The food truck industry is worth $857 million dollars with 9.3 percent annual growth, according to IBIS World’s “Food Trucks in the U.S.: Market Research Report. The good news is food trucks are now mainstream with a loyal following of hungry fans. But that also means there is more competition than ever to stand out from the crowd. Carve out a unique identity that foodies find relatable with online recipe content and social sharing. Here are some tips to get started.

Food Truck Promotion With Online Recipe Content

Make a food documentary

Get to know your audience before they ever walk up to your foot truck. Make your own food documentary series for your website, YouTube or a local cable station. Get inspiration from Street Foodie Diaries, a web series about the lives of food truck owners working toward success. Walk your audience through simple recipes they can do at home, as well as some of your secret ingredients that can transform a dish into something spectacular.

Add graphics and some background music to liven up dead tone and set the mood you’re looking for. If you don’t have the resources to record your own background music, Shutterstock has a robust selection of stock tracks. Also, if you don’t have video editing software, use YouTube’s free video editing tool to give your videos a boost of professionalism without spending a fortune on post-production.

Crowdsource new recipes

Launch an innovative contest and crowdsource recipes from fans and aspiring foodies. Turn the recipes into a customer appreciation menu with only the best dishes featured.

For example, Mexicue uses a Facebook app to announce an ingredient each season and then asks for crowdsourced recipes featuring that ingredient. Winners get gift cards and the chance to see their recipe come to life on the food truck menu.

Incentivize your audience with recipes

Develop a special online recipe that only your most value fans can secure. Offer downloadable recipes when someone signs up for your newsletter, cooking video series or likes you on Facebook.

Remember to include your favorite tips on how to cook difficult dishes, how to compensate if you use too much salt or sugar in your dish and which tools you use in your food truck kitchen.

The idea is to entice your audience to follow you on social media by rewarding them with the best recipes and expert resources that can help them master the kitchen.

Partner with local food producers

Harness the marketing power of local farms, food artisans and local distributors. Offer to help cross-promote each others’ businesses. Feature signage and information about local farms and the fresh ingredients used.

Interview your new partners on their stories and how they got into the food business. Using video to personalize your business can boost your sales and give your customers a reason to care.

Make it unique

Anyone can open up a taco or sandwich food truck, but it takes a unique spin, recipes and ingredients to attract attention and a following. Charleston’s Roti Rolls serves up a variety of fillings in rotis and was named the city’s best food truck multiple times in a row, earning enough to open up a brick and mortar restaurant.

Other food trucks may just employ a unique marketing tactic to attract curious eaters. Serial Grillers in Tucson features Boston Strangler Cheesecake, House of 1,000 Corpses Calzone and the Devil’s Reject Salad.

RELATED: Marketing Truths ALL Food Truck Owners Should Know

The Bottom Line

The effectiveness of social media comes from its ability to tap into the most intrinsic desire among us; the desire to share. Shareable online content plays a vital role in today’s digital age.

Anytime a visitor to your food truck website shares your content on social media, search engines, count it as a vote of confidence in your food truck brand. It’s essentially the digital equivalent of a good recommendation or referral, and it’s critical for the growth of your mobile food business.

Does your food truck offer online recipe content on your website or social media networks? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Facebook | Twitter