New food truck operators are thrust into the world of social media the moment they join the mobile food industry. Whether their previous experience was merely having a personal Facebook page a food truck owner needs to quickly learn the ins and outs of creating a social media strategy to help their food truck business flourish both on and offline.
A social media strategy doesn’t mean that you just start up social media accounts on Twitter or Facebook, it means you have to have a strategy in how to properly use them. In the process of developing a social media strategy for your food truck you need to come up with answers to the following questions:
What do I want to accomplish through social media?
It is amazing how many mobile food businesses owners fail to ask this question. Often the response we hear is that “somebody told me I ought to be on (fill in the blank).”
Social media can be used for multiple purposes, to identify the specific business goals you want them to help you reach. Figure out whether you are looking to drive sales, find new customers, provide customer service, or just give your food truck brand a boost.
How much time do I want to spend with it?
Some of the food truck owners we speak with treat social media as a game or something to dabble with. If you are going to participate (and we highly suggest you do), you are wasting your time (and time is money) if you just dip your toe in. Make social media part of your overall marketing strategy and treat it with the same level of attention as you would any other marketing initiative.
Tempted to portion off just a small chunk of the day for social media? Don’t skimp: Too small a time investment can damage your food truck’s brand. Social media is all about providing useful, helpful, and interesting information to your target audience. If you disappoint with poor content or infrequent interactions, you send a message that you are either not interested or you are not a quality operation.
Who will execute my social media strategy?
While your day may already be packed with operational time restrictions, new food truck owners should learn to use social media themselves. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting your social media efforts in the hands of interns or the youngest members of the staff. They might know their way around multiple platforms, but it doesn’t mean they have the knowledge or judgment to deliver your food truck’s key messaging on those platforms.
The ideal candidate doesn’t just know Twitter inside and out, but also knows your customers, your target audience, and your business goals. Unless you have hired an employee that meets these criteria, take the reins of your business social media tasks.
Which platforms are best for my food truck?
There are dozens of major platforms. Since most start-up food trucks are small businesses, you should know that you won’t be able to compete effectively on every one of them. Because money, time and human resources are limited, choose wisely. Here are a few things to think about:
- Twitter. Twitter is the platform that has helped the food truck industry grow as rapidly as it has. It allows you to post your upcoming locations and events. It puts a human face on your business. And it provides useful information to your target audience, and listening to your customers and responding in real time.
- Facebook. The audience is more diverse than you think. Over half of Facebook’s users are over 26 and the fastest growth is in the over 25 demographic.
- Foursquare. This site is the premier location-based social media platform. It works well for truck owners looking to drive immediate traffic to their food truck service windows. Foursquare also tends to skew toward a younger demographic than the other platforms we mention.
- Pinterest. Pinterest is a photo-sharing service, is the new kid on the block, but it has developed a huge audience. With women representing over 80% of Pinterest users, it is a great venue for posting your menu items.
- YouTube. YouTube has become the No. 2 search engine. If you can create informative, entertaining, and even humorous videos about your food truck and menu items. Then you can use YouTube as a highly effective tool in attracting and retaining customers.
- LinkedIn. Great for business-to-business conversations, establishing and demonstrating expertise, hiring, and finding appropriate strategic partners and suppliers.
How do I know if my efforts are working?
If you’ve already answered the first question on this list, then you already know your goals. The next step is to measure against them. Be vigilant. Like any marketing efforts, there will be growing pains as you learn the ropes. But by keeping up with your metrics, you can change course or make tweaks before any major damage can be caused to your food truck’s marketing effort.