Customer story: Scholaskoteani Billups – Soul’d food
If you’re looking for ways to promote your small business on Facebook in a creative and effective manner, Scholaskoteani Billups, Co-owner and Director Operations of Columbia-based mobile catering company Soul’d Food, has some tips to share.
Scholaskoteani started Soul’d Food with her husband, Bayrone, in 2018. The two have always had a passion for cooking, which eventually led to their decision to fuse the U.S. Northeast and Southeast cuisines of their childhoods to launch a unique catering business specializing in gourmet food options.
Over the years, Scholaskoteani has experimented with and perfected promotional strategies that have helped her secure a loyal customer base. She swears by the power of Facebook marketing to get the word out about her business and build engagement with existing customers.
We sat down with Scholaskoteani to learn about the Facebook strategies that have earned her page thousands of likes, follows, and interactions–and resulted in strong growth for her company.
What are the benefits of posting on Facebook?
Hi Scholaskoteani! Let’s get right into it. Why is Facebook your go-to when it comes to marketing your business?
Facebook has so many amazing features that you can use to sell your products. No other social media platform is that invested in helping small businesses thrive.
Through Facebook, I’m able to reach a lot of different audiences with my content. Everyone has a Facebook account, regardless of how often they use it. And I can use that to keep existing customers updated on our offers and services.
1. Post on Facebook about three times a week
Why is it important to post regularly on Facebook?
Consistency drives engagement on Facebook. The more reliable you are in your posting, the more people will interact with your content.
I post about three times a week. Any more than that and I would basically be spamming my audience. Not only that, it would be way too much work for me with not nearly enough return.
Something that helps me stay consistent with my three-posts-a-week schedule is Hootsuite. I use it to schedule my posts weeks in advance so that I don’t feel like I’m perpetually online.
Awesome. What kind of content do you generally post?
Details about our services and products. Special deals and discounts. Any events that we’ve catered or plan to. A little bit of anything that helps me drive engagement on Facebook, really.
How to increase engagement on your Facebook page
How do you ensure that these posts actually get the engagement you want them to?
2. Spread the word by resharing your posts on your private Facebook account
I re-share a lot of my posts on my private account to increase my Facebook engagement rate. This helps me get the word out about my content to my family and friends, who are often the first to actively engage with my page’s content. This is because when I share my business posts on my private page, I ask friends and family to leave likes and comments on the posts. So they get the ball rolling, which eventually encourages other customers to leave their comments as well. This drives engagement on Facebook for me.
3. Drive people to your posts with mass texts
I also send out a mass text to my customers every time I post something that I think they should see. This boosts Facebook post engagement. The text is usually pretty straightforward — something like, “Hey! Check this out!” along with a link to the post.
I collect customer phone numbers through comment cards that people fill out when we cater events. The comment cards always mention that the phone numbers will be used to send promotional texts so that if people don’t want them, they don’t provide their number.
4. Share nostalgic content to spark a conversation
Let’s talk about some of the things you’ve posted on Facebook. For starters, tell us about “Simple Soul’d Food Recipes”. What is it and how did it come about?
It started as a Black History Month initiative last year. We did small profiles on prominent Black chefs and caterers and gave them a platform on our page to share their recipes and cooking tips.
This year for Black History Month, we tried something a little different. Every day for the month of February, we posted the recipe for an easy African dish — something that highlighted African culture and Southern tradition.
That’s so great. What kind of response did you receive on that?
The response was amazing. The posts opened up a window of conversation in an incredible way. The comments sections were filled with people talking about how much they loved the recipe and how they remembered making and eating the dish when they were children. Many people tried our recipes and shared pictures of their creations.
I think it really helps to post about things that resonate with your customers and make them a part of an important conversation. I also celebrate special holidays and events with my customers to show them that they belong to a community.
You have a lot of posts about seasonal offers on your Facebook page. Tell us about that.
I post seasonal offers because they bring us the most engagement. After all, it doesn’t hurt to talk about something everyone else is already talking about.
For instance, January was National Soup Month and we wanted to do something special to celebrate it. So we decided to offer our customers a special winter soup. The soup was a hit. Everyone was ordering it because, well, who doesn’t love soup in the wintertime? Plus, we have a lot of vegan and vegetarian customers, who really appreciated the soup because it didn’t have any meat.
5. Take advantage of seasonal offers
When it comes to seasonal offers, you have to keep an eye out for two things — what’s popular in general and what’s popular with your customers i.e. their preferences.
Once we settle on seasonal offers that we like, we add them to our Facebook content calendar, create graphics for each offer with PosterMyWall, and schedule them accordingly.
6. Let your customers get to know you
You have a number of posts that celebrate employee birthdays. What is the rationale behind those posts?
We want to appreciate the people who work hard every day to make our business the success that it is. Plus, we want our customers to get to know the people who serve them and make their food. When customers wish our employees a happy birthday in the comments section, there is a sense of community that is sparked, which allows us to create a loyal customer base.
7. Use strategic hashtags to boost your Facebook posts
What do the captions for all these posts look like? Do they help your posts get more reach?
Yes, we get a lot of reach. Our secret lies in hashtags. We use a ton of relevant hashtags for every post that automatically boost our content.
You have to be smart when it comes to hashtags, though. Here are a couple of things to remember:
- Always include a couple of consistent, tried-and-tested hashtags that people can use to find your content.
- Use a hashtag generator and find the most popular and relevant hashtags for each post, and include the top five in your caption.
8. Repurpose Facebook content for other social media platforms
Do you use any other social media platforms in addition to Facebook?
I mainly use Facebook. However, I do repurpose my Facebook content and post it on Instagram and Twitter. For those who don’t know, repurposing is when you take your content from one platform and adjust it to run on another platform.
I do this to target audiences that might not be active on Facebook. The content I post when repurposing is largely the same as the version I post on Facebook. However, I do make slight adjustments. For instance, there is a character limit on Twitter so I have to reduce the number of hashtags.
How has PosterMyWall helped you create your social media content?
PosterMyWall has been a godsend. I have the creative freedom to dream up any kind of promotional content I want — and then I can make it instantly with PosterMyWall. All I have to do is find a template, and then I can play around with it in the editor until I’m happy with what I create. The whole process after the brainstorming step literally takes minutes.
Awesome! Thank you, Scholaskoteani. This has been incredibly enlightening. We wish you the best of luck with your catering business.
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