If you live in a major city, chances are you’ve seen the lines around the block for one of the many food trucks serving the hungry masses. But beyond filling our bellies, these new businesses have become marketing masters, utilizing social media and other tools to bringing new customers to their businesses. Nonprofits can learn a thing or two from these food trucks. The secrets of their explosive success through masterful grassroots marketing, a collaborative spirit and a laser focus on their brand will be uncovered and tied to the nonprofit world. You’ll walk away with a new perspective straight from the streets!
1691 – New Amsterdam (now known as New York City) begins regulating street vendors selling food from push carts.1974 - Raul Martinez converted an old ice cream truck into the nation’s first taco truck and parked it outside of an East Los Angeles bar.
Recession - Roy cho – kogi truck Nov 2008
Humane labsIntern created our campaignWas stolen from a bed bath beyond emailFigure out how to make it work for our goals
Kogi is known for the use of social media to drive business – tweeting new locations and answering people
What works for one medium doesn’t work for allSometimes what we think works – doesn’t.
Is your donation page easy to find from your home page?Are you above the fold?Do you corporate sponsors link to your website?Do you invest in SEO?
“The meal we are eating is just possibly a meal we might never have a chance to eat again”There isn’t even anywhere to sit! It doesn’t matter.The truck and its staff of merry makers have become a sort of roving party, bringing people to neighborhoods they might not normally go to, and allowing for interactions with strangers they might not otherwise talk to.Plan a schedule and Managing scarcity: Treasure this meal because you may never see this truck again!Create a hot commodity. Who didn’t love to chase after an ice-cream truck as a kid? The appeal was in the immediacy, the act-now-or-you’ll-miss-it offering, making the experience a bigger treat than getting a similar product from the supermarket. A food truck, similarly, takes the concept of a limited-time offer to the extreme. Craving a particular grilled-cheese sandwich? Better get down to the corner before the item is sold out or the truck’s gone. Brick-and-mortar restaurant operators can spark this kind of interest, too, by marketing extra-limited-time offers. Spotlight a staff member’s or a frequent guest’s out-of-the-ordinary sandwich creation on one day only. Invite guests via social media to sample an in-trial menu item at a specific store location and give their feedback. Or give extra credit to loyalty-club customers who make a purchase between 2 and 4 p.m. next Tuesday.
use social media in particular for time-sensitive events
DMAW Keynote: What Nonprofits Can Learn From Food Trucks
Carie LewisDeputy Director, Online Communications@cariegrls[ What Nonprofits Can Learn from Food Trucks ]
[ How did food trucks emerge? ]In 1974 Raul Martinez convertedan old ice cream truck into a tacotruck and parked it in front of abar in LA – the first modern dayfood truck as we know it!The concept of “mobilekitchens” date all the wayback to the 1600’s!
[ Why learn from them? ]Food trucks have created acultural shift in the waypeople eat by being creativeand taking advantage of newtechnologies.Here are 8 things nonprofitscan learn from food trucks!
[ #1 - embrace entrepreneurial spirit! ]When times get tough and budgets are stretched farther thanever, empower your people and encourage innovation.
[ we hold monthly innovation meetings whichshowcases cool stuff we see other people doing ]
[ #2 – differentiate yourself. ]Stand out from the competition and create buzz by focusingon a niche and doing it really well.
[ #3 – take risks and test concepts. ]Measure everything. Do more of what works and learn from yourmistakes - but don’t make them twice.
[ we test everything including facebook post types ]Photo post: Sam31,600 likes8,000 shares3,000 comments$5,000 raisedVideo post: Billy9,500 likes4,400 shares1,000 comments$2,000 raised
[ #4 – define your brand and personality. ]Have fun. Even a 50 year old organization can use social media toportray a “less stuffy” persona.
[ we create our own memes ]Bringing your pets towork is such a HUGEpart of ourorganization’s culture.#felinefriday is waymore interesting to ouraudience than#followfriday.
[ #5 – go where your people are. ]Be fundamentally mobile and nimble: follow your fans but make it easyfor them to get to you too.Food trucks parkoutside bars wherepeople are hangingout and are hungry atthe end of the nightwhen nothing else isopen.
[ when google analytics told us our mobile trafficwas growing, we sprung into action ]You HAVE to be wherepeople are – and make itas easy as possible.We found our membersare not on Twitter, butthey talk about us there.Our members are onFacebook.25% of our web traffic isfrom mobile devices.
[ #6 – use social media strategically. ]Invest the time in social media, but don’t do it blindly. Have itcontribute to your goals.Food trucks’ goals are to generate sales. They engage with their fans to generate brand affinity.They also listen to their audience’s feedback aboutmenu items and locations and base businessdecisions on it in order to sell more food.
[ we use Twitter primarily for customer service ]Our goal on Twitter iscustomer service, onFacebook is advocacy.If you look at our Twitterfeed, it’s mostly @ replies.LISTEN and find out whatthey like/want/need.We report on Twitterfeedback weekly and use itto inform decision makingsuch as campaign messaging.
[ #7 – collaborate with the competition. ]Large events including your competition bring people out in largenumbers, and these are people that may not have knownabout you otherwise.There’s power in numbers: foodtrucks benefit from participatingin large events like festivals andcompetitions.
[ we are choosy about contests ]Participating in charitycontests are fun – butit’s an incredibleresource investment andcan be a high bar ask foryour audience. Makesure the payoff is worthit!In the end, make sureyou close the loop.
[ #8 – create a sense of urgency.]Your response rate will be higher if you tell people why they need to dowhat you’re asking RIGHT NOW.Food trucks createFOMO – fear ofmissing out – andpeople like to be a partof things.
[ we are incredibly opportunistic and nimble ]