Top Ten Social Media Tips for Food and Drink Producers and Purveyors

At The Foodie Bugle we have been using Twitter and Facebook for the last two years to showcase our website, contributors, lectures, print editions and forthcoming shop. We are constantly meeting new producers, farmers, growers, restaurants and retailers who are not using social media to help promote their business because they either do not understand how they work or are afraid of taking the giant leap into this huge community.

It is estimated that 1 billion people on Facebook and 200 million people on Twitter engage in communicating with their “tribes” every day. If you are a small business trying to launch a new brand or start-up a new company, it is clear that you need to include social media as part of your marketing mix.

There is so much advice freely available on the Internet that highlights how you should and should not interact in this sometimes challenging new world.

Here are ten things that our contributors and interviewees have shared with us and that we have learned and collated over the last 24 months. We hope they help you.

The one third rule

The one third rule may be an old cliché, but it creates balance and goodwill. For one third of your Tweets share other people’s work and ideas. For one third of your Tweets report interesting facts and articles about your industry or sector. For one third of your Tweets tell people what you are doing in your business, how you do it and where you sell it.

Engage with real people

Engage, interact and communicate with real people. So many Facebook and Twitter accounts are run by corporate pen-pushers, not by the founders or owners of the company. This is because the founders or owners of the company either sold out or are too busy to talk to the people who made them rich. The commentary on the company’s social media is now a one-way street monologue, created by a faceless PR department.

The kind souls

Engage with the right tribes. They may not be necessarily the most {seemingly} popular, influential, wealthy, connected or powerful people. Yet they could well be the most educated, intelligent, kind, professional and sincere people. The former are interested in themselves. The latter are interested in others. Who would you rather converse with?

Sharing excellence

Be the centre of excellence for your industry-craft-product-profession. Learn all there is to learn and then share it – share all the books, magazines, articles, contacts and events you have learned about. Good people draw good people. Share and prosper.

The eyes have it

Show and tell. Social media is a very visual medium – take light, bright photographs in natural daylight of your product-world-people-interests-skills and show the world. Just one photograph a day, every day could create 365 opportunities for you to sell your product, expand your community and create meaningful dialogue with potential customers, employees and supporters every year.

Be useful

Quality, interest and significance are three really important benchmarks. Are the news and views you are sharing likely to meet any of those three criteria for your followers-clients-community? There is wall-to-wall chitter-chatter and gossip out in cyberspace – decrease the noise, increase relevance and usefulness.

No short cuts

On Twitter you have 140 characters at your disposal. Use them. On Facebook you can write quite a bit. Take advantage of that. Do not write in shorthand or truncated sentences, as if you were texting. No intelligent follower wants to read, retweet or share bad grammar, spelling or syntax.

Haste and anger do not sell

Your brand goes out to the world with every click of the mouse. Stop. Think. Do you really want to send your brand name out with a missive that is hastily rude, offensive, inappropriate or badly written?

Be responsive

Follow up. Obviously time wasters, spammers and opportunists abound. But if genuinely interested customers request something of you, need information or want to make contact, follow this up. Aloofness and silence create disappointment and frustration and, ultimately, they negatively impact your reputation and sales.

The bad apples

The downside to sharing and showing all on social media is that, maybe, some competitors will come and steal your ideas and contacts and exploit your good intentions. This is inevitable. For every one bad apple in the crate there will be dozens of good apples, however. What goes around comes around, and copy-cats will find themselves left behind in the long term. And the longer run is the only one that matters.

Have you got good advice for social media newbies? Please share with us on Twitter @TheFoodieBugle or on Facebook at The-Foodie-Bugle

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