Social Media is the best marketing tool for your food or beverage business because you have full control and it’s FREE!
When I first started my ice cream shop, 720 Sweets, we would pay social media agencies hundreds and thousands of dollars to come shoot pictures of our products…
But is it really worthwhile? Is the content really driving enough customers through our doors to pay the price?
After months of wasting money on these services, we decided to bring everything in-house and trained one of our staff members to shoot social media content for us…
And it has worked wonders!
So today I’ll be giving you all the tricks, templates, and systems to create an entire month’s worth of content for your restaurant in just a day!
Hopefully you use these tips to increase your online engagement and save thousands on marketing.
Let’s dive right in…
There are basically four parts to Social Media Marketing: Planning, Shooting, Distributing, and Engaging.
Part 1: Planning Your Social Media Shoot
If you want to shoot all your content in one day, the number one thing you need to do is to plan.
You should understand the reason you’re creating the content. Are you shooting to introduce a new product or are you shooting for a new campaign? The reason determines the type of content you’re going to create.
On the day of your shoot everything moves quickly, and you won’t have time to make big changes!
Planning out your shoot will make sure that you stay organized and will save you a ton of time and trouble knowing exactly what needs to be done.
If possible, shoot multiple campaigns together to save even more time.
Create A Shot List
Once you understand the goal of why you’re shooting, it’s very important to have a shot list. This is a list of all the specific photos and angles you want to take during the shoot.
If you’re looking for 20 posts for a month, then you need to plan 20 different shots.
I know that some people will say that they don’t need a shot list because they have a great memory. But come the day of the shoot, it will be a mad scramble with food coming out and your photographer having only a small window of time to help you. Your shot list will keep you from getting flustered and make sure you create the results you need.
Pro Tip: Use resources like Pinterest to find inspiration and get ideas on how to pose your dish or angles you may not have thought of capturing before.
Props Make Your Photos Pop
It might seem cheesy at first, but props can really elevate the look of your ingredients and menu items.
This is something that a lot of times is overlooked and forgotten about.
Make sure to have your props ready, and planned per shot, because you don’t want to be missing things on the day of the shoot. These kinds of mistakes cost time, energy, and money!
Have Your Equipment Ready
After you’ve figured out any props you want to use, it’s very important that you have all your equipment ready.
We’ve actually had to reschedule shoots because we didn’t have empty memory cards! We had hired actors, closed the shop, and everything.
Your camera is super important. But it’s not just the camera… you need things like tripods, memory cards, batteries. Everything needs to be charged. There are so many variables involved, and you don’t want to miss anything!
At the end of the day, if you don’t have professional equipment, it’s okay. You can actually use your iPhone to shoot and get good results.
Part 2: Shooting
If you’ve properly planned out everything in advance, you will be able to work through your shot list efficiently and get great results.
Having a shot list is super important, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative. Some of our best shots, with the most comments and engagement are the ones that we came up with on the spot.
Use your surroundings. Use lifestyle shots, hero shots, shots that really tell your story, shots of people enjoying your products.
Because once again, your shot list is only for reference, to ensure that you have all the shots you need for the month. After you make sure you have those shots, you can go above and beyond with creativity!
Lighting & Composition
One thing to look out for as lighting and composition.
I can not stress how important it is to understand the basics of lighting. Natural lighting is always the best. The composition of your pictures is very important as well.
There are tons of great, free resources you can find online about food photography, lighting, and composition.
So take the extra time so your pictures look professional! It really makes a difference and ensures that all your effort is worthwhile.
A lot of the times the natural state of the food doesn’t look as good as we’d like. You can actually add in extra ingredients to make it appear more delicious, even if it wouldn’t taste the best.
Things like melted cheese, extra chocolate sauce, or even special effects like smoke can make the images much more interesting and appealing to diners.
You’re telling a story through your pictures, and the better it looks, the more people will want to try it.
Part 3: Distribution
The post production of your picture is so important. It is a night and day difference.
Post production is all about editing your photos, which can seem intimidating.
Option one is to ask your staff. Chances are that someone on your team has experience with Photoshop or other software and would be more than happy to edit the photos on the clock!
If not, you can use a service like fiverr.com, where you can pay $5.00 for people to edit the picture for you! You can also find tons of free phone apps or use Instagram’s built in editing feature if you’re low on resources.
Time to Execute
Your shoot is done, your pictures are edited, now it’s time to post!
I really recommend blocking out a day to plan for your whole month of distribution because it’s so easy to forget to post. Day-to-day operations take over and you don’t want to sit on your phone for 30 minutes every day to make a caption.
A great software that we use is later.com, which allows you to schedule posts in advance! It’s free to sign up for an account, and you can even actually preview the final result of your profile.
As you can see, it allows you to plan everything on a big board instead of your small phone screen. It’s super effective when it comes to distributing your month of content.
It doesn’t matter which software you use, the important part is that you have your pictures captioned and scheduled for your month in advance.
The final, most important step that’s frequently overlooked is engaging with your audience.
Part 4: Engagement
You’ve posted and hashtagged and a lot of people are liking and commenting on your posts… but that doesn’t mean your job is done!
Build Your Community
You need to engage with your customers. That’s how you’re going to build your loyal fanbase.
You have to remember why you’re even doing social media marketing, because it’s only one element. It’s a strategy for branding, to build your community.
Lots of business owners just take pictures and thrown them online, without ever really thinking about creating a community and engaging with them. That’s the reason why they’re slipping!
The first step is to align with your customers.
Understand why they follow you. Reply to comments, answer direct messages. Make sure all your engagements are consistent with your brand tone and identity!
It’s a Conversation
Engaging is basically just having a conversation. You can be funny, you can be professional. It doesn’t matter what your angle is, just be unique to you. You don’t always have to be politically correct, include your character!
Answer questions like a human! Don’t pretend to be a big corporation. If you take note, even big brands follow those principles.
That’s what keeps people coming through the doors. It’s the key to successfully using social media as a platform to grow your community.
That’s how we planned and created a month’s worth of social media content in a day! It has saved us thousands of dollars and I hope all these resources will save you that much as well.
If you want more tips and tricks of how to build a business and market more efficiently, you can find more great marketing articles [here].