Social media as a marketing trend for small businesses in the foodservice industry continues to boom this year according to the 2012 Foodservice Trend Report. Most social media channels are free to sign up for and it is a smart move for anyone in the hospitality sector to take advantage of this growing medium to market their promotions and engage with their customer base. Using social media to interact with your customers is an incredibly concentrated and powerful way to spread brand awareness, gain new business and even conduct market research.
There are so many social media networks to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Foursquare, and blogging just to name a few. However, the important thing to remember is to tailor each channel to the specific audience you are trying to interact with and of course to share quality and engaging content! There is no point to even having a Facebook page if all you are going to do is pat yourself on the back. Provide value to your customers through the content you share and make the focus about them. Entice your customers with hot promotions and specials, share fun photos and videos, thank customers for giving their business to you, ask for feedback, and get creative about contests!
See what some notable foodservice operators in the industry are doing in their own social media channels that got them recognition in the 2012 Foodservice Trend Report:
Ryan Smolkin, owner and CEO of Smoke’s Poutinerie found a unique way to use Facebook and Twitter to host an attention grabbing annual competition:
“Our biggest push has been our World Poutine-Eating Championship. It’s our second annual competition and it’s been our hook on Facebook, Twitter and our website. Other than the physical event itself, and the PR we get from it, we wouldn’t get the public interest or the international exposure we do from the contest without Facebook or Twitter.”
Colin Moore, President of Starbucks Canada explores ways to poll customers for feedback, share photos and events and more:
“Facebook and Twitter are two channels we use to engage current and potential customers…. With Facebook, we created [a] global fan page in 2008, consolidating several unofficial existing fan pages. The page features photos, events, customer polls and a discussion forum covering hundreds of topics. In addition to the main page, there are 26 country-specific pages and a frappuccino Facebook page. In 2010, we launched a Facebook application for customers to access and manage their account, including registering cards, checking balances, reloading and editing their profile. The app also makes it possible to buy a friend a treat from Starbucks without ever leaving Facebook. Users load $5 to $500 directly onto a friend’s registered card as a gift.”
We want to hear from you! What unique ways are you using your social media channels to engage your customers? Send us a message at email@example.com.
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