FFD January-February 21

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business improvement

2. IMPROVE SOCIAL MEDIA OUTPUT your posts and using its auto-schedule will work with the algorithms of your VHARI RUSSEL, account to get the best results. MD, THE FOOD Mix up the use of images and MARKETING EXPERTS graphics giving your customers clear calls to actions and reasons to believe thefoodmarketing and reasons to shop with you. experts.co.uk You can also increase the number of stories you add on Facebook and Instagram to get seen more and show To keep things simple, here are three your customers behind things you can fit into a the scenes of your hectic schedule to make businesses. your social media output Collaborate with Look at more effective in 2021. like-minded brands collaborations with likeConsistency is key minded brands to drive post on the same days at to drive awareness awareness, increase your the same time. Use your and increase your following, build brand ‘insights’ to see when is following awareness to a new best to post. audience, and encourage You can use tools user-generated content. such as Later to schedule for three months to create social media content, recipes and more. Things change so quickly, especially with COVID and Brexit looming large that I’m steering away from strategy – we’re thefoodforager.co.uk making tactical adjustments all the time. thymeandtidesdeli. When we’re working with people co.uk like Gill and Val, and with some of the savvier producers we stock, we try to get them to get behind what we’re doing, and we can harness their We don’t really approach social media followers as well. with much of a strategy. I’m quite We wanted to have a against giving these good bank of high-quality things too much strategic images to use across our thought at the beginning, platforms, so we had a because it’s hard to know We’re making tactical adjustments photographer come in to what people are going take some shots for us – all the time to respond to, and you we’ve got about 400 or can end up wasting your so that have real impact time trying to take things that we can use slowly in one particular direction throughout the year. As well as that we when it wants to go in another. make use of the professional shots that Working with Gill [Meller] and Val producers provide us with, which works [Valentine Warner] is about as strategic well. as we get. We’ve got them on board IAIN HEMMING, FOUNDER, THYME & TIDES, THE FOOD FORAGER

publishing them. This doesn’t support brand building, customer following or loyalty. Instead of just selling or promoting, ask yourself would anyone be interested in this? What makes a connection with our customers and taps basuconsulting.co.uk into something they really care about? Once you’ve identified these, remember it’s not all about posting. The one thing producers and retailers In fact, it’s less about posting than it is can do differently with social media this year is to engage – the keyword in social about networking. Reply to comments media is social. rather than click and walk It works best when it’s a away, visit other feeds two-way conversation or It’s less about posting and leave comments, and dialogue. than it is about share on-brand images It’s important to and insights across your be interesting and networking platforms. interested. Too many This will help you businesses use it in the grow a following that is same way as they would about quality, not quantity. websites – crafting sales messages and MALLIKA BASU, FOOD COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT AND CO-FOUNDER OF SIZL SPICES

FIVE WAYS TO BUILD YOUR BRAND AJ Sharp, communications consultant and managing director of Sharp Relations, extols the virtues of building your brand without resorting to expensive online advertising sharpenyourbrand.co.uk A brand is an instantly recognisable label for your shop or product range. But how do you build a brand? Not through Facebook or Google Ads, that’s certain. When pay-per-click is the same value as the margin on your product, you’re really just spinning in circles. It is imperative that your communications strategy links back to the objectives of the business. Only with a great actionable plan can you engender loyalty, encourage repeat sales and build a brand which can withstand any storm.

BE STRATEGIC The beginning of the year is the perfect time to review and tweak your business objectives, which will guide your communications activities, but you can do this at any point in the year. Whether you want to reach a new customer demographic, repoint your trade product for consumers, or launch something new, all your communications should work cooperatively.

SOCIAL MEDIA Choose wisely. Great content on one or two platforms is far more influential than poor content spread across every platform. Do make sure you reply to comments, though. It’s all about being social.

PRESS COVERAGE Give interviews, share new product launches, offer opinions, write guest articles and enter awards. Press coverage gives gravitas and credibility like no other form of marketing.

BUILD YOUR BRAND FAMILY Know who your customers are and how to reach them. Use well-timed newsletters, appropriate content and digital tribes to reach out and share relevant news and offers.

GET BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY You should be having new professional shots re-taken regularly, at least twice a year, if not more frequently. Every single section of marketing requires decent high-res photography. Retailers, particularly those with a food offering need new shots every time the menu is tweaked. Vol.22 Issue 1 | January-February 2021