price of one at FoodTruckFest on Jan 25, 7-10 PM <LINK>

Tweet this:

We know you love them! Get 2 of our entrees for the price of one on 1/25. Find out where <LINK>

Change Your Headlines

If you’ve got a message that you really need to repeat more than once, change your headline each time. This will ensure your Tweet resonates with different people and generates more exposure.

Keep Your Tweets Well Under the 140 Character Count

Lengthy Tweets are a very common problem in the Twitter-sphere. Why? Because a Tweet that is too long requires editing by the person who re-Tweets it. Keep your Tweets as brief as possible and make it easier for your followers to spread the word.

So what tips have worked for you? Please share them in the comment section below.

 

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Your food truck’s Facebook Page is every bit as important as a face-to-face encounter with a customer. But some food truck owners fail to provide the same type of customer service online.

facebook customer service

We went undercover and posted service related questions on 25 food truck Facebook walls (we will keep the names of these trucks to ourselves to protect the innocent).

To our surprise, a few of the truck pages removed the question from their wall without ever commenting, and another six questions remained unanswered for at least three days. Only nine businesses took the time to answer questions posted within 48 hours.

Eliminating or ignoring customers’ service-related questions posted on your food truck business Facebook Page is unprofessional at best and significantly damaging to your food truck brand at worst. Such practices ensure only that the issue will remain unresolved and the customer will grow only angry. What food truck owner would allow an employee to walk or turn away from a customer who had just asked them a question? We hope none, but that’s exactly what some food trucks are doing online.

Food truck owners that choose to interact actively with their customers on Facebook will continually gain customer loyalty. Those who ignore service and support related issues posted on the world’s most popular social utility should seriously reevaluate their social media strategies.

Here are a few tips on how to effectively manage your mobile food business’s Facebook page:

  • Respond quickly. Reply to queries and complaints in a timely manner to make sure other customers don’t see you left someone hanging.
  • Be proactive. Respond to customer questions as status updates – they are more visible than comments to wall posts. Doing so can potentially prevent even more questions or complaints over the same issue.
  • Share your wins. Customers post positive comments, not just negative ones. Share that information internally with your food truck team members. Everyone seems to love good news, especially if all they usually hear are complaints.

How do you make sure customer questions and complaints on Facebook are addressed adequately? Let us know in the comment section below. 

 

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tip of the dayOne of the topics we are asked to discuss by our readers is the fear that food truck owners have to overcome when tackling social media. It’s important to recognize that when a crisis happens. It’s much better to be on top of your response in social media than not to be there at all. Follow these tips when responding to a social media crisis:

  • Immediately put the customer at ease that you understand their problem. In fact, repeat it back to them so that they absolutely know that you understand what’s wrong. If clarification is in order, it will happen right there. Your food truck customers want to know that you are listening and you have one chance to fix this problem so make sure you understand it.
  • Make sure they know that you care. By responding and letting them know that you personally care for them, you can drop the intensity of the issue way down and personalize it. You don’t want to be seen as a faceless food truck brand, become that person that they can trust to try to fix their problem.
  • Fix the problem. Don’t supply a form, phone number or email address for them to contact. You must fix the problem. You, the food truck owner (or representative). If you brush this person off to someone else, they’ll immediately recognize you for what you are… a phony. If you understand and you care, you’ll follow through and make sure the issue is resolved.

That’s not saying that you, personally, have to correct the issue. It means that you are the leader and the person accountable to the customer. It’s your responsibility to carry the person through to a resolution. If you just dump and run, it’s going to cause more issues. You don’t appreciate it when it happens to you so why would you do it to your own customer?

By resolving these problems, you are completing one of the best customer relations campaigns you may have as a food truck owner. If you leave your food truck customer happy and content, chances are that they’ll share that success with their network.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah we’ve all heard of Facebook and that as a food truck owner you should be using to help your mobile business. You may love it, you may hate it, but let’s face it, if you aren’t capitalizing on Facebook marketing for your food truck you are losing ground to your competition.

Facebook-Marketing

Don’t believe us? Here are some basic facts about Facebook you may not be aware of:

  • Facebook has over 900 million members on their platform & over 30% log in every single day.
  • Facebook is the most visited site on the Internet, even recently surpassing Google, with users spending an average of 20 minutes a day on the site.
  • Facebook has 3.2 billion ‘Likes,’ ‘Shares,’ and ‘Comments’ every day.

The biggest excuse we hear from food truck owners is: “Yah Facebook is great, but I really don’t have the time for it.” Because of this, we wanted to share the three easiest ways to quick-start your mobile bistro’s Facebook marketing system that use the least amount of time do.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

If you do nothing else than just post pictures of your food, your truck, chef, customers, & employees, then you are leagues ahead of your competition! Your customers eat with their eyes as much as their nose and mouth. Also, pictures are Liked, Commented, and Shared much more than just a regular text post.

Incentivize Your Customer’s to “Like” Your Fanpage

Most people need a little push in order to “Like” a page they may or may not be familiar with. Create an easy promotion like “Get a Free Appetizer (or signature dish/dessert) When You “LIKE” Our Fan Page: Click “LIKE” Below.” This works wonders and can build your audience rather quickly. The power of Facebook is in its ability to create “Viral Marketing.” You want the friends of the friends of your customers to see your Fanpage and you want to give them an incentive to “LIKE” you (even if they’ve never heard of your mobile food business).

Engage Your Audience

Facebook is not about constantly barraging your fans and customers with promotions, coupons and specials. People are on Facebook to socialize, and that is what we’ve found works most effective as a marketing approach. We use a 4 to 1 approach… Post 4 cool / funny / interested posts for every 1 promotion post. Remember it’s all about relationship building, so ask your audience questions, encourage them to comment and tell you their thoughts about a recipe or even ask them to post their favorite recipe from your food truck.

 

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