It’s so exciting when a new food truck business is born. And creating the twitter account for your food truck is just as essential as the truck, a well thought out menu, and necessarily permits. We hope this blog post is especially help to those food truckers about to launch their first food truck.
But even the pros that have been out on the streets for years and years can always take a look they can improve utilizing twitter to get more customers to show up at the truck day after day.
Would the modern food truck even exist without social media? Here at Food on a Truck we feel that twitter and communicating to customers is just as essential to a successful mobile food business as having amazing food and stellar service.
Being a mobile restaurant is a double edged sword. You get to serve at different locations to build your customer base. But because you are mobile you must make it as easy as possible for your customers to always be able to find you.
Yes – setting up your twitter account takes time. And it does take time throughout your day to tweet your customers about your current location, hours, and current menu items. But it’s clear that when you do this, you will get more people to show up at your truck.
Here are some essential tips to help you get the most value out of twitter and use it to grow your business:
Make it Obvious!
If you cater events, mention it. Excellent marketing is all about planting a seed. So when a customer of yours find out their friend is planning a wedding reception they mention their favorite food truck is available for catering.
Here’s an excellent example of a twitter bio from the food truck Orca Eats. It becomes obvious to the customer this is a food truck that caters events and is located on Vashon Island in Washington.
They also state how their menu changes frequently giving a sense of urgency for the customer to get out and try the truck!
Where are you?
— Canuck Pizza Truck (@CanuckPizzaTruc) August 18, 2015
We’ve visited cities wanting to try specific food trucks and have been unable to find them due to their location not being published online. You cannot over communicate your schedule to your customers. People follow your food truck for a reason: they want to stay updated.
Sure, when you tweet your location it might only be a small percentage of customers that show up because of that tweet, but in this business every little bit helps and can really add up over time.
Plus, if you don’t tweet or have your schedule online, you could be losing customers that are actively wanting to eat at your truck and not even know it.
Always MaintainA Positive Tone
This is critical. At some point you will get a “troll” that will want to start a fight on the internet. You absolutely always want to be completely professional and positive even when you are tempted to give in and lob some heated words back at them.
This can only backfire and damage your brand. If you are really frustrated, just relax and put off responding to the person after 24 hours. Often people will give up trying to start a fight if you simply don’t engage on their level.
Avoid Debated Topics and Politics
If you want to openly support a political candidate or a current issue feel free to do that under your own personal twitter account. However, with your business you want avoid any topics that could offend people. Your customers are going to be diverse people with many different backgrounds and political views.
It would be a big mistake to bring up politics and give a reason for your customers to not show up at your truck.
Harness The Power of Retweets (RTs)
When you follow accounts like @FoodOnATruck and @MobileCuisine you will always have interesting content in your twitter feed. If something is partially interesting to you just retweet it to your followers.
It’s a great way to stay top of mind to your customers and even interact with members of the food truck community. We strive to be a source of quality relevant content to food trucks. Do the same with your own followers, follow your local news sources so you can share tweets to your customers that will be of value to them.
Follow other businesses too and become involved in your local community via twitter. And if you are lucky enough to get a tweet like this from a happy customer be sure and retweet it to your followers.
Respond with Quotes
You can also respond with a quote when customers tweet to you. It’s like retweeting but takes just a bit more effort and it shows your customers that you really listen and are responsive. Use the “Reply” option and your followers will see both the original tweet and your reply.
Photos, Photos, and more Photos!
Some happy customers! Come on down ! pic.twitter.com/4IRyi4cwAK
— Cool Beans FoodTruck (@coolbeanstruck) August 15, 2015
Even if you have an Instagram account post photos via twitter. There’s something very powerful about seeing your favorite truck at a location that’s near you that will cause your stomach to grumble. Post photos of your truck, your food, your employees and even your happy customers.
Train your Employees
Share this guide with anyone that uses your twitter account. If you are going to let anyone tweet for your food trucks account be sure to set some ground rules so the expectations are clear. Also if anyone no longer needs to use the twitter account – change the password. It’s a best practice for a reason.
Don’t buy Followers
There’s many services that allow you to easily buy followers. You might be tempted to do this. While it can be easy and even inexpensive to go from 5 followers to 50,000 it really don’t provide any value to you.
Worse, twitter works by recommending accounts to follow. So if someone follows other food trucks and then yours your account will start to show up to potential customers organically.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter starts to penalize accounts that buy followers in rankings. If you buy followers you risk having to go through and purge those fake followers at some point.
Here’s a tool you can use to check any account to see how many followers are fake. Accounts like ours which have never bought followers will still have some fake accounts, but the majority (85% or more) will be genuine accounts.
Try using your Phone
It almost sounds a little old school at this point, but some customers love to use the phone. Try tweeting your number like Mantraah to receive pick up orders or have it posted so customers can call if they are trying to find you.
— Mantraah (@mantraah) August 18, 2015
Seasoned food trucks have learned the value of twitter. Consistent communication drives your best customers to your truck. For new food trucks this could make the difference between a successful business that grows and one that stagnates never reaching the full potential.
The problem is that when you show up at a location it’s a mad dash to open your window and serve. There’s simply not time to get on social media.
Our software now automates your twitter messaging. Just set up your schedule and twitter can now go on autopilot so you can focus on your customers, not on sending out tweets. And it’s fully integrated with our POS software. If you’re interested, join our launch list to be notified as we expand our beta: http://www.foodonatruck.com/stay-updated/
Happy food trucking.