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6 social media strategies every business needs

Leveraging the power of social media brings multiple benefits that contribute to a business’s growth. Here are some of the most notable advantages, plus handy tips on making it work for your biz

Photos by rawpixel (lead) and Kit and Tala Singson

Eye-catching, mouth-watering, craving-inducing—but first of all, thumb-stopping. If you follow food industry-related accounts on social media, chances are, you’ve seen these photos on your feed. And for good reason. With customers becoming digital natives and their behavior becoming digital-first, savvy business owners are going online to communicate, convince, and convert potential patrons. 

“Social media has evolved from a space for personal interaction into an essential marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and across industries,” says Christian Emmanuel Tadle, account manager at an independent digital agency. “You need it to stay relevant, standout, and compete in the market,” he adds, which is particularly helpful in a scene as saturated as the food industry.

“Social content is the current version of word of mouth,” agrees Tala Singson, who together with twin sister Kit, produces photos and videos for the Heny Sison Culinary School. “Posts can bring exponential results to a brand so it can’t be treated as an after-thought.” 

THE EDGE: INCREASES BRAND AWARENESS

“Social media helps you tell the story of your business to both a new and targeted audience in a space where they’re always present,” says Singson. And being on various platforms to communicate a consistent message not only builds your brand identity and credibility, but also makes you more discoverable by a community that, as a Facebook report puts it, “is already in discovery mode.”

For the Heny Sison Culinary School, growing awareness for the brand meant producing better posts on their Instagram account. “Based on demographics alone, we knew that a lot of potential students are on Instagram, but the challenge was to attract them,” shares Singson. To address this, the social media team started standardizing the school’s feed with editorial-style photos and populating the IG TV, Stories, and Highlights sections with videos that are both aspirational and informative. “Instagram is a visually-driven, lifestyle-centric platform used by followers to get inspiration. Dapat maganda ’yung posts mo doon,” she recommends. The result of their IG efforts? Follower growth from 700 to 8,600 in a span of five months, with some followers becoming enrollees.

THE PRO TIP: BE PRESENT IN THE RELEVANT PLATFORMS


Every social media platform has its own audience, and each audience has their own expectations on what to see on their preferred space. As general guidelines, video and curated content work best on Facebook; high-res photos, quotes, and stories are for Instagram; news, blog posts, and GIFs are optimized on Twitter.

THE EDGE: MAKES YOU THE PREFERRED BRAND

“When you know your market well—their personality, lifestyle, interests, and habits—you can create content that will entice them to like, share, or comment on your posts,” shares Tadle. “An engaged following will be happy to see your fresh content in their feeds, making you top of mind and their first choice when they’re ready to make a purchase,” he adds.

THE PRO TIP: POST REGULARLY

“A consistent posting schedule is one of the keys to successfully growing your social media presence,” says Tadle. Go for quality over quantity. It’s simple: Posting irrelevant content leads to losing followers. “You need people to go to your page, and a sure way to do this is having content that’s worthwhile for them,” Tadle explains.

 

THE EDGE: BUILDS AN ENGAGED COMMUNITY

It’s not just about pushing your products or services anymore; it’s about creating genuine connections between brand and fans. This is where humanizing your brand comes in.

“As a startup, it was our goal to expand our client base, but we also wanted customers to know that there is more to the box of empanadas they order,” says Trina T. Cancio, the entrepreneur behind Mama Empanada. With the advice of her friends-turned-social-media-team, she decided that every post on Instagram will communicate “the heart of our story—that ours is a recipe passed down through three generations of moms, that we continue to make our empanadas with the same passion that started in my grandmother’s kitchen 39 years ago, and that our brand is all about the warmth and love of family.” The strategy worked, with comments from both loyal customers and new fans mentioning that they’re drawn to Mama Empanada because of the nostalgic, homey its products evoke.

THE PRO TIP: COMMUNICATE PROACTIVELY

Social media allows both biz and fans to interact directly, unlike traditional media which offers only one-way communication. Leverage this by replying to comments made to your posts, talking to fans who send direct messages, or even reposting content from followers. More incentive to engage with your customers: Facebook Business reports that people are more likely to buy from businesses they feel connected to.

“One system I’ve seen work is for a business to start with a freelance content creator on a per project basis, particularly if their social media needs aren’t as demanding yet. Then when the business becomes more sustained with income, that’s when they move on to hiring someone on retainer. Eventually, when the brand becomes bigger and grows their manpower, they also hire a full-time social media team,” explains Singson.


THE EDGE: GIVES BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

“The reality is, customers want to be heard and they seek out brands on social media when they demand customer service,” says Tadle. Not meeting their expectations can hurt your bottom line, as a study published in the Harvard Business Review has found.

On the other hand, when questions and complaints are handled in a positive, timely, and knowledgeable way, “clients feel valued, while the business is able to show its dedication to customer satisfaction,” he adds.

THE PRO TIP: PRIORITIZE COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT

“Having a dedicated community manager is a necessity. He is your frontliner in talking to clients and handling complaints,” says Tadle. “I suggest having FAQs ready to make it easier and faster to answer common concerns,” he adds. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to be online 24/7. Simply include your service hours and availability on your bio across all social media accounts so followers know when they can reach you.

THE EDGE: DELIVERS MEASURABLE RESULTS

“Accurately tracking how many people enrolled in a class after seeing an ad in the newspaper is quite a challenge,” admits Singson as she talks about their practice of supporting digital marketing efforts with traditional methods. 

“With social media, however, you have the advantage of available analytics that measure how many people were reached by your posts. A substantial and progressive increase in reach and engagement give us more confidence that we are on-track to meeting marketing goals,” explains Bu Castro, marketing head of the Heny Sison Culinary School.

In terms of actual numbers for the business, Singson says one gauge of success for their social media posts is the drop in the number of classes that close due to the lack of enrollees. “Lately, we’ve seen that number go down to one or none at all per month,” she shares.

THE PRO TIP: SET SUCCESS INDICATORS

For startups or those new to digital marketing, these metrics can be as simple as an increase in the number of followers or comments and inquiries on posts within a specific time frame. As your online presence grows, you can eventually decide to assess its impact on sales. Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are just two of the commonly-used tools to track conversions and return of investment for both organic and paid social media campaigns.

“The reality is, customers want to be heard and they seek out brands on social media when they demand customer service,” says Tadle.

THE EDGE: IT REMAINS COST-EFFICIENT AND ACCESSIBLE

Businesses, no matter the size, are always looking for low-cost marketing tools—and social media fits the bill. “Since Mama Empanada started as a home-based business with limited budget and experience in marketing, we banked on the free exposure we got on Instagram,” says Cancio. “In the beginning, it was just me posting. A year into it, we started investing more—first, in a team on retainer to strategize and create the posts; next on budget for boosting content and sponsored posts,” she concludes.

THE PRO TIP: BUILD YOUR DREAM TEAM

When starting out, it’s wise to do social on your own, but be ready with a plan on how to expand both your efforts and team—a growth that can happen as your startup grows too.

“One system I’ve seen work is for a business to start with a freelance content creator on a per project basis, particularly if their social media needs aren’t as demanding yet. Then when the business becomes more sustained with income, that’s when they move on to hiring someone on retainer. Eventually, when the brand becomes bigger and grows their manpower, they also hire a full-time social media team,” explains Singson.

Ready to work with specialists for your food biz? “Make sure they’re totally immersed in your brand so they are able to anticipate your marketing needs and see new opportunities. They need to have initiative, and to be innovative and resourceful,” recommends Castro. “The best social media team is one that genuinely cares about the brand they represent. They sincerely want to learn its history and see it succeed,” Cancio puts is simply.

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