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Social media platforms are great places for creative inspiration and experimentation, but it’s easy to become set in your ways, convinced that the latest trends just aren’t for you or your business. We’ve looked into three ways food retailers and brands can banish those thoughts and use social media to boost their business.
While customers are spending more time shopping online and browsing through brands’ social media profiles, your bricks-and-mortar shop can still be a good marketing tool. Jessica Watson of Boards by Jess is an expert in revamping shop windows with both digital and physical retail in mind.
“Having a bespoke window display can be one of the biggest marketing tools for a small business and can help turn passing people into paying customers,” Jessica said. “It can be a great marketing tool to find local customers, but can also help to boost a shop’s online presence.”
Indeed, a great design can not only boost your physical shop, but strong images of a fresh design can also perform well on social media, especially Instagram, thus expanding your reach beyond your local community. “A bespoke design can help visualise creativity within the business, help create consistent branding, showcase products in store, or help stay relevant to seasonal celebrations within the year,” Jessica said.
“Working with an artist to create your window means you highlight how you want the display to market your products – whether that’s creating a bright and bold border to frame products that you sell in store and online, or if that involves including text to direct customers to your social media or website in a fun and inviting manner.” As a low-cost way to drive customers in-store and online, it’s a win-win solution.
As the latest platform sweeping the social media landscape, TikTok is still an unknown entity to many brands and food professionals. But with an increasing number of young people flocking to the app – and in-app food trends turning into explosive phenomena – it’s time to consider whether this platform is right for your business.
Alcohol-free beer brand Freestar started using TikTok as a business a year ago, and co-founder Felix von Hurter told Speciality Food about the company’s experience: “We love it because it’s the most creative platform out there, and it’s engaging on a more authentic level than Instagram. Its audience is also more in line with our target. Freestar is built for the young people driving the trend in moderation.”
Considering your target market is crucial to ensure that you’re not wasting effort creating videos for an audience that just doesn’t exist. But if your business, like Freestar’s, is looking to capture attention from Generation Z, TikTok is a great place to experiment with your brand. Felix says TikTok offers the opportunity for more authenticity and creativity. “Its algorithm also favours content as opposed to followers, so you can have one follower but get one million views on a video if the content is good.”
Felix said the brand has seen good engagement from followers, but the team is still learning the best way to use the platform. For others considering if TikTok is right for them, he says just start creating and trying things out. “It’s not as precious as Instagram in that each post doesn’t need to be so perfectly crafted. Just get on the app and have fun. A light hearted tone of voice is key.”
According to TikTok’s latest trends report, cooking-related content has seen a big boost with more people staying home amid the pandemic. Cooking content was named one of the top 10 most popular content categories.
If TikTok is too far out of your comfort zone, you can still experiment with video on a platform that’s likely much more familiar: Instagram. Instagram has introduced IGTV, which is aimed at long-form content, and Reels, multi-clip videos of up to 30 seconds.
Aatin Anadkat, co-founder of plant-based cake delivery business Positive Bakes, says his business trialled IGTV posts in April 2020 in order to find more ways to engage with customers. “We realised video is an important channel and a great way of communicating with our tribe,” he told Speciality Food.
The brand has released several how-to baking guides on IGTV to show customers how easy their baking kit instructions were to follow. “Our customers really enjoyed this. I guess we are all so used to using YouTube etc when it comes to learning how to make or do something, it seemed like a great idea to make it fun and easy for our customers with our baking kits!” he explained.
Aatin says co-founder Helen Anadkat is the “creative driver” behind the videos, which were filmed at their home during lockdown. Although they took longer than expected to make, Aatin said they were worth the effort. “The baking videos were time consuming but lots of fun – it’s great and rewarding to see something with so many dimensions come together and represent our brand as we want it to,” he said.
“We have seen a great growth on Instagram with regards to followers and importantly engagement. I think the quality of our posts has been a big driver for this. Videos and stories help a lot and also encourages other user-generated content, which is great for us to see!”
The joy of social media is that everyone is continuously experimenting with new ways of reaching customers and boosting engagement. There is no one key to success, so with little to lose but plenty to gain, why not try something new today?