Social media is more than a platform for sharing cat breading instructions and photos. It’s also a resource natural foods and products entrepreneurs can and should use to build a community and meet their potential customers where they are. But, if you’re new to using social media for your business, getting started can seem daunting and knowing which best practices to follow can seem like a moving target. We spoke with a few entrepreneurs in the natural foods and products space and asked them how they have used social media to grow their businesses. Here is what they had to say on:
Managing posts and engagement with social media will take some time so how do you make sure you’re focusing your efforts where they will be most effective? Lindsay Binnie, creator of Binnie Butter suggests, “become highly present on two or three platforms. Try to resist feeling like you need to use them all because you will end up spending a lot of time online but only marginally engaged.” Food products lend themselves to visuals so start with social platforms that do photos and videos best. Pinterest and Instagram are great places share enticing images. Buffer wrote a great article outlining their Pinterest strategy and here is a comprehensive guide of Instagram tips from Social Sprout.
Building Your Brand
One of the greatest assets of social media is the ability to generate brand awareness. Start by inviting your personal social circles to “like” and follow your company accounts. Then, Binnie Butter suggests, “reach out to influencers in your industry, add their profiles, start engaging with them, and entice them to share your product with their network.” Not sure where to start? Here is a list Nature’s Garden put together of the Top 24 Natural Food Blogs. While a working for a mention from a blogger may seem like a small victory compared with the myriad of other daily challenges, backlinks from other sites and blogs will greatly contribute to your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) and help build your brand. For further reading on backlinking, check out this article written by the online marketing guru’s at MOZ.
Ultimately, you want to attract customers and sell your product. We spoke with John McHugh, cofounder and CEO of Naked Edge Snacks, creators of Veggie-Go’s, who shared some of his tips for finding brand ambassadors. He said, “we created a campaign on Facebook in partnership with another more socially connected company and promised to send a free sample to anyone who liked or shared our posts.” Campaigns like this can 1) grow followers and reach on your social accounts and 2) allow people the opportunity to try and fall in love with your product so they will become longer-term customers and ambassadors for your brand.
Connecting with Your Community
Social media is also a place where your customers and fans can keep in touch with brands they love. Jodi Feinhor-Dennis, CEO of Oh Yes You Candy and maker of Missy J’s snacks and treats says, “Using Facebook for my business allows me to have a personal connection with my customers in a unique way. I use it to share updates and promote new products, but more than that it gives my customers the opportunity to engage with what we are doing.” People like to talk about the products that they enjoy. Being present on social media will be yet another way in which you can delight your customers. Provide regular updates to your fans about what you’re up to so they have the opportunity to connect. Let them know when you’ll be going to events and doing demonstrations in local stores. The folks at Binnie Butter created the hashtag #howibinniebutter so people can send in photos sharing their recipes. Make it easy for your fans and supporters to engage with you and your brand.
There you have it! Just a few ways foodie entrepreneurs can begin to reap the benefits of social media. Looking for some additional advice for your business? Check out our post: The Best Business Advice You’ve Ever Received and hear from a few small business owners who’ve been there.