I was reading a very interesting article the other day by Catriona Oldenshaw that stated only 60% out of 85 retail food outlets use social media. Of those, 94% link to Facebook from their home page, a figure that has remained steady over the last twelve months. Facebook usage is maturing, compared to the 90% that added Twitter to their websites, up from 76% that did so the previous year. So with Facebook the main social focus for retail food brands in the UK, how can they connect a Facebook ‘Like’ to the food counter? And are food brands making the most of social media?
There are some very interesting statistics in the article, and as Catriona mentions, brands should integrate their social media plug ins on their websites because if you search for a cafe or restaurant on Facebook, you won’t necessarily find it directly. I also fully support having Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels integrated on your website. The reason is quite simple: if a user is on your site, you ideally want to keep them there as long as possible, and having integrated plug ins on your website can actually help you a lot with this. Allow me to clarify:
All social media widgets can help your business. For Twitter widgets, simply go here.
The other crucial elements are custom Facebook applications. You should include stunning, custom applications on your Facebook fan page so that it looks professional and appealing to new and current users, which will get them coming back to time and time again.
I will not mention the design of your fan page apps and timeline because as you are all aware by now, these are vital!
Now here’s the bit I love asking brands: “why should I like your fan page?”. Because we are PizzaExpress / Cafe Rouge / quite well known – this is the type of answer I often get – like us because we are x, y or z brand and we rock! Therefore, if I ‘like’ 60 fan pages throughout the day, I get to see plenty of special offers and promotions but I don’t get to connect with my friends (even though the reason people join and use Facebook is to interact with friends and to share experiences).
What I suggest businesses do is give us (users) a real reason to like your fan page and follow you on Twitter (or any other channel). For example, Special K had Like Us On Facebook To Stay Healthy on their cereal boxes, which I found to be a clear and rather creative slogan, and which motivated me to ‘like’ them. The tips and advice I now receive from them on my newsfeed confirm that I’m getting value from liking that fan page.
You should not see social media as a channel for advertising purposes only. You should see it as a new way to communicate and engage with your audience. That’s the key to success online.
Another interesting bit of data I found a couple of days ago was that small businesses are not seeing any Return On Investment from their online activities. May I suggest that if your online activities do not have the WOW factor, then it’s common sense you will not see any ROI. Would you buy from a retailer/visit a restaurant that has a crappy website and outdated social media sites? I don’t think so. Even if you are of the opinion that you are happily in business and you’re doing quite alright thank you very much and don’t see what the big deal is, then let me reiterate what you already know: my generation – and the younger ones to follow – are the WEB generations. We research anything and everything online before making final purchase decisions, so you really should concentrate on your online activity if you want your business to be operating well into the next decade.
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