Social Media is one of the best and most cost effective forms of marketing for catering companies. The problem is most catering companies don’t know how to use social media, or even worse are not on social media at all! From branding yourself to optimizing your presence on Pinterest, here are 10 hacks to optimize your social media marketing strategy.
Social Media Strategy For Catering Companies Starts With Brand
Whatever platform you are on, from Facebook to Snapchat, you want your company to be easily recognizable and you want people to be able to find you without too much effort. If your future customers have to try too hard, they will give up. People need to know it is you right away and you do this by properly branding your online accounts.
It is important to use the same name, your company’s name preferably, on every platform you are on. Also, make sure your profile photo is cohesive across all platforms. If easily recognizable and fits well within the given space, consider using your logo as your profile photo.
Beyond branding yourself, make sure that every account you launch is completely filled out. Make sure you have a complete About Me/Biography section with a little bit of information about your catering company and the services you offer. Be sure to include all your contact information, including your website, if you have one, your email, and a phone number.
When people come to your page you want to make sure it is easy for them to find out who you are, what you do, and how to contact you.
Tip #2 – Don’t Use Personal Accounts
While you’re taking the time to brand yourself across all platforms, make sure that you aren’t using your personal account. It is a great idea to share what your business is doing through your personal accounts so all your friends and family can see, but your catering business needs a page of its own. You need to create a page dedicated to nothing but your business.
Also, when it comes to social media platforms such as Facebook, make sure you create a business page, not a new personal profile. If you don’t already have a personal Facebook account you will need one to set up and manage a business page.
Facebook business pages are public for anyone to find and can be managed by multiple personal accounts should you decide to do so.
Tip #3 – Make It Look Good / Use Good Quality Photos
As a catering company, your business is food and food is popular online, but you need to make sure it looks good.
When it comes to social media you need content that can make people pause and want to engage while they are scrolling through their feed. Your images need to be attention grabbing and highlight your company’s skills and talent.
Follow these tips to take great food photos to share online –
⦁ Plate the food nicely. Don’t just scoop the food out onto the plate.
If it is something like soup or a thinner consistency, avoid spills and drips. Clean up the area around the plate and/or bowl. If you are plating something like a sandwich make sure all the layers are visible. You want to make the food look as appealing as possible.
For drinks, use a clean glass. No finger prints or smudges.
⦁ Pay attention to the things around your plate. Clear the area of any unwanted items or items that distract from the food.
Also, pay attention to the background of the image. Is there someone or something that would take the focus away from the food?
⦁ Add complimenting details like utensils or a nice napkin. You want to make the food look appealing and inviting.
⦁ Make sure you have good lighting. You don’t want to take the photo under just any circumstances. You want it to be bright enough that all the colors of your dish pop.
Also, watch for shadows. You don’t want any distracting dark spots on your food.
Photos are especially important on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, but don’t neglect platforms like Facebook and Twitter. No matter the platform you are using you are still competing for attention and you want to make sure your content stands out.
Tip #4 – Use Videos
Good photos aren’t the only way to increase your account’s audience and engagement. Photos aren’t the only way to make people stop on your content, you need videos!
Videos are no longer just a YouTube thing. People are creating and sharing videos across every platform from Facebook to Pinterest.
Tiktok, with over 1 billion users, is one of the most popular apps today and with Instagram’s recent launch of Reels, videos are here to stay.
Videos encourage viewership and engagement. Statistics show that 55% of people watch videos online every day and social media videos generate up to 1200% more shares than texts and images combined.
As a catering company you can consider sharing behind the scenes videos of your staff preparing for an event or even short clips of the event itself. You may even want to share videos of quick recipes that your followers can try at home.
Tip #5 – Create a Community
The main focus of social media is to build your audience, build brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales, but you also want to give your audience a reason to follow you. You want to give them content that they can share and pass around to their friends and family.
Your social media marketing strategy needs to be more than just constant promotions of your business, your services, and your specials.
You want to share bits of information that are useful to your audience, but remember to always keep it on brand and related to what you do. As a catering company you don’t want to be sharing unrelated content such as best dog breeds for families or tips for tax season.
Consider sharing recipes, something quick and easy that anyone one can do. Maybe even share some catering tips that your audience could implement at their own personal events or table decorating ideas.
If you want to highlight your involvement in your local community you may want to share information about local events.
If you support local charities or work with other businesses you also can share information about those things as well.
Another important part of building your online community is sharing a bit about yourself and your staff. You want your audience to see you and your employees as actual people not just a brand. Adding a personal touch can make your audience really care about you and your business.
Tip #6 – Engage With Your Audience and Stay Engaged
If you’re posting good, interesting and engaging content, your audience is going to want to interact with it. They will like it, they will share it, and they will comment on it. They may ask you questions, they may share an experience or they may just show support.
Your audience will also use social media to reach out to you in the form direct messages. Again, they may be asking questions, looking for a quote on your services, or sharing an experience (good and bad).
No matter how your audience reaches out to you, whether it be as a comment or direct message or any other way the specific social media platform allows, it is very important that you respond and interact with you audience.
You can like a comment they post, thank them for their feedback or apologize for problems, but you need to do it in a timely manner. You don’t want a message going unread or a complaint going unaddressed for weeks at a time.
It is important that your audience feels heard and it is important for those just discovering your business to see that you are present and active on the account. Your audience is more likely to engage with your content if they see you engaging with them.
Remember today a lot of potential customers may be seeking you out only on your social media and won’t even take the time to go to your website. By neglecting your audience on your social media, you may end up losing potential customers.
Tip # 7 – Stay Consistent
One of the most important things when it comes to social media marketing is to make sure you stay consistent. Even with the best looking photos, amazing tips, and entreating videos, if you are not posting consistently your audience will disengage and eventually stop following you.
And, even if they don’t stop following you, you inactivity will affect the algorithm of any given social media platform, making your content appear less and less to your audience.
Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it, whether it is posting every day, every other day or once a week.
Also, remember that your posting schedule doesn’t need to be the same for every platform. Maybe you Tweet daily, post on Instagram every other day, and post on Facebook and Pinterest weekly.
Tip #8 – Utilize Testimonials
Customer feedback is important for every business and you can use it to your advantage. When you get a positive review, whether it is on your website or Yelp or some other source, save that and repost it. You can turn it into a visual graphic or pair the text with your own photo.
In that same vein, use your audience’s content as well. Re-tweet positive feedback, or share a photo of your food or an event you were at that a customer or one of their guests tags you in.
This can add variety to your content without adding more work to your table.
Tip #9 – Hashtags
While they may have started on Twitter, hashtags are everywhere including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even LinkedIn. Hashtags are an important part of your social media strategy that you shouldn’t neglect.
Hashtags make your content searchable. It groups your content in with other similar content, making it easier to get in front of an audience that already cares.
You can also make your own hashtag, turn it into part of your brand and use that hashtag on all your posts. This way if anyone were to come across your post and they want to see more, they simple can click on or search for that hashtag and be taken to all of your content.
If you do decide to create your own hashtag, make sure it is simple enough to read and understand, while still being specific enough to not get lost among other posts. Your name is often times the perfect hashtag for branding purposes.
Also, take the time to learn what hashtags are trending on each platform you intend to use them on and the best use of hashtags for each social media platform. Although they are used across many different platforms now in similar ways, different hashtags will trend differently on each platform and algorithms may respond differently. For example using many hashtags on Instagram may be ideal, while on Twitter it may be best to stick to 1-3.
Hashtag trends are constantly changing so be sure to regularly research them to make sure your hashtags are always relevant and effective.
Tip #10 – Keyword Boards on Pinterest
An often over look social media platform, Pinterest is more than just a place to plan your dream wedding. In fact food performs very well on Pinterest, making it an excellent choice to share your product and service.
Create pins that highlight your food and services and link the pins back to your website.
When creating the boards you will use to share your pins, be sure to use specific keywords to make your pins stand out and bring in more traffic. Instead of labeling one board “Food” break it up into multiple specific boards like “Holiday Appetizers” “Summertime Salads” or “Vegan Pastries.”
By implementing these 10 social media hacks and fine tuning your social media marketing strategy your catering company will be better equipped to grow as a brand, build an engaged audience and ultimately bring in more customers.