In 2019, the UK street food industry has taken over the food sector and is now valued at £1.2bn and continues to provide many profiting opportunities for ambitious, hard working street food traders.
However, in order to Trailblaze your way to success you must stand out from the competition, expose your brand and offerings to a wide range of potential customers.
Are you successfully marketing your food truck business online?
Of course it’s no secret that great tasting food served with a friendly smile is a vital factor for success in the food truck & catering industry. However, if no one knows where, when or what you are selling then what’s the point?
According to ‘The Food People’ people searching the internet for good food using their mobile or tablet have nearly a 90% conversion rate…..
Online Marketing Matters
In today’s digital age you can manage, market and sell your street food businesses brand online for virtually no cost. There’s really no excuse for not being pro active when marketing your food truck or catering business.
As a growing business we are coming to the realisation that having an online presence is no longer just desirable. It is now an essential part of the business. Therefore we are going through a massive learning curve as we try to (slowly but surely) up our game and become more prominent throughout Trailblazer BBQs social media and online accounts.
There is no doubt that we still have a long way to go, however we have picked up a few hints and tips along the way that you may find beneficial in helping you up your street food branding & catering marketing.
First things first, be personal and don’t hide behind the band! This is especially important for traders. Consumers want a personal touch and want to get to know who they are buying off. Let potential customers get to know the man behind the brand & show your personality and what you stand for.
Social media pages let you share exciting news, menu updates and captivating media to a wide and varied audience. As a street food business you can also claim a Google My Business Page completely free of charge, giving a great opportunity to capitalise on. Especially as According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses.
As the name implies, ‘social’ media success is built through sharing relevant and exciting content, conversing and connecting with your audience. It’s a great way of staying connected to your followers and community, promoting new business features or services, sharing special discounts or offers and informing people of where you will be located each day.
Picking your platforms
The number of social media platforms available this day in age can be overwhelming. It’s better to be predominant across a coupe of platforms rather than half hearted across the lot so take time and choose wisely what platforms are best suited for your needs.
We recommend that a business claims their brand’s name/domain across all social media accounts. Even if they are not intending on using them just yet. Doing this allows the business to have a strong and consistent handle across all social media platforms.
Take Trailblazer for example. The last thing we would want would be to be trading on Facebook as Trailblazer BBQ however having to opt of Trailblazer Grills on Instagram because the username Trailblazer BBQ is already occupied. This is likely to cause confusion as to what the brand is actually called etc. This could be a higher risk if your catering business has a popular/usual trading name.
With over 2.5 million small business pages and 1.25 billion monthly users Facebook is a great platform for connecting with your target audience.
For startups that may be strapped for cash, Facebook enables them to publish thier brand’s story and key messages that directly reach their market segments without having to pay for expensive PR & advertising.
With over 8 billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video watched every day, Facebook has become a top player in the social media video landscape. Why not show off a new menu offering through an engaging video. Create hype and highlight how you prep, cook and serve the new menu offering.
Facebook paid promotion opportunities let you target people with specific interests, ages, buying behaviours and location demographics. This is a great way of narrowing down your audience and putting your marketing in front of those who matter.
For example if a business is running a new health focused menu, they may wish to target people in their location, that have an interest in street food and health & fitness.
Some Facebook best practice pointers
Don’t create a personal profile for your business
Using a personal profile instead of a proper Facebook business page will mean you lose out on the analytics reporting tools, paid promotion opportunities and content creation tools. Use Facebook’s business analytics to show when followers are most active (i.e. the best time to post,) popular posts worth boosting & how many people are engaging with your posts.
Add a CTA (call to action) button
Ensure you add a CTA button to your business profile. This can be a button to ‘Buy Now’ ‘Call Now’ ‘Visit Website’ etc. and ultimately means a potential customer can find out more at the touch of a button.
Images attract attention and have pretty much become a requirement of any online presence. After all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Invest time in taking quality photography. Set aside some time and tidy your setup. Ensure your Trailblazer BBQ or mobile catering unit is clean and looking superior. Keep an eye out for our blog on taking professional quality photography for more guidance and pointers on this matter.
Monitor & respond to comments on your page
Ignoring your customers can make them feel unimportant and can ultimately be detrimental to your business. Use your Facebook as a customer service centre as it’s a great platform to ask for feedback, reviews and gain customer research.
By addressing negative reviews and showing appreciation for positive ones will not only help your business create a transparent and friendly persona online. You may also use any negative reviews as an opportunity to learn about your business and to turn naysayers into brand advocates.
In 2018 a increase of 33% more restaurants named Instagram as being their social platform of choice compared to 2017 and we are not surprised as to why!
As people now seem to have less time, yet higher expectations we find many consumers arrive at a street food stall already aware of what they are going to order. Not because they have looked at the menu but because they have already spent several minutes stalking on Instagram.
According to research by Zizzi. 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak! That this statistic into consideration when marketing a mobile catering business and designate time and effort to creating insta-perfect menu offerings.
Some Instagram best practice pointers
Create inst-perfect food to encourage customers to snap & share across their personal profile.
The food industry is increasingly revolving around our photo-sharing social media accounts, e.g. Instagram.
It’s believed that over 69% of millennials now take a picture of their food before eating it! Focus on making your food offerings look striking and interesting to encourage people to show it of to their friends and followers and ultimately market your offerings for you via their personal Instagram accounts.
The Food People suggests that coloured foods such as black breads, blue lattes and purple cheesecakes are just the start of what is to come throughout 2018/19.
Try Instagram stories
Instagram stories are discoverable which means that they can be seen even by people who don’t follow you.
Stories also give the opportunity to ask your follows a poll. This is a great way of getting instant feedback from those who matter. This is a great research tool when, for example adding a new item to your menu.
Expand your post reach with the use of trending #hashtags
Extend post reach through the strategic use of hashtags. From research we have found 7 hashtags per post seems to the recommended amount.
Try trendjacking. Jump on hot topics that are already trending on social media. This is a great way to increase exposure for your posts, especially if you have a clever take on the topic!
Keep videos below 60 seconds & think no sound
Videos play automatically and can be up to 60 seconds long. Ensure you are highlighting your message within this time so no vital information is being cut from the post. Use vertical videos for stories and horizontal videos for your actual newsfeed.
Since users have to tap the video for audio to play, any audio before the person taps won’t be heard. It sounds obvious, but you might consider starting off the video with an introduction that doesn’t need audio. When and if the user taps for audio, they won’t have missed much.
Use your website
Some traders that we speak to underestimate the use of a business website and therefore neglect spending any time or resource in setting or maintaining an attractive and responsive website.
We however feel a website to be a vital aspect of your catering business. It can act as a central hub to display your customer testimonials, provide key info such as opening hours, pricing, service offerings and any photographs or case studies of previous jobs carried out.
If you don’t have one yet, don’t panic. These days you can create a great-looking website at a low cost. A quick Google search for ‘website builder’ is a good place to start. We would recommend WordPress.
Spend some time on writing interesting blogs that are targeting keywords related to your industry. Think about keywords that potential customers may be searching before knowing about your business. Blogs are also a great way of showcasing the personality of your business. Use them to tell people about the companies daily problems, highlights along with key beliefs and core values. (Another great way of forming a strong brand and letting the customer see who is behind the brand.)
Mobiles now account for more than 72% of all browsing so make sure your site is mobile friendly.
Show social proof
Oe of the best ways of building brand awareness and marketing of any business Is through word of mouth being spread by happy customers. It’s also a great idea to try and take note of these remarks as testimonials. A great way of showcasing your street food business is through the mouths of happy customers. Why not ask if they would mind saying a few words in front of the camera giving their reflection of views on your product & service.