Jun 23
by Doug Piper

Social Media & Websites

Many butchers use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to communicate with their customers. Telling the stories about what they have on offer for the day/week, new products, new employees even investments they have made to enhance their businesses like fit outs, new machinery etc and they do it professionally. Then others tend to go off the rails a bit using social media to show some very weird acts that go on in their stores forgetting the reason why they set out to use social media in the first place.

Some butchers forget that their customers and potentially “new customers” follow them and look at their pages for inspiration and ideas for that quick and easy meal solution or something special they can cook up for their family or friends. Instead of being inspired to go and buy something, they are horrified at some of the antics that go on and the language used in some of the posts. Then there are those “key board warriors” who post negative things on other industry pages, guess what, these pages are not private pages in most cases, your customers may be following these pages as well or show up as a notification that “Fred has posted a comment on …. page”. Imagine how they would feel seeing some of the derogative remarks that are directed towards fellow butchers or customers about things like loyalty.

A lot of what I am seeing lately is a lack of positive comments and encouragement to the younger people who have entered the trade, who are proud of their first rolled roast or tray of lamb cutlets. These apprentices are proud of what they have done and encouragement goes a long way, we have a huge shortage of apprentices coming through and no wonder why when all some want to do is criticise. Remember these people are the future of our industry and without them coming through the ranks, butchers will be even harder to find. Be positive and sensitive to the people who may not be as skilled or have the experience or knowledge as you; offer constructive, supportive advice.

It is so important to avoid being caught up in the moment…. Okay….. You may feel the need to vent your anger from time to time, or feel that we have been let down, be careful and think twice before you post or comment on it, or do what I do, type out the response, sit on it for 5 minutes, think about the possible repercussions and then delete it! Remember these comments are out there forever!

Use social media platforms to engage with customers or your target markets, think about who may see your posts and what can you put up to encourage them to shop with you. We see some fantastic photography from butchers, nice clean meat shots and well-presented videos and very proud of what they do. Social media can be an effective tool when used correctly however if you want to encourage customers to shop with you create a website and use social media to direct them to it to order.

Building a websites is probably outside of a lot of our comfort zones, myself included. If you do some research, look at some of the online website builders, you should get an estimate of what kind of website you need and an approximate cost. You will need to factor in the cost of keeping the website updated to keep your customers engaged and you can still use social pages for that as well, so if you haven’t; give yourself a marketing budget each year and use it for that. I remember talking with a very successful butcher in Victoria about 10 years ago, on a Red Meat Networking Club tour, he told me he puts aside $40K a year for marketing, I questioned, “that was a lot of money how can you afford that?” His response was, “I have a lot of money invested in my business, I cannot I afford not too”, and yes, he is still thriving in business today.

The events of the past 18 months have changed the way many shoppers purchase everything. You would have been affected as well in your own shopping habits. The retail chains have seen a huge increase in online ordering, however even though their fresh meat sales are strong there are still queues outside independent retail butcher shops around Australia.

Why not look at making the shop a little easier? Offer an online ordering service or some are offering a click or call and collect service. The less time shoppers spend in busy supermarkets the safer they are feeling and less likely to catch something they do not want.

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