By STAFF | NFIB.com
Mobile food vendors have taken to Twitter to let hungry customers know their vehicles’ whereabouts.
Not only do food-truck vendors use Twitter to let customers know where they’ve set up shop, they’re using the free service as a valuable marketing and customer relationship-building tool. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar presence, you can learn a few strategies from mobile food vendors who use Twitter to drive business.
Phillip Foss, chef and proprietor of Meatyballs Mobile (@FossFoodTrucks on Twitter), which sells meatballs, sandwiches and other foods out of two trucks in Chicago, shares his successful Twitter strategies:
Tweets without personality don’t work. Foss makes his followers laugh with his off-the-cuff comments. It lets them know there’s a real person behind the business, and they’re likely to keep an eye on the page if they’re entertained. “We take food very seriously, and do so with an acute sense of humor,” Foss says.
To build customer loyalty, Foss strikes up conversations with followers. He takes requests for special orders and deliveries, and even asks his followers what their favorite bars are around town. He always retweets posts from customers who say they enjoyed a meal. “They appreciate it, and it puts my name in front of people,” Foss says. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Although Foss’s primary goal is to bring people to his food truck, it has also driven followers to his website and blog. Businesses can use Twitter to direct followers to their websites to learn more about the company and to increase sales if they have an e-commerce site.
Get the Word Out
Your number of followers isn’t always a measure of your success on Twitter. Foss realizes only a fraction of his customers are on Twitter, so he pays attention to how often people tell their friends and co-workers about the truck’s location. It’s important to look at how your Twitter strategy is impacting day-to-day operations.
Announcing promotions and contests through Twitter encourages repeat business. Foss, for example, offered 50% off the full price of a sandwich to the first three customers who brought a copy of a newspaper article about Meatyballs Mobile. “It rewards them for being customers and gives them a reason to keep paying attention,” Foss says.