If you don’t take your chocolate business seriously, stop reading RIGHT NOW. You’ll just waste your time.
If you care instead to pass your chocolate company over to your kids, or to your younger brother, or to whoever you have faith in, you’d better open your ears and think about this question:
“10 years from now, who will be the customers of your chocolate?”
Reality check: people that are NOW rebellious teenagers will become your main target by the time your hair becomes grey. But you still want your chocolate company to be alive by that time, right? And if those teenagers are going to be your biggest spenders in 10 years, don’t you want to start communicating with them NOW?
You should start building their trust and loyalty towards your brand as soon as possible, so by the time they go around with a fat paycheck from their first job they will want to spend it on your company (the company that has been engaging with them since they were still debating the perfect college to attend). And where can you find these soon-to-have-my-own-money subjects and start the conversation today? Big news, ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Your future big spenders are on Social Media now, and bad news is that you ARE NOT TALKING TO THEM. Or you just talk to them when you have to promote your latest discounts and sales. Not cool.
Some chocolate companies get Social Media wrong. VERY WRONG. I want to change this, because I can’t wait for all the honest and passionate chocolatiers and chocolate makers out there to thrive on Social Media, and get the recognition they deserve. Are you one of those?
Instagram is my daily bread. You will find at least one new post every day on my account TheChocolateJournalist, and if you follow me regularly you know I am always online, because I will be answering your comment within 3 minutes. I might have an addiction, but this is not the point. The point here is that I get to see how chocolate companies behave on this popular Social Media platform. Sometimes I applaud their cleverness and consistency. Sometimes they make me want to bang my head against the wall.
If you want to make a great impression on every Instagram user (especially your future big spenders), here I give you the solutions to 8 mistakes that you should absolutely avoid on this popular platform.
Head over to your Instagram business profile and fix these 8 problems NOW:
- NO COUNTRY SPECIFIED – I see an address, a street number, a phone number. But no clue where in the World you are. Countless times I spotted very cool chocolate stores on Instagram just to find out after 10 minutes of digging that they were on the other side of the World. I got upset, and trust me I was not the only one. Do us all a favor and include in your bio the country/state where you are located.
- USELESS INFO IN BIO – You only have 150 characters in your bio to persuade potential customers to Follow your page. Be smart about it. No need to include an address. If I want to come visit you, you can bet I will use Google Maps anyway. No need to include a phone number. If I am using Social Media, it means that I don’t want to call you (And tell you what exactly?!). No need to repeat the words artisan/handmade/crafted a thousand times. You make everything by hand, I got it. Use your bio as a sales pitch. Tell us why your chocolate company is different from all the others, and why Instagram users should follow your page.
- NO LINK TO COMPANY WEBSITE IN BIO – Where am I exactly supposed to see your catalog and make a purchase? Oh, I should Google you? You mean open another page on my browser, wait for that page to load, write your name, wait for the results, look for your website……. I don’t have time for that. I will move on to other chocolate brands that make it easier for me to give them money.
- IRRELEVANT POSTS – I am sorry, but I don’t really understand what I should do with the piece of salmon you just had for lunch and are now showcasing on your chocolate company’s Instagram page. Or that very nice piece of furniture you just bought for your lovely living room. And God only knows how many unwanted cats I have already seen online today! If I decide to Follow a chocolate page, it is because I expect to see pictures of your chocolate. You know, sometimes I go out with friends too, and I’d love to post a picture on my Instagram page to show how pretty I am with makeup on. But then I remember that people that follow my page want to see pictures of chocolate or chocolate related, not my pretty face with makeup on. Delete the irrelevant posts on your page, and remember to post ONLY pictures that talk about your brand.
- WRONG PROFILE PIC – Don’t have anything else as your Instagram profile picture other than the LOGO of your chocolate company. And if your company doesn’t have a logo, you are in big troubles because I have no clue how customers can recognize your company among a million competitors. Your profile pic is the first thing Instagram users notice in your page. I am so tired to see 1) general images of chocolate that tell me NOTHING about your brand, and 2) faces of the owners, that again, for how pretty they can be, tell me NOTHING about your company, or why I should Follow. Use your company logo.
- INCONSISTENCY – Let me take this from a different perspective. Picture me trying a chocolate bar, being so excited about the fact that I really liked it, posting a super cool pic of that bar on Instagram, tagging the company to give it free visibility and get a response, and finding out that their latest post was 5 weeks ago, and that they definitely haven’t checked Instagram in a while. The disappointment could be mine, or of any excited customer. Like I wrote some time ago for Twitter, it’s better not to have a Social Media account for your business, than to have it but not using it. You have NO IDEA of the bad impression that you give when your latest post is from 2014, or from Mother’s Day when we are in December. It communicates that you don’t care to keep a consistent conversations with your loyal and potential customers on that specific platform. It’s not cool to hear from you only around Valentine’s Day, Christmas holidays or any time you need to push offers and discounts. No need to be on every Social Media platform. Choose one or two and be super consistent and responsive. Instagram should be included.
- NO POST DESCRIPTIONS – Not writing a caption under the images you share on Instagram is like showing a picture on your phone to a friend without saying a word. Silence. Mute mode. Your friend is obviously confused and waits for your explanations. Why did you share that content? What did you want to communicate to your audience? (No, 10 hashtags won’t do the job of a complete sentence.) What do you want your audience to do with this piece of information? Call to actions are a MUST. It doesn’t have to always be “Buy, Like, Share, Check Out, Visit, Follow”. Most of the times it should be something like “Look, Read, Think, Let us know, Answer”. Tell us why you shared that content and what to do with it. This extra effort will pay back.
- NO COMMENTS ANSWERED – Your chocolate company is on Social Media to start and maintain a conversation with old, new and potential customers. Again, you are not there to throw at them your latest discounts. Nor to show off. Your job on your Social Media accounts is to reveal the personality of your company by answering questions, eliminating worries, responding to complaints, getting to know your customers. Be sure to take the time to answer to as many comments as possible from your audience. Don’t play snob. The snobbish friend that never answers texts never got surrounded by loyal friends either (for you, loyal customers), and is quickly left alone talking to himself/herself. So go ahead and answer the latest two comments you received for a fresh start.
For a successful Instagram strategy for your chocolate business, always keep in mind:
“It’s NOT about you. It’s about your audience. Act accordingly.”
Is YOUR chocolate business on Instagram? How do YOU use it to create brand loyalty?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.