Living in the Portland metro area, food trucks are not uncommon to us. We see them all over downtown Portland and more and more in the Beaverton area. Portland is a great place to find a diverse meal because of them. But with something so common, how can the food truck owners make their business stand out in a sea of crowds and food carts?
Pam Moore’s article on Yahoo Small Business Advisor has the answers with these social media tips.
20 Social Media Tips for Food Trucks:
1. Have a plan. Don’t just wing everything you do with your brand and with social media. Know your goals and objectives, your audience, the goals and objectives of your audience and how you can best leverage social media to nurture relationships with your ideal customer. Focus on an audience based approach and align social media to business goals where it can have the greatest positive impact. Download this worksheet to get started.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. We see many food truck owners thinking they need to be on every social network. However, when you visit their platforms it’s like visiting a lonely, abandoned island. Don’t get in over your head. It’s better to focus on one or two social networks that you do really well than to attempt to leverage five and have little presence on any of them.
3. Make your logo easy to read, see, and photograph. I love how the Mayan Grill truck has a very simple, easy to read and photograph logo. Make it a goal to have a photographic “Kodak moment” spot on your truck where people can take photos eating your deliciousness!
4. Create an experience. Create your own brand based on your unique cuisine and the audience you want to attract. If your food is fresh and organic then use colors and branding elements that create an organic and fresh experience. If your truck is a New York City style pizza, then create such an experience. Know your audience and create an experience that inspires, excites and delights them! Download and use this free Social Media Audience Analysis Worksheet to get started.
5. Don’t just copy other trucks in your local area. Rise above status quo and develop your own brand, cuisine, and overall experience. We have worked with local food trucks and find most food trucks are barely staying in business. Don’t copy them or you may wind up in the same boat! Think bigger.
6. Brand your truck consistently with your website and other social properties. Ensure that the experience customers have visiting your social properties before and after the event is the same as at the event. It takes 6-7 brand touches before people will remember your brand so make every touch count! Download this white paper with 15 tips to help you stomp the status quo brand!
7. Use the truck real estate wisely. Don’t put a silly QR Code on the truck that links to your website. If your food is good and I am devouring it with both hands, I don’t have a hand to scan the QR code. If I do and find that it only leads me to your generic website, I am not going to be a happy social camper. Make every inch count. Make it meaningful, relevant and useful in creating a positive experience for your clients.
8. On the truck include your Twitter handle, Instagram username and website/ blog address at minimum. Don’t just include the generic Twitter and Facebook logos. They are useless without an address, period.
9. Create a business card that includes all of your top priority social profile addresses. Include your Twitter handle, Instagram, Facebook and blog/ website at minimum. Only include social networks on which you are active and will engage with your fans. Keep a stack of these cards on the table where customers grab napkins, plastic silverware, and sauces.
10. Make the menu interesting but simple. Don’t overcomplicate the menu. Make it easy to read and ensure your staff can easily explain the details of different options.
11. If possible, include images of your food. I love how the Mayan Grill included pictures of the menu items on a sign by the truck. It helped many people decide what menu item to order.
12. Make it clear how I can learn more about you. If you offer catering make it easy for me to contact you. Should I grab a business card from you? Or should I visit your website and fill out a contact form? Or do you prefer a simple phone call? Help me help you get more business!
13. Smile for pictures. Be happy to be included in photos your fans take of you and your truck. Having your biggest fans posting and sharing photos and telling their friends how great you are is free marketing that can work for you 24/7, 365 days a year if you use it wisely. Take time to smile, stand with and engage with your customer. Be the human part of their experience and memories.
14. Be human. This goes for both online and offline. Talk like a human, engage like a human and treat your customers like humans. If you are experiencing a heavy crowd and orders are taking a bit longer, just give your customers an honest answer as to how long it will take. If they have kids and lines are running a bit long, let them know they have time to run to the restroom or take their kids on a jump in the bouncy castle or for a ride in the train.
15. Don’t make your social pages and posts all about you. I should be able to visit your Facebook page or Twitter profile after the event and see that your recent conversations and social network posts are not just about you. I’d love to see people eating and enjoying the experience as much as I did when I visited and purchased from your truck. I also would like to see other people talking to you, raving about your food and the experience they had while dining truck side.
16. Include a section on your blog or website that easily tells me where you will be next. Don’t make me search on a Facebook page or Twitter stream. If you have a regular schedule, then post it.
17. Reward social media actions. Set up a contest on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or your blog that rewards good social behavior. Have a contest that includes photos or videos submitted by your new and loyal fans! Pass out a simple one-half page flyer to educate them on how to engage in your contest.
18. A mobile responsive website and blog is a must. Your food truck patrons are mobile. If your website or blog can not be easily viewed and engaged with via mobile devices you might as well start over. You are missing out on what could be your greatest brand evangelists and loyal customers.
19. Engage! Your greatest opportunity to engage with visiting customers to your food truck is immediately after they experienced your food. It is then they still remember the smells and tastes within their mouth. Be sure to check your social profiles daily for comments, new fans. Engage with them, talk to them like human beings. Let them know you appreciate them. Invest in doing some social listening to know what customers are saying about your brand. Good or bad, knowing what conversations are happening in your honor will help you improve the customer experience and create relationships to last a life time.
20. Have fun! No matter how busy you are or what goes right or wrong, have fun! Be sure that people working in your truck represent your brand. They should be as passionate about your business and truck as you are! When people are visiting food truck festivals they want to enjoy the moment. They are there for a good time. Have a good time with them!
For more on Portland’s food carts visit www.foodcartsportland.com
(Disclaimer: don’t visit this site while hungry!)