Trending Now: CateringTrigger Their Craving in Social Media
A Feast for the Eyes
It’s long been lost who first put into words what we all know: food that looks appealing to the eye always seems to taste better than the same food sloppily arranged. For caterers, this is an especially critical tenet to ensuring success—and table stakes for successful marketing.
True, taste and service (and, if we’re being honest, cost) are determining factors for selecting a caterer, without question. But before prospective customers get to a point where they are willing to evaluate you as a potential caterer, you’ll have to whet their appetite with a taste of what you bring to the table.
Whet their Appetite on Social
Social media is the perfect medium for serving such an amuse bouche. Social channels work best as visual media, with the photos and images taking a top seat among the most engaging types of content. On Facebook alone, posts accompanied by an image secure 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Another stat suggests an even more dramatic difference in interaction: an image posted on social media is ten times more likely to be liked or shared than a text-based one.
Dress it Up for the Close-Up
While social media is dominated by personal pics snapped on smartphones, be careful not to underestimate the power of polished, professional food photography. Sure, you can use your smartphone to capture lovely images of your food, but you don’t want to come across as overly amateurish—frankly, it’s not very appealing and can work to undermine the quality perception of your food. Think about the puffery licenses food marketers take with TV commercials and glossy printed ads: burgers stacked 6” high, perfectly coiffed milkshakes, evenly golden French fries. We all know what those meals really look like when they are served, but we allow ourselves to be pulled into the taste fantasy and give in to the craveability factor.
Before you get started in social—or shortly thereafter—invest in quality photography of your core menu items and specialty dishes. It may seem like a steep cost to take on, especially if you hire a specialized food photographer, but it will pay dividends in the end and will have a variety of applications: you can use high-quality imagery not only in social media but also across your digital presence on your website, in menus, on marketing materials, and at trade events and expos. You may not be able to photograph everything, so make a prioritized list based on your top sellers, your key differentiators, and your most beautiful items.
Capture its Natural Habitat
Ok—yes, you’ll want to have a library of pretty pictures to showcase. But you’ll need to round-out that collection with more cost-effective images to ensure you have enough content to populate all of your channels. After all, social media is a visual medium. What’s more, social media is also a personal medium, and a little bit of authenticity will go a long way—so don’t be afraid to show your food and service in its natural environment. Check out some tips and tricks for capturing images best, with an eye for proper lighting and a little bit of composition or staging. Request permission from the bride and groom or parents or party hosts to capture images of your food when you solidify your contract details. You may even consider buying a few images from the professional photographer they hire, if available.
Make it a Social Experience
Don’t forget that these aren’t just marketing channels—they’re social networks. Make these networks work for you by encouraging event and party goers to tag your food in photos. This will add to your image library while showcasing how happy and satisfied your customers are. You can even take a more proactive step by holding a photo contest where the best food photo wins a percentage off the bill or a discount on a future event.
Once you’ve assembled a collection of images, you’re ready to start programming them into social channels. Facebook is a mandatory, as is Pinterest, for caterers. Other channels, such as Instagram and Twitter may make sense, depending on your areas of interest, your offerings, and your target audience. Less popular social channels for food marketing, including LinkedIn and SnapChat, should not be disregarded simply because they’re not commonly used. The best way to approach social media networks is to take a look at who your target audience is and where you can best connect with them.
We Can Help!
Social media is always changing—from new features and refined algorithms to shifting audience profiles and trends. We can help you take your visual assets and put them into the right places to make a connection with the right audiences at the right time. Contact us or call 607.798.1325 for your free custom consultation today
Source: eMarketer 2017; Adobe Digital Index Social Intelligence Report