For the first time, rather than food and drink businesses having to work hard to find their customers to communicate with them, people and communities are actively seeking out information from businesses. They are searching the internet and their social media for places to buy food, ingredients and takeaways whilst they are isolated at home.
As the Coronavirus started to take hold in the UK, we started a list of Dorset based food and drink businesses that were still open. Since then we have spent hours and hours scouring pages and social for information to add to and update the list.
It hasn’t always been easy to find out who is open, what they are selling and how to order, so we have put together a list of tips that we have learned whilst looking at the many, many websites and social pages for information to try and help local businesses reach their customers…
- People are looking for ways to get food delivered to their home, more than ever before. Supermarkets are totally overwhelmed and some people are desperate for a solution to get a food delivery. This is the time to be updating your social media and your websites so that people know how to order from you.
- Update your social media pages if you have made a change to your service. You may only need to do this once to let your customers know what you now offer. Try and make the posts detailed and clear…
- when you are open
- what type of service (collection and/or delivery)
- what you have for sale
- how you order
- Facebook (more than other types of social media) appears to be where lots of people are actively looking for help. There are lots of community groups now, created for the purpose of helping people in this season. Find the groups local to you and join them. Let people know how you can help them.
- It is easy for your customers to share posts on instagram (via stories) and twitter so make sure you make these clear (especially on twitter) and pretty (for instagram). Other people sharing your posts amplifies your message quickly and for free!
- Try and update your website. Understandably if you rely on a third party to update your website, this may not be quick (or cheap) but most people will look at your website first and they may not bother trying to find you on social media if your website is unclear. This could just be a banner on the front page saying clearly that your service is temporarily different and pointing people to your facebook page.
- If you can get a list of produce available or a menu up on your website, this will make it even easier for people to see what you have for sale. Taking payment online can be as simple as invoicing people via Paypal (Paypal takes 3% commission) or via TypeForm. If you can’t take payments online, even just getting information online for email or phone orders is better than nothing (make sure your answer phone can handle saving multiple messages).
- People have collated lists of businesses that are open and able to help – find these and join them. Places like us (Dorset Foodie Feed) and the Dorset Hub have online lists of businesses. Councils are also putting together lists of places to help the elderly and vulnerable.