Food is a medium that lends itself well to social media – artfully arranged plates of food, brunches that look too pretty to eat, and pictures of super cool pop-ups and restaurants are all guaranteed to whet the appetite. But how can you ensure your social media is appetising rather than lacklustre, and build a genuine following?
Gini Newton is the co-founder of Karma Cans, a healthy lunch-delivery business inspired by the famous Dabbawala delivery system in Mumbai. They also have seriously photogenic social media accounts, with engaged users and glimpses into the life of a startup founder. Here are Gini’s tips for acing social media.
All images: Karma Cans Instagram
What platforms do you use, and which are most important to your business? How do you use each one?
We use Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. For us, the two most important platforms are Instagram and Facebook. We feel that our followers are loyal and more interactive on these two platforms.
Instagram is a visual experience, so for food it really is important for building your brand. Consistent shots, and before and afters, all excite the audience and keep them hooked.
Facebook is a personal space. It's where people share photos of their babies, dogs, cats. Therefore we treat it like a personal space, with more content here and our menus and stories. Then Twitter is a sales platform for us, where we announce deals, pop-ups, and discount codes.
You have an engaged following on Instagram – did this happen organically?
Really organically - at the beginning we didn't really even know how to use hashtags! We’ve always made sure our social activity is authentic to who we are, and our audience responds to this.
Your food photos on Instagram are always on point – what are your tips for getting this right?
We use both a camera and phone to take photos for our social media. I think it's nice to have both - some that are more instant, and some shots that are more brand photos with thought-through compositions. With Karma Cans the process is really interesting so it's nice to document it - this doesn’t mean that you always get a magazine cover shot, but we like showing both sides to our company.
Have you had any social media fails/gaffes? How did you recover?
I don't think we have had any major social media fails. We once made a really cheesy, bad-quality video in our underground kitchen at the time. It got a lot of funny interaction, and maybe wasn’t the best video for making you want to buy a Karma Can - but it showed our personality, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Social media changes every day, so we don't get too worried about one unpopular post. The worst actually was when we had a launch party for our cookbook, and we got some abuse for too much noise on our social about it...not great! But we apologized, offered them a free lunch, and then moved on.
What do you think is the key thing that makes people follow you?
A mixture, really. There is a fascination with startups - and perhaps now with the growing delivery scene, food startups in particular. Our brand is strong and our journey has been really interesting. From moving kitchens, building two kitchens, and being sisters, we've definitely done it our own way.
Any other tips for food businesses using social media?
It's great to create your own style, but I think having every shot identical to the next just becomes repetitive and predictable. Show some personality too.
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