This is basically verbatim copy/paste from a Nextdoor question, and my answer, to a local looking for advice. Remember years ago when we were cautious of anyone using the word “guru” or “ninja”, etc? Well… times change, but not that much. Here’s where we’re at!

Cheers!

Just friendly happy 2cents. I am a hotel guy, and for the last 20 years tech has disrupted us, and we’ve been burned. We got burnt on SEO & websites b/c we didn’t pay attention, which led us to giving away our inventory and rate to 3rd parties like Expedia. It’s taken a long time to recover from that, and many still are. That being said, when social started I immediately knew what it was (I’ve been online since 1988!!), and I believe I really get it. In that, I was horrified just how many snake oil and charlatan people were out there truly fleecing the trusting and neophyte/luddite types. Even the intelligent business people were taken by “social media managers”, adding expensive labor that could never be recouped or find any ROI. That being said…. I’ve peered through a lot of the BS, to be frank!

Success is typically geo-centric, which is interest and location based, so you find a lot of success with reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, Tripadvisor, etc.

Facebook has not properly scaled it’s business/brand page side, has some very real roboclicking issues, and brand pages do not get meaningful interaction. The other issue is that Facebook, like Twitter, is a conversational and casual site about connections, versus a consumer site like Amazon, Ebay, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc where people have their credit cards out, and are ready to buy (Twitter is changing in that area).

Catering and Event planning services will see great results from Yelp, and although I don’t encourage ad spend on most social (as ROI is nearly impossible to trust or measure), but Yelp ads will get far more reach to prospective buyers than posting pretty pictures on Facebook. Facebook is a time suck of so little meaningful interaction.

1) Youtube for 30-50 second videos. Embed those in your website… it’s helps with SEO. Make sure to geo-tag every single video in settings, as well as geo-tag locations in all and every photo you post, or tag location in any post you make on any social site.

2) Twitter for all customer service. **Do not* use it as a marketing channel. Do not force push messaging or talk about yourself all day. The huge disconnect with social media is that it literally has NOTHING to do with you or your business, but it’s all about being at the leisure of a consumer when you fit their needs. That’s why posting on Facebook is a rabbit hole.

Use Twitter to interact with industry people (search local caterers, magazines, etc. You can connect with Marin magazine, Sunset mag, etc), answer questions (it’s great to use live as a tool during events). Surely you can post some event or food shots, but it’s far more effective to use Twitter and Facebook as “search utilities”.

Don’t talk about yourself to an empty echo chamber! Interact with the endless conversation that is *already* happening real-time in public! That’s where it is at!! https://twitter.com/search?q=marin%20catering&src=typd

3) Make sure to build out your Google Plus Business Page. It is still literally more relevant to business than Facebook b/c Google+ anchors into organic search, and Facebook is a private/walled garden where your reach is literally who you actually know in the real world. No one that knows you is “buying”…. you need to find people you don’t know that are looking for catering. That’s more about search than social.

A simpler example is this: If you are on Facebook, do you want to see posts about flowers when you aren’t buying flowers, or cars when you aren’t buying cars? You may love your own brand, but you are spam to anyone that isn’t actively seeking out catering. For every “like” a brand page gets, a number of people are annoyed and hide your feed forever. I am sure every single person reading this hides feeds all the time??

So do not force push marketing messaging on sites that are meant for real communication and interaction.

Facebook is necessary, but it should be the least of concerns.

4) Pinterest shots are great for anchoring your catering into SEO. You can also add a feed to your website.

5) Instagram is a more meaningful than Facebook because people you know… already know you. Posting on Facebook is just reaching friends that opted into your page. People who know you are just supportive, they aren’t buying your services. Instagram can reach audiences interested in things like food or Marin.

6) I know I seem like a Facebook basher, but it’s more about the Pareto Principle…. you get 80% of results from 20% of your efforts, and 80% of your effort is wasted to only get 20% of your results (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle)

And a lot of people waste time on that site….. while literally *no one* on Facebook is about to buy services. That’s not why they are there. Anyone telling you different isn’t looking at the data, and is likely trying to charge you a lot for services. There’s a lot of snake oil out there…

****I am 100% excluding Charlotte because she seems AWESOME. But a lot of people would not only charge you for what I just said, they would mislead you into spending more money than you need, or doing billable hours, etc. Often, people aren’t looking out for the best interests of the owner and their money. You need to always ask “If this was *your* money, would you be doing this?” It’s important to make sure they aren’t just making *their* business more successful at the expense of your revenues.

Whenever people are on social simply talking about the product / brand, posting only about the product / brand… they are completely missing the point. It’s like shouting into the grand canyon and applauding the echo.

Social is never about your business. It’s about the people that don’t know about it and would use your services…. it’s not about you, but everyone else and how you can help them.

Social should be about prospective real leads from people you don’t know. It is NOT having all your friends look at you while you stare into a mirror.

And, no… I am not crazy, and I don’t have this kind of time to share stuff like this. But I’ve been meaning to write something like this for my industry people, and I will copy to my blog. =) CHEERS!!! GREAT LUCK TO YOU!!!!!

NB: my point was to spend any available funds on a) updating your website, b) producing high rez professional quality photography and edited videos c) proper SEO management d) SEM (ad spend on relative keywords in google and possibly Yelp) e) social media usage and posting as detailed above… without spending a dime on someone to handle it. Frankly, adding labor and expenses is never wise, nor easily recoupable. There is likely someone in your organization that already “gets” social, even if it’s a young kid or nephew, etc. Spending money on social media is hard to justify when you look at the ROI…. spend as little time self-promoting spam on social media, and use it like a telephone. When it rings, pick up the phone and answer the question. =)

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