Storytelling is an excellent way of communicating, no matter if you're using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you're not actively producing content, potential clients won't understand the values behind your brand. Finding your ideal client comes with several challenges, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Getting noticed more online by potential clients is the goal for food and beverage businesses across the board. Achieving this goal involves identifying your ideal customer avatar, creating high-quality content, and implementing search engine optimization. Then, you must strategize your social media marketing using quality, quantity, and consistency.
It’s challenging to prevent your food and beverage business from getting lost in the shuffle—especially when billions of users are active on social media platforms. I’m going to outline strategies for you to implement in your business to help keep your business from losing potential clients.
No matter if it’s social media for caterers or social media for restaurants, creating engaging content is critical. Your followers are hungry for information. They want answers, and you’re the expert who can provide them.
Identifying your Ideal Customer Avatar (Buyer Persona)
Developing social media for restaurants means more than posting about specials, events, and promotions. I’ve seen so many food industry professionals making this mistake. For example, social media for caters should be more than service areas and a few pictures of previous events. Your social media strategy has to begin with identifying your ideal customer avatar—developing the buyer persona.
All businesses in the food industry have a dream client. These clients are excited to work with us, they love the work we're doing, and they want to refer us to all they're contacts. These are the clients we want to reach out to us.
However, that isn't enough information. Diving much deeper is critical. Identifying your ideal client is how you're going to figure out who you want to work with in the future.
Here are some of the questions I suggest answering when identifying your ideal customer avatar:
Is your potential client male, female, or does it matter?
Are they single or married? How many children are they raising?
What's their occupation?
What are their hobbies? What do they do for fun on the weekends?
Can you identify their pain points?
Which social media platforms do they prefer? Do you know why?
Do you know their favorite brands?
Brainstorm about your ideal client's buyer persona. That way, you can include a wide variety of details allowing you to know your ideal client inside and out. My guide, Understanding Buyer Personas: A Comprehensive Guide, will take you further into how to this process. In the meantime, I have some points for you to consider here.
Why are Customer Avatars Important?
We've taken a brief look at the definition of customer avatars. Now, I'm going to explain their importance. Say you're creating posts on social media to get more weddings. Before you can do that, you have to hone in on a more actionable social media strategy with a buyer persona. Here's why I believe this is key:
Developing social media personas will help you speak to a wide variety of members of your audience. For example, social media for caterers could include:
Image-heavy posts that are featuring past events and a focus on gourmet menu offerings.
Video tutorials that include in-depth insider tips regarding no-fail event planning.
Menu highlights alongside thumbnail close-ups of favorite dishes.
I love creating posts that speak directly to how my potential clients are trying to solve a problem. So, I think about how I can best meet their needs, answer their questions, or address their needs. That way, I know the posts will attract their attention and encourage them to engage.
Your target audience is a source of profits, but the competition on social media is fierce. There's no way of getting around that. That's why food industry business owners must tap into their niches now.
Avoid blinding chasing everyone and anyone. My strategy is to tap into specific sections of my audience. That way, I know exactly who I'm reaching and which social media platforms they like using the most.
Instagram: I love this platform because you have an opportunity to attract millions of different members of your audience in a single platform.
Here's how I suggest reaching your client avatar:
Photography: Because Instagram is image-heavy, you must think about the photos you will present. How are they representing your brand? Are they illustrating the services you offer creatively? Your selections should help your potential clients develop a relationship with you while simultaneously creating a harmonious page.
Tone: Humanize your business page by encouraging users to interact. I see a lot of brands presenting their products or services, but failing to take this step. Remember, nurturing your potential client means showing interest in their life by telling stories that meet their needs, solves a problem, or answers a question.
Competition: Instagram is a competitive platform. Which competitors does your client avatar follow? Gather this intel to determine to understand their strategies for communication and conversion.
Facebook: Here's another platform I can't speak highly enough about because of the vast amount of opportunities.
While the strategies are similar to Instagram's, I do have some differing suggestions:
Tone: Carve out your unique presence, similar to how you're achieving this goal on Instagram. Look at ways your audience may be responding differently compared to Instagram and adjust accordingly.
Content: You'll use photography on Facebook, but it's not the focus like Instagram. Videos will get you more traction, and you can research which client avatar will respond best to Facebook Live broadcasts or evergreen content.
Influencers: Follow influencer pages, share their content, and ask them to do the same for your business. In doing so, your client avatar will see your brand as more trustworthy and appreciate the reputable content you're sharing alongside you're original material.
Content is Queen
It's challenging to have a relationship with a person who monopolizes the conversation talking about themselves all the time. It's just as challenging to connect with a brand that's doing the same thing. What am I talking about here?
Whether or not you realize it, if you spend all your time talking about your food industry, you're repelling your ideal client. Even though you're discussing what you know best—your business and how to run it—no one wants to see that content over and over.
Why is this a problem?
The last thing any food business owner wants to do is lose followers. If you do, you're losing income.
My first piece of advice is to click over to your website's landing page. What does the headline read? You might see something like, "We're a catering company from [insert location]," or "Our restaurant services clients from [insert areas]."
Are you leading your marketing off on the right or the wrong foot?
Here are some options I suggest considering:
"Stress-Free Catering Services for Your Wedding Day"
"Delicious Menu Options for Your Next Convention"
"Convenient and Precise Planning for Your Event"
How do these phrases differ from the others? First, your audience won't feel they're reading about your business. Instead, you're drawing them in by eliciting emotion. In doing so, you're talking about what your business is while simultaneously speaking to your target audience. In a matter of a few seconds, potential clients know if the content is worth reading or if they should click away.
Why is this content relevant? It’s where your potential clients are landing when they’re looking for your lead magnet. If that headline doesn’t speak to them, then they’ll move on.
Now, let’s address the specific social media content that’s getting your potential client’s attention in the first place. Do you know what to post on your social media pages to attract the perfect client?
The first thing to remember is you’ll have different audience members on every social media platform. Here are some statistics:
Adults between 18-34 years old typically follow a brand on social media.
If a consumer has good experiences with a brand, 71% of them will make a recommendation through social media.
The average Facebook user is between 25-34 years old, and they live in the United States.
75% of Instagram users are between 18-24 years old.
Understanding your audience will help you hone in on the content you’re sharing. For example, when you’re creating social media to get more weddings, using an image-heavy platform like Instagram or Pinterest is an excellent idea. Not only are you meeting your demographic, but you’re also showing your audience the services available that will meet their needs.
What else should you post? Here’s what I love doing:Behind the Scenes Content
Behind-the-scene photography and videos give your potential clients a bird's eye view into how your business crafts the gourmet creations for their events.
When you post these images and videos to your feeds, your followers see the humanity behind your brand. It proves that there are “real people” working hard to make sure their events are exceptional.
How? It's an inexpensive way of reaching your target audience. You'll receive in-depth analytics to help you track the progress of each ad. So, if your engagement is low, use paid ads to reach more people and convert them.
Take to Facebook and Instagram to offer social-only discounts. In the past, bag stuffers and promotional postcards sent to customers were the bread and butter for offering promotions to potential clients.
Now you can create special offers and track them on social media. Look at which offers work best on both platforms.
Encourage your previous clients to post videos and images of their events. These posts will not only sing praises to your target audience, but it's an opportunity for you to reshare.
Your potential customer will trust the content you share from your followers about your brand more than your original content. These posts will show your target audience how many others support and believe in your brand.
Search Engine Optimization
According to a test Hootsuite conducted in 2018, social media does have an impact on SEO (search engine optimization). What this means is, there's a correlation between social media shares and achieving higher rankings. However, that doesn't mean posting too much. That's SPAM. Doing that will cause your followers to ignore you or leave your list.
Let's look at why posts that receive a lot of shares are going to rank higher. Remember, even though there's a correlation between social media shares and better rankings, that doesn't mean those social media shares "cause" better rankings.
For example, you may have a post on Facebook or Twitter that has seventy shares. However, that doesn't mean you will see any changes in Google's rankings.
Instead, here's what's happening when social media appears to be causing ranking boosts:
Your content has a lot of shares, so potential clients see it more often.
When your audience sees your content more often, there's more of a chance for it to get linked to other websites.
If your content gets linked to other websites, then that's the cause of better rankings.
When your rankings improve, that could also lead to your social media activities increasing.
Now, let’s look at how to implement strategies for SEO on your social media pages.
You’re going to approach this differently. Instead of creating content that appeals to Google, think about how users are searching on each platform. Using this approach will help define your content strategy, understand what your potential clients are searching for, and what keywords will work best.
For example, when you look at your client avatar, does it make sense to use keywords appealing to those who need to book corporate events? Or, does your target audience need content focusing on catering for the hospitality market?
When you answer these questions, it taps directly into how you will create posts that convert.
Facebook's Search Engine
I love how highly-developed Facebook's search engine is, but its purpose differs from Google's. The main reason is that it indexes the content and settings of personal and business pages. So, if you're looking for a personal profile, you can tweak those search settings.
Another feature I love about Facebook is that you can search for any topic, idea, or organization. Because there's no connection to Google, you can use hashtags to curate your content according to the leads you want to target.
For example, when creating social media for caterers, I suggest approaching this is the following ways:
Hashtags: brainstorm a list of hashtags that appeal specifically to your target audience. Then, create another list of tags that focus on the topics of the content you’re creating. Avoid being too vague; otherwise, your content will get lost in the shuffle. Use unique words that relate to your brand that help set it apart from the rest.
Keywords: even though your potential clients aren’t searching for keywords, and Google isn’t crawling your page, keywords are significant. For example, if you have a Twitter feed snippet on your webpage, those keywords will show up somewhere in a search. These keywords will also show up in searches on the platform when your target audience is searching for a topic. For example, when you’re creating social media to get more weddings and your target is searching for “wedding planning,” your posts with that keyword phrase will appear.
Instagram and SEO
Okay, now things are a little different on Instagram. Here’s where things get fun! Did you know you can “follow” a hashtag on Instagram?
Why do I love this feature? First, when you create a brand-specific hashtag, it helps set your business apart on Instagram. Next, when users can follow that hashtag, you have more opportunities than ever to create hyper-focused content just for them. That means they’ll see posts they want, and, during searches, those posts will show up more often.
Here’s what I suggest for reaching your audience on Instagram with SEO:
What does your Instagram audience like seeing the most? Do they interact most with posts featuring your food, Q&A posts, or content offering promotions? Develop hashtags that appeal to your target audience with those posts in mind.
Look at how your target audience is engaging with your posts. Determine which posts receive the most engagement. What are the topics of those posts? Brainstorm a list of hashtags that are relevant to these posts and then create more that are like them.
Searching on Twitter
Using Twitter's search is another feature I love. You'll use this search bar a little bit differently from Facebook's. Instead, you'll type in phrases or hashtags to find tweets or content focusing on your target audience. The results will appear according to the tweets that have the most interaction. However, you can filter them according to the latest posts.
There are advanced settings you can also use. These settings allow users to focus their searches on specific words, exact phrases, hashtags, languages, accounts, locations, and dates. So, that gives your brand opportunities to generate content focusing on those searches.
Here are my suggestions for optimizing your reach on Twitter using SEO tactics:
Make sure each of your posts includes your location. That way, if a user is conducting an advanced search that provides for location-specific data, your brand will show up in the results.
Conduct keyword research according to your customer avatar. What do they search for, why are they searching on Twitter, and how do they use these results? Generate a list of keywords you can focus your content and hashtags around.
When people are engaging in your content, they're more than likely going to share it, like it, or convert. What that means for your food and beverage business is it's going to receive more visibility.
That increase in visibility means the content you're posting is more likely to be found by more members of your audience who can link to it or engage in other ways. As a result, the credibility of your brand increases, which is positive for SEO.
One thing to keep in mind regarding SEO is that its goal is to generate organic traffic. Its purpose is also to generate traffic that's relevant to your brand. That way, that traffic will lead to, as well as increase conversions.
Quality, Quantity, Consistency
I hear this question a lot--how often should I post on social media? Even though this question is challenging to answer, it's not impossible. One thing to note is, there's no cookie-cutter solution for approaching social media.
However, there is one fact that remains true for everyone trying to run a successful food business--what you're posting matters more than how often it happens. That doesn't mean neglecting your following, though.
Even if you're posting several times weekly, that won't matter if it isn't valuable or relevant. Posts that are disengaging don't do anything to serve your business. Instead, they could be harmful to your social media presence and brand.
Now, think about if the content you're posting is happening too often. Chances are, the answer is, "yes." Next, think about if it's targeting the wrong member of your audience. Again, this answer is probably, "yes."
That's where quality, quantity, and consistency are critical. What I mean by consistency is that you’re actively engaging with your following, and, when you’re not, you’re posting relevant content. Here are some posting strategies I suggest:
Instead of focusing on posting frequency, focus on posting consistency.
Content quality trumps content quantity.
Have an objective for your posts; otherwise, you can't determine their success.
Avoid Frequent Posts
If you try to figure out how often to post, or when posts should occur on which social media network, you'll find different results across the board. For example, if you read data stating the best time to post on Facebook is on Saturdays at 1:00 PM, are they talking about EST? What about businesses that don't operate at that time? Does this data account for different time zones? It's unclear.
I prefer focusing on posting consistency. That way, my social media followers know when they'll find my content and where. For example, if I schedule two posts daily on Twitter, my followers will know they can expect fresh content every twenty-four hours no matter what time they visit.
Focus on Quality Content
Instead of thinking you have to post ten or twenty times a day, think about the quality of your content. I'd rather see you write social media content to get more weddings once or twice a week that's relevant instead of poor quality content that will lose followers.
So, my advice for you is to create high-quality social media posts that stand out and provide value to your followers. Instead of pumping out as much content as quickly as you can, deliver hyper-focused content that your audience will engage with and encourages them to act.
Wouldn't you rather have one post that converts than five that have no results? I thought you would agree. Not only does that post mean you're serving your target audience better, but it also means you know how to continue doing so with future posts.
Be Consistent with Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives help you achieve consistency. Do you know why you're posting? If you don't, then it's challenging to determine the success of your social media strategy. Here are examples of a few questions I typically ask myself:
Am I trying to increase my brand awareness?
Do I want to drive traffic to my website to achieve conversions?
Am I trying to sell my services?
An example of an unsuccessful post is one whereby you're trying to drive traffic to your website to achieve conversions and, instead, it receives no clicks and 500 likes.
Using my questions above as a starting point, develop goals and objectives for your social media strategy. That way, you can create social media content that’s not only successful but also consistent.
Approaching social media marketing is overwhelming, particularly when you’re trying to figure out what to say to attract your perfect client. Now that you understand how to implement these strategies, I can’t wait to see how you take your business to the next level.
If, at any point throughout your journey, you have questions regarding social media marketing or buyer personas, I suggest subscribing to my Success Recipes weekly email. I’ll send you insider information and strategic know-how about how you can achieve success.