Successful marketing really just boils down to one thing — reaching your target audience on the right platform. For deli owners, it’s clear that the optimal platform is social media.
There were 2.8 billion social media users in the world in 2017 — that’s 37 percent of the global population, according to Simon Kemp, global consultant at We Are Social. In the US, 85 percent of consumers are social media users, adds organizational psychologist Liva LaMontage, and of those, 58 percent follow brands through social media. So the opportunity is definitely there. It’s just a matter of implementing some proven techniques and tactics to connect with your audience.
Here are some of the most potent ways to boost your visibility through social media.
Make Visual Content Your Focus
Using images effectively in social media is essential for nearly all brands. But it’s especially important for deli owners. People eat with their eyes first, author Margaret Marshall points out — if something looks good, then it probably tastes good too.
This is important to remember because sight is the only one of the five senses you can directly target on social media. After all, people on their phones or laptops can’t smell the aroma of your deli or sample one of your products.
But if you can appeal to your audience visually by posting a picture of a delicious deli sandwich, you’ve already got your foot in the door. This is why posting visual-centric content should be your number one priority. So it only makes sense that you would want to focus on networks like Instagram and Pinterest that are geared specifically around images.
Instagram in particular can be a goldmine for deli owners because of its large and growing user base. In fact, digital reporter Anita Balakrishnan recently reported at CNBC that Instagram had 800 million users — up 100 million over a six month period.
What’s even more impressive is that well over half of those users (500 million) are active every day, and the site is a haven for foodies — something deli owners can definitely use to their advantage.
So your primary strategy should consist of posting a steady stream of high-quality, aesthetically appealing photos on social media with Instagram being your focal point.
Marketing executive Saif Alnasur, who reminds us that photos are universal in that they are not limited by language, offers some helpful food photography tips:
- Use natural lighting
- Use simple backgrounds
- Shoot for a variety of angles to find the perfect one
- Use an editing program to optimize your images
- Incorporate the human element (e.g. human hands in the image) whenever possible
Lastly, he recommends developing your own food photography style, which Rachel Korinek of Two Loves Studio suggests largely comes from experimenting with different techniques and analyzing hundreds of food photos until you find a composition that resonates with you.
Capitalize on Relevant Trends
There’s always something trending on social media. A big part of gaining visibility is to post content that targets a particular trend that’s happening at the moment.
For instance, March 3 is National Cold Cuts Day and is the perfect time to post pics of your delectable deli meats. St. Patrick’s Day would be ideal for posting corned beef-related content. Or how about a picture of a tantalizing turkey sandwich for Thanksgiving?
You get the idea.
This technique revolves around a practice called “newsjacking,” which is defined by digital marketing strategist Britt Klontz as when a brand piggybacks off of the day’s biggest news stories to bring attention to their own content. Founder of the newsjacking technique, David Meerman Scott elaborates by saying this is a powerful way to get buyers interested in your products, quickly generate new leads and grow your business.
Just make sure not to try to piggyback on a negative or sensitive news story, warns the team at social media automation site Spokal, otherwise the move could backfire and your business may be seen as tone deaf or worse, offensive.
Use Hashtags Properly
Social networks are very noisy places with countless brands and individuals vying for the attention of a finite number of users. A big part of bringing spotlight to your deli is knowing how to cut through the noise and get your content in front of your target audience.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is by using hashtags.
If you’re unfamiliar, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#) to identify a particular topic. Here are a few examples:
Adding a hashtag or two to a post makes it indexable by a social network and easily searchable and discoverable by users, Maddy Osman at Sprout Social writes. In other words, hashtags provide a framework in which users can locate content they’re looking for in a very streamlined, systematized manner. This of course can be huge for boosting your visibility and overall engagement.
If you’re wondering how much value a hashtag can offer, the team at Linchpin SEO posted an infographic showing that tweets with hashtags receive double the engagement as those without. And while hashtags may seem simple, there’s a lot that goes into it their proper use. To learn the ins and outs of the process, check out Kevan Lee’s Scientific Guide to Hashtags at Buffer.
If you’re looking for guidance on properly using hashtags specifically for Instagram, head of marketing Taylor Loren at Later has the super helpful Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags.
Influencer marketing is a technique that uses influencers to extend your brand’s message to a larger market, writes the TapInfluence team. Rather than marketing directly to your customers, you hire (or inspire) key leaders to spread the word for you.
When done correctly, it can be incredibly effective. The Collective Bias team, from Inmar, found that 60 percent of customers have taken a blog or social media post into consideration to guide their purchasing decision. Millennials in particular have a preference for this type of “peer” endorsement with 70 percent of 18-34 year olds influenced by recommendations. The logic here is that many people trust the suggestion of a respected influencer and are more likely to buy from a brand that they promote — even if it’s just a subtle tip of the hat.
Here’s an example of how your deli might leverage influencer marketing on social media.
- You find a popular, non-celebrity Instagram food blogger (someone with a sizable audience of several thousand followers or more).
- You approach them with an offer (e.g. try your best-selling sandwich).
- They try it and love it.
- In turn, they post a picture of your sandwich on their profile and give their nod of approval.
- You’re able to increase your following, boost your visibility, increase your brand equity and bring in more customers.
Even landing a single well-known influencer can have a profound impact on your social media marketing. So this is a technique that’s well worth the effort. In terms of learning the fundamentals of the process, this guide from Kissmetrics is helpful.
Alison Millington at Business Insider also offers a nice breakdown of the top 50 Instagram food bloggers (along with their follower count), which may help you find potential influencers to target.
Consider Paid Advertising
Up until now, all of the techniques we’ve mentioned have essentially been free. And they work!
The only downside is that it may take some time before you see any major results with these tactics. But what if you need to attract a larger customer base in a hurry?
In this case, you’ll definitely want to consider social media paid advertising. Nearly all platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter offer some type of paid advertising where you can seamlessly target your demographic for a reasonable cost.
They allow very detailed targeting to ensure that you’re getting the most from your money and that your ads are getting in front of highly qualified leads. For instance, Facebook and Instagram allow you to target users based on location, which you can narrow down by demographic and interests. While this may not be viable for all deli owners, it certainly makes sense for some.
To learn the basics of paid social media advertising, check out Facebook Advertising Made Simple by Neil Patel and A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram by client solutions analyst Ellen Bartolino.
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