How social media shopping features could help your fine food business

14 March 2022, 08:00 AM
  • Social media shopping is growing in popularity; here’s how it could help your deli, farm shop or independent business
How social media shopping features could help your fine food business

With limited opportunities for in-person experiences and promotion due to the pandemic, some fine food retailers have learnt the hard way that social media can make all the difference. Promoting your products on these platforms is a great way to showcase what you do as a business not just within the immediate area, but globally. 

Mark Kacary, managing director of Norfolk Deli, worked for approximately 30 years within the IT industry in a number of sales and marketing roles, so understands the importance of expanding a shop window beyond its physical dimensions by using social media.

He explains: “We know that social media works not only because we quite often get online orders shortly after something has been posted, but people who follow you love to tell you that they follow you when they visit the shop, saying “we’re from xyz and we follow you on Instagram and were desperate to come and visit”.”

But social media is constantly evolving, and one feature that is gaining popularity and favours well with the Instagram algorithm is Instagram Shop. This allows you to merge your online shop with your social media accounts so that prospective customers can view and purchase your products straight from the app.

Another tool for advertising
While social media shopping features such as Instagram Shop don’t always directly increase sales, they do create another opportunity to advertise your products. 

Charlie Wells, director and head of marketing at The Farm in Stratford explained: “I wouldn’t say it helps a great deal [with sales] but it certainly works as another point of advertising our products or seasonal specials, which hopefully creates a sale. It also allows advertising on Facebook shopping pages as well, which if you have a large Facebook following plus Instagram it gives you double the chance to sell through your social media channels. The Farm has a very different audience on Instagram than Facebook, so we cover all potential customers.”

It can promote impulse buys
Mark compares his Instagram shopping page to the in-person point of sale impulse buys: “We put onto somebody’s screen a purchasable image thus reducing one additional layer of faff to get in between the “oh that’s a good idea” and “I’ll buy that” action. In some ways, it is the equivalent of WH Smith putting a chocolate bar at the till for an impulse purchase. Making the image clickable with a direct link to purchasing allows for impulse purchases.”

By having a range of your products available to look through and potentially buy on your social media page, Instagram scrollers looking for last-minute gift ideas or payday treats can be tempted to make impulsive purchases through the app.

Social media accounts need sufficient attention
But while Instagram can be a force for good, if used incorrectly it can spell bad news for business. Mark explains: “A badly run social media account can do more damage than good. If you visit an Instagram account and notice that it hasn’t been updated in weeks, two points spring to mind: 1) are they still in business? 2) they don’t really care enough about their business so I’ll go and look elsewhere.”

Charlie agrees, and when it comes to choosing a photo of the products for the shopping page, she says: “Make sure it’s an attractive photo that’s going on! I know that seems obvious, but I’ve seen some terrible photos recently. A bad photo can be just as influential as a good photo! It represents your brand so make it a good one and make that product pop!”

If you choose to use social media shopping platforms to promote and sell your products, make sure that you have the time and tools to give it the attention it needs to make it work for you.

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