Mashable has put up a decent guide to social marketing from a food truck that prowls the streets of Tallahassee in Florida. That might seem rather industry-specific, but the lessons our intrepid waffle makers learned can be applied whatever your trade is.
The first thing our food truck has done wonderfully successfully is get their name plastered all over a major internet news site. If your business has an interesting story to tell then you can get thousands of pounds worth of publicity – whether in your local paper or on a trade site - for free by telling it.
The first thing the owners of the Lazarus food truck did was to take note of what their fellow mobile caterers did online and pick out what would work for them.
The key sites were Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. All free. Foursquare is a location based site designed specifically for smartphone users. Its members ‘check in’ when they visit a venue and can interact with each other and post tips and lists about the businesses they use. It’s bigger in the States at the moment, but it’s easy to sign your business up as a venue.
Lazarus’ owners came up with four social media tips.
The first must do for them was SoLo, or social media and location-based technology. They linked all their accounts, so that whenever they parked up it was broadcast across all their profiles. They also gave social media customers an incentive to promote their business by checking in – when they got a free drink all their followers and friends were told, with Lazarus’ name shared along with the good news.
They also found businesses which weren’t competitors but which served similar markets and worked together. Lazarus had a big following amongst college students, so when a local boutique opened up looking to reach the same market, Lazarus told their fans and were invited to park up outside the opening.
Some link ups are obvious – wine and food are a good match, football fans tend to like pubs with Sky – but by taking an interest in what your fans and followers take an interest in you might open some new marketing avenues.
Secondly, the Lazarus crew got creative to encourage their fans not just to look at their content but to take part in it too. For them that meant a poll on favourite waffle flavours. The poll was run on Facebook but promoted on Twitter with a nice, catchy shareable hashtag.
The third lesson they learned was to use social media as a customer service too. Bad news can spread quickly on social media, so they reacted to any bad customer experiences with apologies and coupons for when things went – as they inevitably will – wrong. Encouraging people to spread the good news was also vital, our waffle crew asked for tweets about great servers.
Their final lesson was to tell their story. Why is the truck called Lazarus? That’s an interesting story, and helped give their business a personality that customers could relate to. They also made sure they appeared as real people with real interests outside frying batter – local concerts, sporting fixtures.
“We try to just be sincere, humans who happen to have a food truck. And we’ve found that it works.”
Any business can learn from this little success story, and Toolkit can help your business build an effective social media presence by setting you up on all the main channels and advising you how to use them to your best advantage. Call us on 02380 633644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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