18 Ways to Promote Your Catering Company on Social Media
Published : 14th May 2019
“Social media allows big companies to act small again.” – Jay Baer
Social media certainly changed the business world with its arrival, and ever since MySpace, we’ve all been trying to work out how to use social media to gain more interest, leads, and sales.
Social media opened up the internet like a tin opener and placed the importance on conversation over sales like never before.
Now we (the consumer) want to know about the people and the stories behind the company and their services, and that gives social media a really interesting position.
There are, of course, loads of ways you can promote your business on social media. But like all areas of business, it’s best to select the areas that work best for you and try to avoid overwhelm or confusion.
We figured that your success is our success and the busier you get as a caterer, the busier we get.
Team work, you see?
What we’ve done on the blog this week is select 18 different ways to use social media that you could use in your catering business.
Yes, it’s a lot. We’re not for one minute suggesting that you use them all! Perhaps you could try the ones that feel right for you.
Enjoy… and let us know how you get on.
Twitter is the social media channel that confuses people the most as it’s fast and concise. Content runs past quickly, and the hashtags are very popular.
Twitter is very simple at its heart. It’s just conversation. Lots of conversations.
It’s fine to talk to people you don’t know on Twitter, so it’s great for making new connections.
Originally messages of just 140 characters (as the system was based on SMS text messaging), Twitter now gives you 280 characters plus a link or up to four photos to share your story.
It’s the world’s conversation and the media, journalists, sports fans, and customers alike, head to Twitter for the trending topics and real-time updates. There’s nothing like it for live news.
It’s quite normal for Twitter users to post multiple times an hour and some even live stream their events or day on the ‘micro blogging site’.
1. Local hashtags
Hashtags link topics together. Two ‘tweets’ with the same hashtag will appear in their own ‘timeline’ and that gives you a great opportunity to appear in timelines where people you aren’t connected with will see it.
Search Twitter for your local area and try to work out what hashtag the locals use. Maybe a council run one, or a buy local initiative? Search and seek the best one(s) and then add those to any tweets you send out about local news or even just when you’re working in the area.
Running an event? Share photos or videos from the event from set-up to clear down with the local hashtag.
Twitter is ideal for storytelling, but this doesn’t have to be a full on Jackanory Storytime! Storytelling on Twitter can be as simple as sharing updates throughout your day to the people who follow you and the hashtags that you’re using.
From loading up for an event to laying tables, cutting the beef, or pouring the champagne for the arrival of the bride and groom; Twitter allows you to share little snippets from your day in real-time… and Twitter followers love it.
3. Twitter hours
Twitter hours are online networking ‘events’ either around a local area of a particular topic. They’re free to get involved with and really quite simple. Everyone will tweet (and simple chat is the order of the day) with the same hashtag.
#BrumHour is one nearby to us. All the tweets appear in one timeline and the aim is to chat, connect, and follow the other accounts.
It’s very social but a great way to get your business seen. Share videos and images from events to really stand out or maybe tell them where you’ll be serving this coming weekend.
Plenty of industries use hashtags to stay connected with other businesses in the same industry. Here are some catering hashtags you might want to check out.
Periscope is Twitter’s live streaming video service and it works right inside the app. Live video is a powerful medium and you’ll get replay viewers too. You can stream anything, but aim to add value if you’re going to do it. Maybe do some live cookery lessons as you prep or set-up for a big event or add some value with silver service tips or show your followers how to set a table.
Simple is effective with most areas of Twitter. You’ll find it’s really easy to update your account with the inner workings of your business as you go about your day.
Sounds dull? Not at all. Reality TV is so popular because we all love to see behind the scenes! People who don’t do what you do are intrigued and curious about it!
Instagram is a very visual channel and it gives you a great way to share beautiful photos of your final product. If Twitter is the gearbox then Instagram is the shiny, polished paintwork.
Made famous for its filters and of course #FoodPorn, Instagram is built for food and the ideal place to share a stream of great creations from your events.
5. Instagram feed
The main area of Instagram is the feed or wall, and these are often referred to as Instagram tiles. These are the photos or videos you share that stay on your profile forever and you can get really creative here.
Some accounts choose to theme these tiles so they all tell a story one after another. Others stick to one style, while other accounts share all sorts of content for their followers.
With food, it’s a given to share plated starters, mains, and desserts from events and those elaborate canapes and drinks receptions. Fill your feed with some mouth-watering creations and then encourage your enquiries and new leads to follow you to give them a ‘taste’ of what you can do.
6. Instagram stories
Stories are what’s known as disappearing content. An image or 15 second video can be uploaded to your ‘story’ and it will stay there for 24 hours before being deleted. Stories give you creative license to share your day in Instagram in a real life, real-time way, and the most popular way to use stories is to give people that behind the scenes stuff they all love.
From staff birthdays to loading the van, and setting-up – give your followers an insight into your life. It’s a powerful relationship building tool.
7. Local hashtags
Just like Twitter, Instagram loves a good hashtag. Research the right ones for your posts and then find the local hastags and also the best local GPS tag. You can add location to your feed and your stories with tags. Getting your content ‘hash-tagged’ and GPS-tagged locally or in the area that you’re working will get your content seen by more people. Hashtags and locations are the driver behind Instagram!
8. Instagram TV
Need something longer than 15 seconds (stories) or 60 seconds (feed) for your video? Instagram TV allows you to share longer, more professional videos and then drops a little intro to it into the stories to drive views to it.
Just like Periscope, you could share some longer video content like food tips, set-up advice, or some really great event tips that would show you as an expert in your field.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and if you’ve been paying attention when you’re Googling you’ll have noticed that YouTube videos appear on the first page search results.
The best thing about this for you is that you have a great way to great found online for those keywords you’re trying to rank for. Not many people realise this, but YouTube will rank your videos based on the titles you use, and it will ‘index them’ (add them to Google) very quickly in comparison to Google.
9. Get some great videos online for the key things your customers ask you about
All those key questions can be answered on video and you’ll win twice:
- You can send the videos to your clients when they ask – they’ll love you for this
- You’ll get found on YouTube when others search.
Add a link to your website in the YouTube descriptions for some extra Google love!
The big boy in social media is still very much working for businesses. Although, if you have a page, you’ll no doubt have noticed a fall in the number of people you interact with and reach. Facebook is very busy, and the timelines are full, so Facebook has had to make some changes and continue to do so to keep it relevant to its users.
There are always going to be new ways to make Facebook work, but here’s what we hear works at the moment, as of May 2019.
10. Facebook groups
Facebook Groups have improved a lot over the years and the communities in these groups is what Facebook is trying to create so they’re pushing more engagement there instead of to your business Page.
You can’t post in all groups as your business (page) but you can go and network as your personal profile and this is a good bit of after work online networking. Just keep your personal profile tidy and free of controversy and appear as you’d want fellow business owners to see you.
Groups are searchable and our top tip for groups is to head there and network whilst searching for ‘events’ ‘weddings’ ‘parties’ ‘50th party’ and so on. Find those you can help and offer them some help and then inbox them. It’s social media – go talk!
11. Facebook Live
Video is the channel to use on any social media so on Facebook it makes sense to use their ‘Live’ platform. Live streaming on Facebook could work the same as Twitter or Instagram, sharing cooking lessons, or maybe ‘How to sharpen a knife’ or ‘Silver service tips’.
You get the idea, right?
12. Facebook Pages and ads
Facebook is ‘pay to play’ now and if you’re not running the odd advert then you’ll no doubt be struggling to get people to see your posts. The good news is, Facebook ads are relatively cheap in comparison to other channels, so running some ads shouldn’t break the bank.
The best way seems to be using the clever re-marketing tools that Facebook has.
Adding a Facebook Pixel to your website gives you the chance to run ads or promote everyday posts to the people who visit your website. This is very powerful when you consider how many people research caterers for an event and then leave the websites without contacting the owners.
With Facebook you can keep nudging them with ads or simply by promoting your daily content and social media posts. This helps them to get to know and trust you.
LinkedIn is changing a lot this year and it’s far from the online CV site that it used to be. Now it’s more about content and most of the marketers we follow are raving about LinkedIn.
Sharing content is much like the other channels but the big difference with LinkedIn is that you can search for individuals with specific job titles in specific areas and that makes LinkedIn great for finding and connecting with key decision-makers in the businesses that you’re looking to work with.
Just like the other social media channels, hashtags, media (photos and video), and then straightforward text posts work well on LinkedIn.
With your catering business you could take some of the content from the other channels and make your LinkedIn an expert feed or include food and beverage tips, or simply share updates from events like weddings and parties.
There are really no rules and as LinkedIn changes to be more social you’re encouraged to try and stand out. Share some sizzling food videos or mouth-watering business lunch photos and then connect with the right people so they fall in love with what you do.
LinkedIn is, at its heart, a people-to-people business connection tool, so use it that way. Work out who you need to connect with and then search and connect with them. Set up your profile to attract them (LinkedIn is searchable so think about the words you have in your bio) and then connect.
The best way to use LinkedIn is to create a bio written for your ideal connection and then search for them and connect with them.
Video is a very powerful force on LinkedIn and thanks to the way LinkedIn works, videos play automatically and most comments and likes share your videos to your connections’ followers.
- The people you are connected with are called 1sts
- The ones they are connected with (that you’re not) are called 2nds.
Interactions on your posts can really help you reach those not already connected with you (2nds) and video is really a great way to do this.
Use the same ideas for videos as before, but maybe get in front of that camera and be the face of the business. We know you may not like the idea, but you’ll soon get used to it and it’s great for your business visibility!
Remember: “Social media allows big companies to act small again.” So use LinkedIn to be human and act small.
16. Search and comment
This is the key to LinkedIn. Work out who you need to connect with in your business and then go and find them on LinkedIn. Even with the free version of LinkedIn you can find people in the businesses you’d like to work with and connect with them.
Maybe you’re interested in more corporate work?
- Write a great first line and bio.
- Post great content on your profile.
- Go connect with the decision makers in those businesses.
- And then watch the magic happen.
Be ready to go to message and set up a call or meeting. LinkedIn is a place where people go to connect so be ready to do so.
Pinterest is built for beautiful things, and that includes food photos. Catering creates a wealth of content for a site like Pinterest and it’s also the best place to put things like recipes, event tips, or lists like “Things to ask your wedding caterer”.
This is a reverse-engineered social media. Work out what your future customers will be researching when they’re looking for a caterer and give them the answers in your content. This is a key in the wedding game as brides, grooms, parents of and friends of will do a mountain of research before the big day. Brides go on Pinterest for inspiration, so help them see what you can do.
Be the answer and get noticed.
17. Wedding boards
Pinterest is built around ‘Boards’. Boards are like an old-fashioned scrapbook where users ‘pin’ content they find from the web. A great way to get found and interacted with on Pinterest is to share great images, tips, and advice like ‘Best man lists’, ‘Bridesmaid duties’ and of course dresses, flowers, décor, food choices, marquee advice, and anything wedding-related.
18. Search and SEO
Pinterest is searchable and that means you’ll get found… if you name your ‘pins’ well.
Naming your images (pins) with the search-friendly titles is important. Avoid jargon or in-house terms and instead stick to the language your customers use instead.
The added bonus with Pinterest is that if you pin the images from your website, and then others ‘re-pin’ your pin, this creates ‘backlinks’. Backlinks are well-known to help your website get indexed and ranked better on Google.
- Get a list of the topics you know you could add value to when some is planning a wedding.
- Add that content in images on your website.
- Pin them on your wedding board.
- Use some relevant hashtags.
Put the social back into social media
Our number one tip has to be to add the social back into your social media.
Share your team news, your day, your journey, your events, your behind-the-scenes and create some timelines that your customers and future customers can watch from afar and get to know you better.
Business is built on relationships, and social media allows you build 100s of them over and over again, post after post.
Get found, connected with, and talked to. Social media is an online conversation you can’t afford to ignore.
We share lots of tips from our world of catering hire, plus the odd bit of news from us too. See you online!