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food based business owners

SOCIAL MEDIA

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Cute couple taking a picture in your business, and posting out to their world

Cute couple taking a picture in your business, and posting out to their world

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS

Many of my clients and restaurant owners ask me if social media is effective. Overall my answer is a resounding "yes".  After that, the devil is in the details, and you need to know the best practices in social media. Staying active and engaged is a relatively inexpensive way to expand brand awareness, increase website traffic and build a community of loyal followers that translates into purchases in your establishment or of your product. To explore this idea, let’s look at three do's and three don'ts that can benefit your business no matter whether it's a cafe, a farm, a restaurant or a maker. 

Best practices of social media represented here:    Best pizza in Pisa, Italy.  

Best practices of social media represented here:  

Best pizza in Pisa, Italy.  

 

THREE DON’TS of SOCIAL MEDIA

DON’T ASSUME IT HAPPENS ORGANICALLY 

You cannot just hope that your posts work. Just like all marketing projects, you need a plan. Write out an organized plan that includes items such as the social media outlets you plan to use, the number of posts or tweets per day and/or per week you will write, and the time you need to research ideas, take photos (ahead of time, and in the moment), write posts, track analytics and engage with your followers.  

DON’T GET TOO FORMULAIC  

Keep it fresh, keep it real, keep it timely.  You can tell yourself “I don’t need to post on this cool event we created because I am just too busy running the event.”  That is a missed opportunity. Remind your staff, set a timer on your phone, whatever reminder you need to keep adding content.  You will find that your mind's eye will set off an alarm saying, "capture that for social media!" Another creative method I have seen in use, is people that love a restaurant or an event post, and you merely need to add it to your feed.    

DON’T IGNORE THE STATISTICS  

Get the most from social media by tracking the metrics provided by the media platform. There are performance indicators that help you analyze which posts work the best.  With analytics and research you can learn the following tricks:

  • Impressions and Reach. Impressions are the number of times a post from our page is displayed in a newsfeed, whether the post is clicked or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see the original post then see it again because someone shared it. Reach is the number of people who received impressions of a page post. Reach might be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions.
  • Follower Growth. Track the number of followers on your networks and watch how it grows over time. You might notice one particular post or promotion attracts a lot of followers. 
  • Competition. With a little research you can determine why similar businesses to your own focus in a certain direction.  This is how you can learn to differentiate yourself. If they are making fish sticks, and they are making millions, do not feel like fish sticks are the answer to your business.

 

THREE DO's of SOCIAL MEDIA

1.  POST GREAT PHOTOS  

Good presentation from the kitchen translates into lovely photos.  

Good presentation from the kitchen translates into lovely photos.  

When I was growing up, pets and food defined good advertising campaigns. This still holds true today and social media allows you to present your photos without the expense of a “Mad Men’esque” advertising campaign. Food posts can be easily planned and the photography work can be shared with your staff and even your customers. Once you figure out who has a great eye for photography, you can start planning ahead and building a gallery of photos ready to go. Here are some statistics that might inspire you and and help you accept social media’s ability to attract and engage customers:

  • 72%of food photography is of a main meal. That could be your food in the photo.
  • 49% of consumers learn about food through social networks. That means you can reach about half of the people on social media just by becoming active.
  • 24% respond to conversations about food on social media. Engaging with your followers about your food photos helps build your brand and gain trust. 
  • Need more information like this.  Here is one of the many good iconographics on the topic. 

2.  PROVIDE RELEVANT CONTENT

Keep your content short, simple and on point. Impact improves with simplicity. Say more with fewer words. If your goal is converting followers to paying customers try a give away, a gift card for the 25th person who likes the your post. Try taking pre-orders from your posts by enticing followers with an incentive. For example, a restaurant in the Baltimore area delivers a mason jar filled with thick-cut maple bacon with your check in on FB, or mention their restaurant on Instagram. Always seek new ways to ask your audience to sign up for your newsletter. This will direct them to your website.

3.  ENGAGE WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS

This is interlocked with content.  If you give your followers some way to engage, then they will engage.  Give them helpful tips about your business and engage with them through education. When they respond to a post, respond back to them. They want to get to know you and the personality of your business. Interacting with them will help them get to know you better. 

LESSONS TO TAKE WITH YOU

In summary, engage your guests with good content, good photos, and education. This will take your social media from dull and lackluster, to colorful and interesting. If you wish to indulge yourself in more statistics, here is a great article. If you would like a virtual coffee with me, Martha Lucius, feel free to email me when you are next at your iphone/computer.  I look forward to hearing your successes. 

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Peace and Joy

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Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

What does Peace and Joy have to do with being a business owner?  Simple: You chose to be a business owner, and there should be peace and joy in your heart for your business and the people who run it with you.    We all know that it has it's thankless moments. This blogpost is not focused on the thankless moments.  Rather, this blogpost is about the peace and joy you can get from being a business owner.  The best way to explore such an idea, is to look at a living legend:  Ari Zingerman.  Last month I attended a two day workshop called “The Zingerman’s Experience”, with one of my clients. The Zingerman's brand has a whimsical look, but thankfully for us, his whim took shape with vision, systems and laws of business.   When you, as an owner, get stumped, you might need vision, systems and laws for you and your staff. The workshop confirmed for me, yet again, that owners need support that keeps them on track. Consider if you have vision for your business, systems for you and staff to follow, and have you read the Zingerman’s Twelve Laws of Business?

VISION:

No doubt you have heard that your business needs a vision.  You might have done a brief exercise in vision, and even put it in your employee manual.  But honestly, it needs to be deeper and wider.  Vision is only useful if it permeates your business and is the message each staff member shares with fellow staff and guests/customers to your business.  The most effective way to make that happen is to set action steps that are based on the vision.  With action steps you achieve consistent strategy, and weave the vision into your business culture; it even matches the vision to the daily habits in your business.  Vision is your five year plan. Action Steps place you on that road map to getting to the goals of the five year plan. 

 

SYSTEMS:

Simply put, systems are what makes your world go ‘round.  Systems keep your product consistent, your daily operations functioning (void of chaos), create a method for distributing your product, and creates the vibe/culture that keeps customers/guests delighted, and coming back.  The systems helps guide every aspect of your business.  It is even true that a clear vision attracts the right staff to your business, which naturally builds solid foundation for growth.  As a business advisor I know that the concept of systems is cringe-worthy: if you do not have them, it seems like it will take forever to build them.  If you have some systems but they do not give you positive results then you have to revisit whether they actually match the action plan (which supports the vision).  If the systems are not based on expectations then they are simply not useful, and are not supporting you.  Your business can be chaos-free and embody peace and joy.  And you have to jump in and create systems that your staff follow.  This will build the consistent and beautiful business you envisioned from the start.  

TWELVE NATURAL LAWS OF BUSINESS:  You may never have thought of laws for your business.  In the words of a yogi, “it is returning to your center”.  In the words of a Wall Street businessman it’s what drives your business forward.  In the words of Martha at Cavalletta, “it’s a set of rules that reassure you, when faced with a new and different issue in your business.   With that brief introduction, read through the Twelve Natural Laws of Business, and see how pertinent they are to your business.

I wish you Peace and Joy for this holiday season, and I wish you Peace and Joy for your business. Be assured that it is possible.  Start off the new year thinking and planning of how to achieve more peace and joy in 2016. 

 

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FACING YOUR FINANCIAL PICTURE

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FACING YOUR FINANCIAL PICTURE

Are you looking at your financial picture?  If not, it's time: let's have a conversation about numbers.   Where are you this year/this month/this day in terms of your goals and projections?  Have you ever set financial goals and projections?  Are you only focused on basic financial information in your business:  prime costs, food costs, labor costs?  Do you manage your own bookkeeping or source this out? Do you enter all your numbers in house, using Quickbooks? Do you hate the topic of numbers?!?

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COLLABORATIONS:  BRIGHTON, UK vs BALTIMORE, MD

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COLLABORATIONS: BRIGHTON, UK vs BALTIMORE, MD

Creative Morning, Baltimore's presentation entitled "Collaboration!" was perfectly timed.  Baltimore is a collaborative town, and the results are great for our community. Collaboration in Baltimore's food community is attracting attention by chefs and business owners in other parts of the US.  During my Food Journey in the UK last week I wondered how the well-known foodie of Brighton UK is embracing collaboration.  Last week I met Kanthi, owner of Curry Leaf Cafe and Olivia, Marketing Guru at Terre a Terre.   I asked the question,  "how well do the community of restaurant-owners collaborate in Brighton, UK?".

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