Social media. These two words are dreaded by many in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry. We all know that social media is important. More and more, brands and other businesses are focusing on their online marketing and digital communications. Consumers expect, and demand it, getting frustrated when it doesn't work or isn't available. But where to begin and what to post? This is a top concern for many.
Audience and goals matter
There are many questions surrounding content, and likely just as many answers. However, for a successful social media campaign there is one rule to follow: know your audience. John Healy, an industry marketing guru, wrote a great article about content marketing that I encourage you to read if you haven't already. He actually covers the different aspects of this topic well. However, backing up, I think the biggest challenge operators have with getting started in social media, or using it effectively at least, is that they want it to do too many things. They want it to create leads for new business. And, they want it to inspire end users to go and drink more coffee or buy more from the micro markets. This is the problem. These two audiences are vastly different, and want different things in a service provider. So the first step in posting great content is to decide which group you want to target (this often also dictates which social media tool you will use).
B2B vs. B2C
LinkedIn is the website most business professionals use to consider services after all it has somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 million members and allows you to build and see relationships. However, there are others, such as the review website Yelp (see Bob Tullio's article on this topic) and even your company website (although not strictly considered social media).
This content should focus on customer service with testimonials, your professional image, service area, ability to customize, etc. Also, here should be the characteristics of your company that make you stand out, such as charitable donations, roasting your own coffee, offering freshly made food, etc.
While it is important to regularly update your B2B social media tools, this isn't the same content you will be using for your B2C social media. Some might cross over, but not all. Instead, look at content that specifically appeals to your prospect, such as news items about free coffee boosting productivity at work, employee benefit cost analysis, how healthy items in the break room help in creating wellness programs, studies on creating workplace cafes, etc. Look for content that is answering their internal question – why should I invest in break room services.
I recommend using Google Alerts to find this content. You can put in some key words, and every day Google sends you some content/news/etc. that mentions your keywords. Most publications also include newsletters, such as VendingMarketWatch.com Today or the Society for Human Resource Management. Subscribing and reading the content they find can be a great way to easily gather the specific types of content you can potentially use in your own feeds.
Facebook and Twitter
I believe the best way to build customer service, increase end user sales and tell your story (via social media) is using Facebook and Twitter. This is where you share promotions, run contents, share company news (especially recognition of employees), new installation photos, fun images of your corporate events, etc. Try to snap a photo and post a few words every day, whether it's sharing the photo of the service tech working hard in the warehouse or inviting people to come and visit you at the booth you sponsored at the local walk/run for a cause. They all tell your story and resonate with customers. Remember, it's about building that relationship with the end user that brings them into the break room to use your product, not necessarily about likes or follows. Those are good indicators, but not the most important measurement of success.