Social media matters. Love it or hate it, in today’s world social media is one of your essential marketing tools. And over the last two years, the value of keeping up your online presence was made even clearer when it became, for many, the only way to stay in touch with your customers.
Figures from 2021 show that there are roughly 3.78 billion social media users – and that’s expected to rise by another 4.8% by the end of 2022. According to Sprout Social’s latest report, Facebook remains the largest social platform, with 2.7 billion users, and Instagram is not far behind. However, LinkedIn holds a good market share as well, with 738 million users.
Of course, many of us have accounts on more than one platform, so as with all marketing, you should adapt your messaging to the right market. While Facebook caters to a wide age range, LinkedIn is more popular with a higher-earning demographic who is generally older, and primarily B2B.
So, when you’re planning on promoting your catering company on social media, it’s important to know where your attention should be focused. If you want to connect with the event planners and venue owners, then the younger audience of TikTok (largest age group 18-24) probably isn’t the place for you, no matter how fun their latest dance challenge looks.
With that in mind, let’s look at ways you can use the key platforms to your advantage.
Once upon a time LinkedIn had the reputation of being a CV site for job hunters, but we don’t think that’s been true for a while. For the last few years it’s very much been seen as the place for business people to network. And, according to LinkedIn, they are the top network for lead generation.
The key to remember with LinkedIn is that you are generally connecting directly with an individual. Although you can have a business page on the site, they are not as effective as your own profile. And that makes sense, when you consider that the point of social media is to be social. We want to make real, person to person, connections.
With that in mind, when you create content on LinkedIn make it relevant to your business, but with a more casual tone. Share delicious pictures of food you’ve served at events, give food and beverage tips, share recipes, or take ‘on location’ action shots while you’re catering for that award ceremony.
At its heart, LinkedIn is about building business connections, so identify the decision-makers in the companies you want to connect with and reach out to them. Unlike Facebook, we expect to receive requests from people we don’t know on LinkedIn – just remember to also send a note introducing yourself and why you want to connect, but without throwing in a sales pitch. No one likes to make a connection and immediately get inundated with a hard sell.
Facebook is still the largest social media site, and despite claims that the younger generation are all over at TikTok, you’ll find plenty of them also pop into their Facebook account as well (although perhaps not as often).
Due to its huge share in the social media market, it makes sense that this is a good place to advertise your business. But Facebook was always intended for more social chatter than business blather, and private individuals are not keen on having their timeline filled with business talk.
So, it’s important here to make sure you do bring in the social side of social media. Engagement with your audience is key, and there are a few ways you can do that. Content is key – use videos, enticing photographs, and Facebook lives.
Most businesses will have a page set up. In fact, you really should have, as it’s against Facebook rules to use your personal profile solely for business.
However, your business page will, by default, have a smaller reach due to Facebook’s complicated algorithms, which only show your posts to a percentage of your followers. Your personal profile, however, will reach all your ‘friend’ connections. If you use it for business, you need to balance it out with personal posts – remembering to keep the truly personal things to yourself.
On Facebook you can showcase your expertise by sharing pictures of your catering events and highlight the people in your business as they network or attend events. Customers are always interested in seeing behind the scenes, so Facebook is the place to introduce your team on a Facebook live video and share some of your top tips – ‘how to sharpen your knives’ or ‘how to lay a table for silver service’, perhaps. Think about what information you know that you can share with people so you become a trusted source of ideas and support.
The other place where Facebook excels is in the groups. You’ll find groups where your fellow business owners are sharing advice with each other, and groups where your customers are mingling. Remember, the idea is to be social – don’t just sell; talk. Share tips, offer solutions to questions, and at the same time you’ll be noticed as helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Branching out on social
There are a lot of social media platforms. Twitter is still going strong as the ideal place to find up to date news and get in touch with a business directly. Instagram is expanding rapidly, with the introduction of their shop pages. TikTok, as we mentioned, and Snapchat, are the places where the younger generation hang out. Identify where your audience is, and prioritise your marketing there.
But remember – the key is in the word social. Engagement counts – and that’s not just asking people to engage with your posts. Find your ideal client and respond to the marketing and posts they are creating. You never know who you might create a connection with.