Your social media questions answered

12 May 2021, 07:02 AM
  • The online world is your oyster if you utilise these tips from Charlotte Sheridan, AKA The Small Biz Expert
Your social media questions answered

As an independent retailer, you may feel that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It offers a platform on which you can display your wares to an audience far beyond the reach of any local storefront. A place where you can compete with retailers with prime retail positions on the high street. And the potential to speak directly to multiple audiences no matter where or who they are.

But with all of this potential comes the overwhelm. Where should you be posting? How often? What should you be sharing on social? How can you carve out your own space on social media?

What to post and how it should look

One of the biggest barriers that almost any business comes up against is concern around what they should be posting. We often speak to sellers who avoid specific platforms (we’re looking at you, Instagram) for fear that they don’t have a team of food photographers and expert videographers to produce highly styled content.

But authentic social engagement is not always about super high-quality shots – it’s about being true to your brand and sharing what makes your business unique. It’s about telling your story and creating a meaningful dialogue with your audience. So how can you achieve this?

Some quick ideas:

Telling your story

    • Show your audience who you are – consider posting profiles of you and your team, telling them what you like to eat, your favourite products and your expertise.
    • Get your suppliers involved – people love to know where their food comes from.
    • Showcase your expertise. Give people tips on how to use your products – what they work well with.

Creating a dialogue

    • Be sure to ask questions of your customers in your social posts. This helps to create engagement which means a broader audience will see your posts.
    • Ask your audience to share how they are using your produce – get them to tag you in their recipes and photos.
    • Get local! Think beyond your business and relate your posts to local events and issues, too.

Which platform will work for you?

There’s not a wrong or right answer here. When choosing which social channel you want to use, it’s a case of researching and understanding your audience, and where they like to ‘hang out’ online.

For example, while Instagram is often the platform of choice for many food businesses, if your target audience is 50 year old males it may not be your best bet. Here are some of the benefits and demographics of each platform:

Instagram

When it comes to food, Instagram is where it’s at! As a media-focused platform, this is the place to share photos and videos that show exactly who you are and the products you offer. You have the option to post on the ‘grid’ (this is your main feed), ‘stories’ with short pieces of content which stay up for 24 hours, and ‘reels’ (short pieces of video content, similar to TikTok).

Facebook

With 44% of the UK population using Facebook at least once per day, almost every food retailer is likely to have customers who regularly use the platform. Facebook probably offers one of the most diverse ways to connect with your customers; beyond your business page, Facebook provides the opportunity to meet your customers where they already are or build new communities through groups, events and video.

Twitter

Often overlooked, Twitter can be a great place to connect with your audience. It also offers an excellent opportunity to get involved in up-to-the-minute trends and show your store’s personality. Research conducted by Twitter showed that 45% of UK Twitter users have tried to cook a recipe based on something they’ve seen on Twitter, and 39% have tweeted photos of meals they have cooked.

LinkedIn

As a B2B-focused platform, LinkedIn is often dismissed by food retailers, but it does have several benefits. Firstly it’s a great place to link up with complementary business owners, suppliers and those who you might wish to collaborate with in the future.

TikTok

The video newcomer is another great place to show the world your brand, and we are already seeing foodie influencers getting involved. A video platform where you can post videos of up to one minute, TikTok offers a range of great features that allow you to engage with your audience.

How much should you invest in social media marketing?

There is no right or wrong answer here. Organic social media can be done cheaply in terms of cost, but to get it right, it can certainly have an impact on your time. Advertising on social media platforms can be a great way to get you directly in front of your ideal audience but needs to be carefully managed to ensure that you are getting a return on your advertising spend.

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