You can spend an entire career understanding social media and integrating it into your marketing strategy. So we will cover 5 key areas for implementing Twitter that all foodpreneurs can use:
- Take the "temperature" or what is called the sentiment of the consumer
- Engage existing and potential customers
- Uncover New Food Trends
- Conduct market research and position your product
- Execute a new product launch for your food brand
How to use Twitter for Your Food Business
News goes viral here which super charges anything you post regarding your brand. Links are easily distributed here that can take your followers back to your web pages, press releases, blogs and other promotional sites. Insure that you add a personal touch and not seem self-serving or self-promotional which will quickly turn folks off.
You will get instant feedback from customers-not all of it will be good, but you can learn from it and make improvements. Use the search tools which will allow you to keep track of what's being said around the Twittersphere and the use of hashtags is a targeted way to hear what people are saying.
Search the Blogosphere for Customer Sentiment Analysis
Many people think Twitter is just a site for celebrities or famous cats like Purrfect The Cat ( @PurrfectTheCat), but did you know that it can be a very handy secondary marketing research tool? Sentiment analysis used to be for the large brands and now social media allows small brand to take the temperature of the consumer. Surveys are just too rigid… sentiment analysis is "soft" but powerful. Just think of a meeting you may attend. You can gauge the sentiment of the subjects discussed by looking and body language and the subtleties of what people are saying or how they reply to questions.
How to use Hashtags for Market Research
These are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets ( DC I use #foodpreneur as an example to help people find what I write about food entrepreneurs) … just put a hash symbol (#) in front of a word. Hashtags were developed as a means to create groupings without having to change the basic service: it makes it trackable so that someone searching for a certain topic can search for that tag and read all that it references. I recommend hashtags.org provides real-time tracking, @hashtags, TweetChat and TweetGrid for real time information.
Product and Brand research
Another way to search is to go to search.twitter.com to find relevant conversations and follow the conversations for valuable insight as to what your customers are thinking. For example, search on flavors if you're interested in finding out what people are saying about your latest flavor of ice cream or #flavors to see what the general population wants in various product categories. If you're not satisfied with the results, got the Advanced Search option to refine what you want to listen to.
A new tool for New Product Launches for Foodpreneurs
Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool for creating buzz and an ideal way to get customers' attention for a new product. New products used to rely on what is called the First Moment of Truth, seeing the product for the first time in the supermarket. No longer! The Zero Moment of Truth is on the Internet and is the primary influencer for consumers.
An ice cream brand might launch with the hashtag #mochalattemadness or #productlaunch and then track conversations about it by searching for that hashtag. Look at the how Doritos Jacked launched at South by Southwest using Twitter as a primary resource and using the #sxsw tag. You must build social relations well before your product launch and talk about initiatives related to your brand… for example do you have any cause related marketing associated with your brand? People want to be engaged vs. feeling like they are a target of a sales promotion!
Influencers are your Brand Evangelists
Brand Evangelists create powerful Word of mouth has always been a cherished aspect of the marketing mix, and today it's rapidly evolving into social word of mouth. For every product or subject there are influencers, your biggest potential customers, whose tweets about your brand can make a big difference. Follow some of the well known mommy bloggers to get a feel for the power of influencers.
Focus on engaging those influencers with incentives to review your product with samples or special discounts targeted for their followers. If you really want to get creative, you can invite these people to judge a contest or participate in a special event at your location. You could even host a "tweetup" where people who know one another from Twitter come together to meet in person.
For a great example, you might want to read 7 Steps using Twitter for a Supermarket Food Demo .