By Zane Caplansky
When I started the deli, it was in an unusual location – someone else’s bar. I had no money, and social media was how I reached out to people to let them know what I was doing.
I started with Facebook and blogs. Yelp and other restaurant-related sites began to follow me and helped my business grow. Today, I use as much social media as possible, including Twitter and Instagram.
The key to my success, and yours, is to do the social media messaging yourself.The information I convey is always in my voice. People connect with me personally.
Such connections take time. Initially I didn’t consider the time factor involved in using social media as a marketing and promotional tool. It is significant. Before you launch into social media in a big way, make certain you have the necessary hours to devote to it. You need to update followers regularly and have something relevant to say.
When I started, social media was widely used, but it was not an expectation on the part of customers. That has changed. Today people expect their favourite eatery, on wheels or otherwise, to keep them informed about specials, events, and ideas. Customers want to know what is going on. I hear every day from customers that they have read the menu online, visited the site, read a blog. They checked us out.
What they heard was authentic. It wasn’t boilerplate, it wasn’t canned, it wasn’t rehashed. It’s about being genuine. Social media tells people who you are, and the food you make is an expression of who you are. Social media should be the same.
If you keep it real and keep it fresh, social media will resonate with your customers – and your business.
Zane Caplansky is the owner of Caplansky’s Deli and food truck Thunderin’ Thelma in Toronto.