By Kay Marham
Entrepreneur Chaymae Samir shares social media strategies for F&B ventures with Arabian Business StartUp magazine.
According to GoGulf research, 88% of the GCC population is online, with 94% of these using Facebook. According to F&B entrepreneur Samir, an effective way to increase customer engagement is therefore to share pictures of your food and even insider videos of the work behind the scenes.
Set a budget aside for Facebook marketing, as their geolocalisation and targeting tools work really well to attract target customers to your social media page and then to your food truck, coffee-shop or restaurant. Providing discounts and offers to social media followers on special occasions (International Women's Day, for example) is a great way to attract customers, both old and new.
Share stories via social media
It is often said that the shortest distance between two people is a story. Samir explains: “what worked for us was to tell our story via social media. F&B businesses can share pictures of their journey to opening the business, including the renovation work and the before and after pictures. Introducing staff members and sharing details about them is also a great way of engaging customers, as is including trivia.”
Great digital customer service
Customer service is important in the F&B industry and today this extends to the digital realm. You have to be responsive to both existing and potential customers when they message you via your page or engage with you in the comments. It also means that you have to take responsibility for bad reviews and respond accordingly, advises Samir.
Include your customers
She goes on to say that the more ownership customers feel they have with an F&B business, the more they will engage, citing the example that her coffee shop recently asked their followers what items they wanted to be included in the summer menu, with the feedback reported to them and taken on board by the business.
You can gain huge exposure by partnering with other businesses to leverage your F&B outlet’s own social media following and sharing your content with their audience. This provides you with an endorsement by a business that has already grown a loyal customer base, thereby generating you more visibility and potential customers within the community.
For example, gyms are very popular and usually have a social media page with a followers. An F&B business can come up with a special offer to the local gym members that can be shared using their platform.