In today's digital-demanding and highly competitive business world, small and emerging businesses have a massive area to grow with the help of social media. Move over Fortune 500 - you're not the only companies that can be successful with social media marketing.
A strong social media strategy can put small businesses in front of new audiences and their existing customer base for a personal and reliable way to engage. Social media can boost awareness and ultimately boost sales.
OK - time for a joke.
An entrepreneur and foodie walk into a bar...
PLOT TWIST, the entrepreneur and foodie are the same person, Luciana Contuzzi, founder and owner of Zest. Luciana launched Zest in 2014 and recently opened up her first store (with another one on the way!)
She has been extremely successful in the world of healthy living by making gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan food fun and delicious. Social media is a huge part of her marketing strategy and it WORKS - maybe not as hard as she does, though!
Here's how social media and Zest come together for a yummy combination...
Give us a little background of Zest and the social media history. When/where did it start?
Zest itself started out of a commercial kitchen in Fairfield, NJ in September 2014. Baked goods were made to order for local cafes and online orders. The social media started then as well! Since Zest was not my full time job, many photos were even concoctions I made for my own meals that are now menu items at the store!
Which platforms is Zest today? Do you have a favorite?
Currently, we are on Instagram and Facebook. Instagram is definitely the favorite. I love being able to use the story feature as well as posting multiple pictures a day and experimenting with hashtags.
How do you measure success on social media? What metrics/data are you looking at?
Success to me is measured by likes and comments. A successful picture, in my eyes, has over 250 likes and multiple comments (and this goal will keep increasing monthly!) Another measurement is featuring a new menu item on social media and not posting it in the store for a day to see how many people ask for that item. It’s amazing how many customers come in to purchase items they see on our social pages!
You do a great job with “real-time marketing,” hopping on the latest trends, most recently with a Shark Week Acai Bowl. Does this strategy resonate well with your followers and potential customers?
Real-time marketing is extremely important, especially in food. We want to be different. We want eating healthy to be fun and customers to be excited about new items. We want them to post and tag their friends and even give us menu ideas. Real-time marketing attracts customers to come back time and time again, even on days they weren’t planning to! We are going to do more items based on food holidays as well - ex. National Peanut Butter Day, National Avocado Day, etc.!
Can you confidently say that social media helps drive more sales for Zest?
As stated above, social media 100% drives sales. Customers who weren’t planning on visiting a day that we have a special, come in when they see something new and know it will sell out. We get messages to reserve certain items and calls asking if specials are still in stock. It’s an indescribable feeling!
What is your best piece of advice for a small business just starting with social media?
Relevant content with relevant hashtags. Our followers are health conscious individuals who keep up with food trends. Therefore, we only post photos that feature healthy food and fitness - our own and local businesses as well sometimes! I also have a list of hashtags in my notes that I copy and paste for each photo. More hashtags are added depending on the photo as well.
Holy guacamole - a social media strategy that drives brand awareness AND sales?! Now that sounds YUMMY!
You can follow Zest's social media journey with the links below and if you're healthy foodie like myself, you need to get yourself to Zest immediately!