Get out of the "today's special" rut
9 ways small food businesses can make day-to-day social media posts more effective
It’s increasingly more important that the posts you create for your social media channels are relevant to your audience. Facebook and Instagram are updating their algorithms to help people find content that will be meaningful to them. Google constantly updates its search engine algorithms to help people find exactly what they’re looking for—before they finish typing search terms.
This is good news for users. It means content with clickbait titles, content that’s overloaded with keywords, and content that’s salesy, spammy, self-promoting, repetitive, and shallow is going to get left behind. Way behind.
Ultimately, these changes are also good news for your food company: You’ll be able to target and reach people who are really interested in what you have to offer. But it also means that everything you create has to meet the criteria these algorithms elevate in order to be effective.
The factors that matter now are rich and sophisticated ones, such as the relationship a publisher has with the reader, relevancy, timeliness, and the amount of time the user spends with content.
Winning with your social media posts means you’ll have to step back from your world of creating and selling food a little to think about what your ideal customers are doing in their daily lives and what really matters to them. You’ll need to think beyond, “oh, everyone loves our chocolate-cinnamon-almond lava cake!” Maybe they do, but everyone also has a lot of other life happening, too. Your goal is to find out how to be relevant in all of it.
If your company is like many others, though, you may not sit down to create content for your day’s posts until the hour you need to publish it. In fact, 62 percent of marketers admit they create content on a campaign-by-campaign basis. But if you’re able to get ahead—to spend time thinking about what topics will be really meaningful to your audience and then spend time creating that content—you’ll do a better job of helping people travel through the sales funnel. It will make the difference between posting something for the sake of posting and creating content that truly helps your business. You’ll build valuable relationships, generate leads, provide better customer service, and build stronger brand awareness and loyalty.
Here are some ideas to help you create successful social media posts:
1. Discover what your audience is interested in—and help them connect to that.
Pay attention to what your customers are saying in various social media channels, and help them connect to the things that they are interested in, whether they are daily routines, short-term events, or lifelong passions and pursuits.
2. Build an editorial calendar.
Use it to plan concepts for timely and meaningful posts. The very act of creating an editorial calendar forces you to spend some time thinking about what to post on the unremarkable days. You may just come up with something remarkable.
An editorial calendar can also help you plan ahead for special events and days. Be sure the content is going to be meaningful to your audience. National Escargot Day may be timely on May 24, but it’s more likely your American audience is making plans for Memorial Day Weekend.
3. Involve others in creating content.
Interview people: experts in your field, the people who produce your most delicious supplies, or people who produce products that are complimentary to yours. Interview customers who accomplish truly amazing things. Engage these same people as guest writers and content creators. Ask customers to share how they like to use your products and services—others in your audience can find value in other customers’ experiences and expertise.
4. Tap your mission for the values that your audience shares with you. Then, take it to the next level.
Here’s an example from a marketing campaign that soft drink company Britvic created for Purdey’s, a functional vitamin-loaded fruity beverage. The company partnered with British model and actor Idris Elba to launch a campaign called Thrive On. The campaign taps into the Purdey’s promise of rejuvenation by encouraging people to tap into their dreams. Elba asks people what they want to be when they grow up—and Purdey’s makes arrangements to help fulfill that dream. The stories are shared in mini-documentaries.
You can connect with your audience in smaller but equally meaningful ways by supporting their ambitions or rallying support for an important cause that impacts your community. Find ways to do good and get your audience involved.
5. Promote your category.
If you produce or import, let’s say, specialty cheese, it’s likely your customers are fans of several cheese companies. Fuel their passion by sharing news, insight, and education about the entire world of your product category, not just your own products. Share with your audience the other products that you admire.
6. Flavor of the day matters—sometimes.
Posting your flavor or menu item of the day every day can create fatigue, so use it when it really counts. Launching a new flavor, announcing the comeback of a seasonal flavor, using a special ingredient, or asking your customers to help you create a flavor are worth flavor-of-the-day posts. Treat behind-the-scenes posts the same way and use them when they’re showing something truly special and rare.
7. Pictures and video are a must.
Always try to include something visual. And keep in mind that visually-driven platforms like Instagram require you to put extra thought and effort into what you post. Beautiful and interesting images are what capture likes and shares. Use filters to create a brand “look” and to boost engagement.
8. Share your expertise in helpful ways.
90 percent of people research online before they purchase. They will skip ads to read information about the products and services they are thinking of buying. Help them by sharing your expertise and insight.
Mario Batali shares his expertise in tweet after tweet when followers ask for his advice—whether it’s how long to cook a pasta, or whether it’s right to put cheese on seafood. His tweets are short, but they’re helpful, meaningful, and unforgettable to his followers.
9. Interact with your audience.
Remember that social media is about conversation. Dedicate a portion of your social media time to interacting with your followers. Re-post interesting things that your customers post—even if those posts have nothing to do with your product or service. Answer their questions, ask questions, give them kudos, and offer helpful information when you have it to share. Personal, one-on-one interactions matter a lot—they help you create passionate fans who will likely share their love of your company with others.