Wow. That’s all that I can say. This was my first trip to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, and I must say it was amazing. Simply walking into the Moscone Center with the feel and buzz of an event in the air is something in and of itself, but then you cram 1,300 booths representing every type of food you can think of into one place and it takes things to a whole new level of awesome.
Our company had two clients presenting their specialty foods at the event, and being the amazing, service-oriented, and excellent marketing firm we are, we made a point to join them and support them at the event. The intent was to live tweet and engage with the exact audience that our clients want to be in front of. In short… we nailed it.
Silk Road Soda’s conversations were ablaze on Twitter and Instagram, and Taylor Brothers Farms’ social was chattering away all day. We owned the #WFFS14 hashtag (at least we thought so).
But getting back the title of this blog…..
The trip had my head spinning for 2 simple reasons:
Mindblown Item 1:
The sheer volume and plethora of all the high quality specialty foods represented. I’m not even joking when I say that I don’t think my body has ingested that much cheese in my life. I love wine and cheese as much as the next guy, and fancy myself a bit of a foodie, but damn son! There were types, flavors, styles, and genres of gourmet and specialty cheese that I had not even heard of.
I will plug them, and they are not even a client, but my fave was Simply Brigitte. Whoah. The Wasabi Cheese was just silly. As in silly amazing.….go get some NOW!
Simply Brigitte has a very cool story and what I loved was that Yehuda spent the time to tell it to me. The samples were great, the information was good (at most places), and we got to spend some good quality time getting to know some great owners.
NOTE TO ALL VENDORS: This is to help you. When you hire someone to work your booth and tell people about your product and brand, please, please make sure that they care. I mean, they really need to give a crap about your brand.
There were booths being manned by nothing more than a warm body, and they treated the attendees as such. No bueno. I knew immediately when I was talking with an owner, or someone within the company that cared. They got my attention, product was consumed, and they got tweeted.
Mindblown Item 2:
Where the truck is your company’s social presence?
Seriously…I’m not even saying this as a person that owns a marketing company, but as a food fan and lover of cheese, someone who loves connecting, and as a patron that was there and wanted to promote YOU.
To the guy that told me his olive oil, BBQ sauce, or cheese story. YOU! I was disappointed beyond belief to find no Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account for your business… which SERIOUSLY limited my ability to share your greatness with the rest of my world.
How to Fix It!
If you’re a brand that is looking to build a community, a voice, or a following, please use the marketing tools that you have at your disposal. In today’s business world it’s necessary, and just as important as having a CPA! I’m not exaggerating.
Now, to be fair, there were some companies and vendors that had their social dialed (like our clients) and had a following. They understood the hashtag on all platforms and were fun to engage with. I wanted to go and find their both. They made me want to interact with them.
For heaven’s sake, Vivienne Harr’s Make-A-Stand Lemonade Stand has 22.5K followers on Twitter and 60K likes on Facebook. This sweet girl popped out right in front of me while I was walking by her booth and told me to follow her on Twitter. This 10-year-old entrepreneur ‘gets it’ more than most of the seasoned business owners we saw at #WFFS14 who are running multi-million dollar specialty food operations. Amazing. And guess what the first search result is when you google her name? Her twitter account. Nice work Vivi 🙂
So. Moral of the story? Please don’t think that your brand doesn’t need social. It does. It’s not about what you think, it’s about where your audience is, and finding a way to connect with them relationally.
I am going to throw this out there….if you’re a specialty food company and you were at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this year, I want you to call me.
Here’s my cell – 916-243-8458. Call me and I will spend an hour with you auditing your social platforms and giving you some free advice so you can start killing in social media and get the following and recognition your unique brand deserves. Let’s grow your audience and your community!
I really do look forward to talking with you.