Five ways to use lists to increase your engagement on Twitter.

Five ways to use lists to increase your engagement on Twitter

Twitter can be a fantastic way to engage potential customers, follow trends and keep tabs on others in the food industry. But follow lots of people and your main feed quickly becomes fast-moving and busy, making it easy to miss things. Here’s five ways you can use lists to manage your feed and increase your engagement on Twitter.

1. Similar businesses

Twitter is a great way to find out what’s going on, both for similar businesses to yours and in the wider business world. Some examples of lists you could build include:

  • Other businesses within your industry. This will help you keep track of emerging trends or other changes that may affect how you run your business.
  • Other local businesses – particularly useful if a lot of your customer base will be local, but also good to build a supportive local network.
  • Business networks and thought leaders – for example the Federation for Small Businesses, Enterprise Nation, Female Entrepreneur Association, Entrepreneur – to keep track of developments in the wider business world.

2. Twitter chat lists

Regular Twitter chat hours can be a great way to build your profile online. Chats include those for small businesses such as #soulfulprhour, location chats such as #surreychat or industry or theme specific such as #ukfoodhour. Keep a list of all participants so that you can interact with them easily outside of the chat hour.

3. Journalists and bloggers

A good one to build if you’d like to get more public exposure for your business, plus another way to identify emerging trends. An easy way to engage with and build relationships with journalists – keep track of the articles they write and be helpful when you can with suggestions. The same applies for food or business bloggers, or those who may be able to feature your business in other ways.

4. Event lists

Many conferences and businesses events will now have their own hashtag. Not only does this raise the profile of the event, it’s a great way for you to network with other attendees. Follow the hashtag and add anyone using it to a list – useful later if you want to connect with a specific business you missed talking to on the day, or follow up on a connection made in person. Be sure to also use the hashtag during the event on your Tweets so that others know you’re there!

5. Showcase your expertise

Build lists of accounts you find useful. This could be your favourite food blogs, recipe sites relevant to your product, companies supplying your ingredients and equipment or anything else that showcases your expertise. Promote the list as a useful tool to potential customers.

How to use your lists

These are just some of the groups you can create using Twitter lists – there are likely many more that you can add for your specific business. Go to each of your lists to see the most recent activity from each of your list members. Set aside time, preferably several times a week, to go through your lists. Your engagement could be everything from a like, re-tweet or to quote someone’s tweet and add your own thoughts.

If you haven’t yet created a list, you can read this handy how-to guide on the Twitter website. Remember that you can set a list to private so that only you can see it – this may be useful for example if you build a list of your clients that you wish to engage with. You don’t need to follow an account to add it to a list.

If you’d like to see an example of an account’s lists, you can view (and subscribe to) The Epsom Bakehouse’s Twitter lists here.

Want further tips for using social media to grow your food business’ profile? Visit the blog here.

seven tips for market and event stall success

Seven things you can do to boost your success at a market or event

Seven things you can do to boost your success at a market or event

Purple Loaf seven tips for market and event stall success

If you run a start-up business, it’s likely that you’ll promote it with a stall at a local market or event. So what can you do to maximise your time at the event and get great exposure for your business? Here are seven top tips to help you prepare for and run a successful stall at a market or event.

1. Preparation is key

When booking your stall, ask the event organisers what they will provide. This could be a table and chair or hook up to electricity if required. Make a note of anything you will need to bring along. Also check that your business insurance covers you for running an external stall – most market and event organisers will require you to hold public liability insurance as a minimum.

Make it easy for potential customers to pay you. Have a good change float of notes and coins if you sell a lower priced product. For higher priced products, you will need to make arrangements to take card payments. This could be via a portable chip and pin card reader, or through apps such as PayPal.

On the day, dress for comfort and warmth but also smartly. Wear thick socks and boots if you expect to be outside in the cold. Take along snacks and drinks to keep you going throughout the event – you might not be able to leave your stall to get anything.

2. Dress up your stall

Your stall should act as a shop front for your business. Many visitors will simply be browsing and you’ll need to catch their eye. Don’t lay all your products down flat, instead build up height. You could use baskets or display rails to showcase your products. Group products logically – perhaps by colour or flavour – and back it all with a plain tablecloth.

3. Show off your brand

Ensure potential customers know who you are! Have eye-catching signs with your business name on them. If you have a logo or brand colours, ensure these are also prominent on your stall. Visitors are likely to remember such visuals for next time, or when they spot you as they browse online later. Have leaflets or business cards available for people to take away – if you’re occupied with a customer, people can still be finding out about your business without having to wait to speak to you.

4. Give visitors a taste of your business

Have samples of your product that visitors can test out. It’s a great way to draw people in and start a conversation. If possible, you may even want to stand in front of your stall to hand them out. Samples are especially applicable for food businesses, but other products can be sampled too. You could allow people to test your soap or hand cream, or give them a demonstration of how to wear a new scarf stylishly. If you make jewellery, clothes or similar, wear your product with pride!

5. Get people’s contact details

Use your stall as an opportunity to build up your email marketing list. Have a sign up sheet asking for a person’s name and email address and be clear why you want it and what you’ll be sending them, for example a regular newsletter. It’s a great way to keep in contact with people who show interest in your business but perhaps aren’t quite ready to purchase yet.

6. Start conversations

Stand up and show interest in the people browsing past your stall. A simple ‘Hello’ and a smile can be all it takes. Or perhaps a comment on the weather, how busy it is or asking how they’re enjoying the event. Visitors want to feel drawn to both you and your stall and are often curious about what you’re selling. Once you start chatting, you can tell them a little more about your business and products. And visitors are more likely to remember you if you have a chat and show interest in what they’re up to that day.

7. Talk to the other stall holders

Chatting with your stall neighbours can help in several ways. You might just need someone to watch your stuff while you pop to the toilet. But you might also learn more about the event you’re at, especially if it’s a regular market, or make a useful business connection. Browse other stalls to get a good idea of the products on offer at the event and to get inspiration for your presentation at future stalls.


Want to learn more about marketing your start up business? Get more on my blog here.

Interested in setting up your own bread making business from home? Read more about my bread baking business start up course here.

Feature photo how to start using live video in your food business

How to start using live video in your food business

Would you like to start engaging more with potential customers and attracting more interest in your business? Live video is one simple, free way to do this, offering a personal insight into you, your business and what you offer. But going live can be daunting – so here are my top tips for getting started using live video to shout about your food business.

What is live video? 

Live video is big now on all social media platforms – from Facebook and Instagram Live to Twitter Periscope. Video content now represents 74% of internet traffic and live video is especially favoured by the major social media platforms. You can broadcast live using just a smartphone and the relevant app, for example choose to write a post on your Facebook business page and choose the ‘Go Live’ option to start a live video.

Purple Loaf live video screenshot

Practice makes (almost) perfect

The great thing about live video broadcasts is that viewers don’t expect perfection. So try not to worry too much about lighting and how you look – it’s how you engage your audience that matters. But do practice in advance – get used to holding the camera so that viewers can see your face, or anything that you’d like to show them. Practice speaking out loud about your product or service if this isn’t something you do regularly. It might help to imagine that you’re speaking to a potential customer.

Prepare for your live video

Do think about what you’re going to say before you start broadcasting but try not to read from a script – you’ll sound stilted. Make sure to cover off the basics – who you are, what your business is and why you’re broadcasting today. Have any props you need close to hands and remember to reference your website or social media links – let viewers know how to find out more about you.

Be clear on why your audience should keep watching – how are you going to engage them? Make sure you’re broadcasting something that’s useful for your intended customers. Don’t just sell! You could:

  • Give a behind-the-scenes peek at how a product is made – where do you cook and why?
  • Discuss the ingredients you use and why – are they organic, vegan, locally sourced?
  • Go live at an event you’re attending – perhaps your regular food market or a local festival. Introduce your stall and the products you’re selling.
  • Answer FAQs about your products such as how to use it in home cooking, how best to cook it, whether it’s suitable for specific diets.
  • Tackle an issue your potential customers may face that also relates to your business. Maybe it’s how to brew the perfect coffee, bake the perfect loaf or grow great veg. You’ll help your viewers as well as showcasing your expertise.

Produce your live video

Great, you’re going live! Take a deep breath, smile and be enthusiastic and it will come across in your video. Think about your location – can you showcase your shop, market stall or where you produce your product? Ensure there’s enough light so that your face can be seen. Also consider when you broadcast – try to be online when your audience is, for example early evening.  Say hello to anyone who tunes in live – remember it’s social! And once you’re done, make sure to save the video so that it can be viewed on catch up, reaching even more people.

So what are you going to cover in your first live broadcast? Get in touch and let me know!

Want to understand more about using social media effectively to shout about your new food business? Book a one-to-one social media support call with me today.