The Mobile Revolution Continues: How Social Media Launched the Food Truck Business
Many articles and blogs have focused on how
social media has helped corporations grow
their business. There are so many great tips
and success stories on how social media has
impacted HR, marketing and digital media
functions. Social media has also revolutionized
many industries, providing a platform for
creative entrepreneurs to develop, market, and launch their products. One such example is
the food truck. Now for many of you who are over, let say, 30; you may have memories of
food trucks as sterile mobile canteens that served basic drinks (tea, coffee and soda), hot
dogs and cold pastries. The 21st
century has seen the rise of the social food truck. Many
creative chefs have chosen to fuse the restaurant and street food experience on wheels. The
food truck offers a mobile option to inexpensively introduce great food to the masses. It is the
purist reflection of what social media embodies. Meeting the masses where they are.
Through social media the food truck industry
has literally been re-vitalized, creating a
niche market for cooks and chefs alike. Their
popularity has transcended the social realm
into syndicated television shows such as Eat
Street, and Anthony Bordain’s series Parts
So how did social media rejuvenate the food truck industry?
Building The Brand
The first step with any good product launch is building a brand presence. Food trucks are no
longer sterile, silver vans that lack personality or flare. On the contrary, they are works of art,
reflecting the theme of the food, the character of the chef with playful, catchy names like
Roaming Dragon, to build brand recognition.
Once the brand is established, the food trucks use a social media ecosystem to promote their
products. Within the ecosystem you will find, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and Google. Let’s not forget the delivery channel. Like the vehicle, it’s mobile.
Proprietors want people to know what kind of food they’re
serving, recognize the truck and of course, communicate where
they’ll be so you can buy the food. Applications like Instagram
(100M users), Pinterest* (47M users) and Vine (via Twitter)
provide the perfect channels to do all that. The beauty of these
apps is customer can also participate in the experience by adding
their own pictures and comments. They are then instantly
shared their with friends through other social platforms in the
ecosystem. Best part? No cost.
Entrepreneurs rely on building their customer base by getting
the “word” out there. With 1.1B people on Facebook, 500M
on Twitter and 343M on Google* they represent the biggest,
free, social distribution channels in the world. Every day
menus and locations are posted and tweeted to a growing
customer base. While content is pushed out, customers also
engage in the conversation by posting comments, taking
pictures of food, by asking questions and telling owners
which locations they should include in their route. Tweeting
or posting endorses the vendors and their products. As we
know, recommendations carry considerable clout. People are much
more likely to try a new product or service if it’s recommended by
someone they know. That translates into tangible sales.
Marketing Your Location
One of my favourite things about food trucks is their use of
integrated GPS apps. Food trucks don’t necessarily go to the same
spot every day. They diversify their routes to expand their customer
base. Customers who want to experience new food trucks can
download apps that track the ones closest to them. All done in real
time, on mobile.
My blog post wouldn’t be complete without weaving in how this ties into social recruiting.
With such an integrated social ecosystem, proprietors can easily advertise job openings to
their fan base.
The rise of the food truck through social media is an interesting and creative story. It’s
another demonstration of how social media is creating new markets.
Kudos to all of those creative food proprietors who operate food trucks and offer good
quality, flavourful food, at reasonable prices.
Support local businesses by finding the food trucks near you.
* Data courtesy of Digital Marketing Ramblings