I spend a lot of time poking around Facebook pages of food operators in my area and while some of them are doing a good job in mixing up good information with promotions, some seem to forget that the underlying purpose of social media is to share, not to sell. (The selling can come later after you’ve proved that your mensch-ness to your community!)
So what kind of content can restaurants, catering folks, and other food purveyors put out that will be of interest to their readers?
Well, of course, I’m always fond of stories, of which you probably have hundreds. And even if you feel like you’ve told your main story in your “About” section, you can find new ways to tell your story every day. There are seasonal stories in the food business, especially for those of you with a locavore focus.
I’m always interested in stories from the chefs as to how they came up with a new dish or a twist on an old favorite. If you can get customers to say something about the dish, that’s good, too.
Twitter is great for keeping customers in the loop about daily specials, and that’s actually a good example of content that is both promotional but handy – one huge step beyond just “Eat at Joe’s”! Oddly enough, I keep mentioning to one of my favorite restaurant that they’re missing an opportunity in not using Twitter to send out daily specials because although I’m certainly not calling every day to find out the specials, I’d be there in a minute if I knew they were serving the special chicken tacos.
In some ways, I think restaurants have an advantage in social media in terms of frequency of promotions. For Facebook, I’ve seen recommendations of 1 promotional post for every 4-5 pieces of non-promo content, but especially if you offer daily specials, you can easily push those limits – especially if your posts have personality and spark.
And don’t forget about educating the consumer. There’s nothing wrong with having a point of view – why are you buying from local farmers instead of the big guys? Why is that important to you? Why might that be important to me?
And if you’ve got ideas on how to make vegetables appealing to children, I’m all in.
Post on a regular basis. Remember that social media should be another piece of your overall marketing plan, not just a stand-alone entity. Social media can support your goals and plans for the year, but not if you’re always talking one-way to your customers. Ask some questions, encourage answers, get your community interacting.
What say you?