Boise Fry Company Social Media Marketing Plan Strategy:
Established in 2008, Boise Fry Co. was a start-up niche establishment in the food service industry. Its primary focus was burgers and fries, but in this case, fries were the main entree, with burgers being the side entree. The company’s vision was to provide a "no guilt fry experience”, providing health conscious choices to food lovers. Boise Fry Co. is proud to offer locally grown potatoes, produce and free range bison and beef. Boise Fry Co. philosophy is to provide delicious food with only the freshest ingredients, vegan alternatives, no preservatives, MSG, trans fat, or processed toppings.
“After a brief run-in with the Idaho Potato Commission over the company’s name – originally called Idaho Fry Company, the company was able to quickly experience success” (Moeller, 2010). The company’s two partners, a chef and sharp businessman, have been able to successfully launch a start-up restaurant in poor economic times.
Boise Fry Co. is a fairly new establishment, but it has made a big impression in the restaurant/food service industry. It has been promoted by the Food Network and ESPN on College Game Day. It has also won many “Best of” awards in Boise and the Treasurer Valley (Moeller, 2010), and is ranked in the top lists on Urban Spoon; internet restaurant/social media website, for Boise.
Boise Fry Co.'s value proposition is:
"We offer non-processed fresh hot potato fries accompanied by all natural beef buffalo and vegan burgers for a healthy and conscious alternative for food lovers who want to design their meal with delicious choices from locally grown ingredients."
This proposition articulates its differentiated brand. Boise Fry. Co. isn't your average burger and fry restaurant. Fries come first as the main course, and burgers come second. It features locally grown potatoes, produce and free range bison and beef. It engages consumers’ participation with “Create your own fry” choices. Alternative choices include great tasting vegan burgers. The company’s philosophy is health conscious, sustainable, eco-friendly, community minded, and hip.
The competition for restaurants in Boise is very high, no matter which style is offered; the burger and fry segment may be the highest of all. In fact, Urban Spoon, an online restaurant guide, has over 100 spots listed in the Boise area. These range from locally owned with only one location to the big, corporate chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King. The social media effort being put forth by these companies vary in variety and effectiveness, and we have focused on two of them.
Five Guys Burgers Five Guys Burgers is a national chain of restaurants that are available for franchising. Its website is easy to navigate and contains information on franchising, testimonials, and online ordering information. However, it is not store specific and does not contain links to its Facebook or Twitter accounts; a further search is needed to find these. These do contain good information once found and have many followers, but again are limited and are not store specific. Its Facebook has almost 400,000 likes, and Twitter has almost 8,000 followers. While these contain a lot of reviews and testimonials, these are filled with information and posts primarily focused on new store openings. With the many resources associated with a large corporate chain restaurant, a more effective use of social media marketing could be used for this business that gets its customers engaged on a more personal level with individual stores.
Hawkin’s Pac-Out Hawkin’s Pac-Out is a small, locally owned burger and fry restaurant located near Boise Fry Co that provides a good example of effective use of social media. Its website is easy to navigate and has links to its Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as an option to sign up for an e-club. This company is effectively engaging its customers, as seen by the many comments and over 1,000 likes on its Facebook page. The posts made to this page, and its Twitter account, are mostly about new menu items and specials being offered and these all have people commenting on them. They make a post every day and offer specials from these pages. There are pictures of customers and the food on here as well.
Based on an analysis of the environment both externally and internally, we drew these conclusions:
• Sells a healthy alternative French fry
• Differentiated product
• Locally owned
• Meta keywords used
• Search Engine Optimization strong
• Community involved events
• Social Media community established
• Website is user friendly
• Website does not have a lead sign up option (email marketing)
• Phone number located on bottom of homepage.
• No customer testimonials not on website
• Lack of health related links on website
• No menu item photo gallery
• Community engagement not a priority
• Restaurant location
• Social media engagement
• Community involvement
• Vegetarian/Vegan Lifestyle
• Green movement
• Target market has high levels of discretionary income
• Cheaper alternatives; fast food restaurants
• Boise has high levels of unemployment
• Boise isn't vegetarian/vegan friendly
• High levels of obesity in the United States
• Negative criticism on "fast food"
• Whole Foods Opening
• Competitive rivalry is high
• Competitors using e-mail lists
Boise Fry Co.'s target market is the local Boise American food consumer; burgers and fries. At first glance, it would seem a fast food consumer but with the Boise Fry Co.'s differentiated product, that statement doesn't hold up. Specific characteristics of its target market are:
-Health conscious, both environmentally and personally due to its practices when it comes to its ingredients, preparation, and cooking methods of its food.
-An interest in supporting local business and putting money back into the local economy
-Higher levels of discretionary income due to the ability to afford it's higher priced fries and burger items.
-The support of humanitarian-related activities and organizations based on it's support of organizations that train refugees, its selection in beef, and it's support of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles in regards to animal rights.
With their target market being more health conscious, and possessing higher levels of income, the ability to generate a higher profit is possible due to the ability to charge higher prices. Further, with the environment and health being a concern that means that its customers are going to be concerned with practices that best benefit the environment of that around them as well as their own body. Offering food and practices that might be less costly and more damaging are going to dissatisfy them. They would then be just like the competition and lose their competitive advantage. The importance of animal rights possesses both threats and opportunities. It poses threats in the sense that one of the items they serve is beef patties but at the same time, due to their emphasis on potatoes and vegan items available, it's seen more of an opportunity since they're catering to a particular segment; especially since Boise has a very limited vegan/animal rights friendly restaurant market.
Their target market's interest in the local economy/small business provides both opportunities and threats. Opportunities in that since Boise Fry Company is a local sector, they're going to be more included to support their restaurant over the competition; Boise has plenty of burger joints. It's a threat in the sense that due to the low levels of employment and income currently being faced by the local Boise economy, many customers aren't going to be as concerned with supporting smaller business and be willing to spend that additional dollar or two to keep the money flowing within the local economy. They're going to be concerned with saving their money where ever possible.
Goal and Recommendations:
The Future of Boise Fry Company
Boise Fry Co. is looking to move its business forward. It is hoping to open up a second location in the future. Therefore, its ultimate goal is to increase brand awareness in order to generate a high enough demand/to gain enough profits to enable an expansion into a second location.
In order to reach this goal, there needs to be an incentive for the owners of Boise Fry Company to invest the time, money, and overall risk of opening a new location. Boise Fry Company has the ability to use social media to help achieving this goal. Through the use of social media, Boise Fry Company increases its chance to open a second location.
In regards to social media, the Boise Fry Company has a loyal group of customers. This loyalty can be seen from their Facebook friend list, wall post engagements, and Twitter followers. Its social media presence is there. That enables for a competitive advantage in that its community is already established. Boise Fry Company now needs to harness this community, and enable them to act as advocates as well as engage its community further. Its ability to extend its reach is much easier compared to a firm who would need to first build its brand and community online.
In order to leverage and move forward and help reach its goal, a social media strategy must be implemented.
Step 1: Establish Boise Fry Company's company goals with its social media strategy:
In order for Boise Fry Company to reach its goals of its social media strategy, it needs to:
-Increase brand awareness
-Acquire new customers
-Share content relevant to its target market
-Retain previous customers
-Increase user generated content
-Improve search engine optimization
With these goals being met, their brand awareness would improve. With an increase in brand awareness, more people would be aware of Boise Fry Company, and their ability to acquire new customers would increase. With new customers comes more profit, which brings Boise Fry. closer to its ultimate goal.
With the sharing of content relevant to its target market, the ability to capture and keep clients interested with what Boise Fry Company has to say is improved. Also, with the sharing of relevant content, it's more likely to be shared, allowing for further increased brand awareness.
With the increase in user generated content, Boise Fry has the ability to create and strengthen customer relationships as well as allow for customer to customer relationships to form. With these relationships in place, and maintained comes customer loyalty. From customer loyalty comes the idea of these customers will act as brand advocates for Boise Fry Co.
While their brand awareness improved, content being generated by users and relationships being a focal point, the ability to improve its search engine optimization is possible. Discussion of these specifics will be mentioned in the recommendation section.
With all of these previous goals being met, it will lead to the last goal, to increase profits. With the profits increasing, Boise Fry Co. will be able to reach their final goal, of being able to open a second location.
Step 2: Develop metrics to measure the strategies success
Currently Boise Fry Co. uses Google analytics to measure its website traffic and usage, which can add plenty of useful information. However, there are more ways to measure your social media presence. Google analytics/Facebook applications are available. YouTube provides free analytics for your videos that are accessible through your YouTube account. Boise Fry Co. should also create various posts encouraging user responses to gain a better understanding of their target market and what will enable it to better drive its business. Going through their social networks each day and counting their user generated content/comments/reposts/adds/requests/views would be fairly easy and if done on a regular basis relatively quick. Counting the number of submitted "contact us" forms off of their website would also need to me measured. From these results, importing the results from non-Google analytical related into an excel spreadsheet should be done. Coding or assigning the data into numerical responses for different categories would allow for Boise Fry Co. to quantify their responses. Once the results are quantified, Boise Fry Co. can generate results and draw conclusions based on an analysis of the data. Over time, Boise Fry Co. would be able to see the progress their social media was having on their business.
Step 3: How to leverage social media with Boise Fry Company; social media recommendations.
Based on the situation analysis, we feel these recommendations would best suit Boise Fry Co. and enable them to move forward and accomplish its goals.
-Implement e-mail marketing: Engage customers through opting in to an e-newsletter/subscription list.
Boise Fry Co. currently lacks any sort of e-mail marketing strategy. Boise Fry Co. would benefit from e-mail marketing because it would generate a number of benefits. The benefits of an e-mail marketing strategy include customer information, customer relationships, sales leads, keeping customers informed, and having the ability to see if its e-mail marketing strategy is being successful or not.
Boise Fry Co. must first set up an e-mail marketing program to allow for the strategy to work. Constant Contact, an e-mail marketing program, would allow for Boise Fry Co. to set up various tools to engage in an e-mail marketing strategy. Constant Contact e-mails do not appear in inbox folders as SPAM which is a huge benefit in trying to reach new e-mail accounts. Constant Contact allows you to import a list, export your email list, or any other type of data into their tools to create a contact list. With the contact lists in place, you can then create different customer segments. These different customer segments can receive different e-mails based on their segment they fall into. Since Boise Fry Co. already has a large online community, and looks to increase it, the automation scheduling capabilities of Constant Contact provide a huge time saver. Constant Contact charges by the size of the contact list, for example $50 for 500 contacts, and being that its initial social media friendlist/twitter followers is roughly 2000, it would cost about $200 for its contact list to be in use. Boise Fry Co. would have to generate $200 in sales to validate its implementation, and with its meal running an average of $8-10 a meal, selling about 20 meals would cover the costs.
Now with an email marketing program in place, getting customers to opt in is the next step.
To get customers to opt in and divulge their email to Boise Fry Co., offering customers the option of signing up for a newsletter is a good way to start. Informing customs of the benefits of opting in including company news and specials promotions only accessible through opting in are a great way to provide incentive and get people to join. With the customers opted in, starting out by providing relevant content as well as customer surveys is the next step. The content could take the form of recent company news, specials or events its running, and news related to the target market; health related news, local business/community news, or humanitarian, or updates made to its website or other social media sites.
With the surveys, sending out introduction surveys, and quarterly surveys to gather information from customers on things such as why they decided to try Boise Fry Co., what they enjoy, what are their favorite menu items, what new items did they enjoy, what would they like to see, ect. Within these surveys, sales leads could also be acquired through these e-mail surveys, enabling its chances for higher profits and an extended network. Asking permission for sales leads and if given, would it be okay to contact them are ways to go about acquiring the leads.
A benefit with all of this e-mail marketing is that with Constant Contact, analytics are in place to analyze the e-mail. You're about see who clicked on what, where the e-mail was sent, who opted out. This provides helpful information to measure its success or areas of improvement. Hindering an e-mail marketing strategies success is the roughly $200 set up cost and monthly fee to maintain the program. The information gathered, customer relationships formed/strengthened, and the potential sales leads outweigh the costs.
-Enable photo hosting: Create a Flickr account as well as upload photos to Facebook page of Boise Fry Company menu items.
Currently Boise Fry Co. lacks any photo hosting through its website of it's menu food items, and the only pictures posted on its Facebook for this are on it's wall. Going through and trying to find specific menu items you are interested in can be quite a chore and annoying and lead to customer dissatisfaction. Which is why Boise Fry Co. needs to enable photo hosting of its food menu items whether it be done through Flickr and on its FaceBook page.
With Flickr, it should create an account and upload a picture of every item of food contained on the menu, as well as new additions or limited time special menu items. Flickr would allow for users to leave comments, share the photos with their networks, as well as connect with fellow users through the use of its account. Using key word searches, they could find users of similar interests; French fries or vegan burgers for example, and engage with them and build brand awareness. Also, with Flickr, they could post on Twitter or Facebook links to its Flickr page to check it out. Boise Fry Co. could also host on its website pictures from its Flickr account of customer favorite items and encourage users to visit its Flickr account for more images. On its Flickr account, it could include its website link to drive users back to its website for more information and hopefully get the user to go in for a purchase.
Along with Flickr, Boise Fry Co. could upload pictures to FaceBook since its community is already established here. Users could leave comments, share the picture with their networks, and user engagement whether it is business to consumer or consumer to consumer could follow. This would create for relationships to form or be strengthened, as well as Boise Fry Co.'s brand awareness to increase. Encouragement of its pictures and providing incentives is another way to extend its reach.
Flickr and Facebook album creation are free, so it provides no monetary outlay. The time is relatively quick, it takes minutes to upload a handful of pictures and include the information to accompany the pictures. With Facebook's automatic update of photos being uploaded, it saves time and with the amount of feedback that their content currently receives without encouragement of engagement, it's believed users would respond to the pictures posted, and engagement would follow.
-Advocate and engage in communication through social media: Leverage current social media websites to engage users to contribute communication and content and allow for user generated content to follow.
Boise Fry Co. has a large online community already established. Currently it has over 1000 fans on Facebook and almost 2000 followers on Twitter. When looking at its online posts, there is a lot of content being shared from business to consumer but there isn't any emphasis on consumer to business. This limits its social media reach and ability to move forward in its goals. Boise Fry Co. needs to engage and encourage its community to communicate on its social networks, in particular Facebook and Twitter. By posting content relevant to the target market, such as news and information on vegetarian/veganism, the local economy, the environment, and health, communication and user generated content will follow. Also, by asking for user’s responses, insights, and experiences on this content, further content and communication will occur. Encouraging similar communication in regards to Boise Fry Co. as what it serves, how it conducts business, or special events are other ways to engage and foster communication.
The more that it encourages responses, the more communication that will follow. With that communication comes more relationships formed and as well as current relationships strengthened. With these relationships and continuous communication comes more user generated content. With the user generated content follows the likeliness that it will be shared, or seen by each user’s network, allowing for Boise Fry Co.'s awareness to improve.
Offering incentives and rewards for the initial responses might be needed with brands with little to no community established, but with its wall posts already receiving feedback without encouraging it, it’s likely that such will not be need to be offered. The want to engage with Boise Fry Co. is present, and with it actively engaging and fostering the communication comes more communication, more relationships, better relationships, and improved brand awareness.
-Create a YouTube channel: Create a YouTube channel to share content relevant to Boise Fry Co. The content can be the story behind Boise Fry Company, up to date videos with recent happenings with the Boise Fry Co, as well as videos displaying the unique processes and time it puts into its food items.
YouTube would allow for Boise Fry Co. to demonstrate and show to customers via videos the special processes, time, and care it takes into making it's food for customers. It could also upload videos showcasing who Boise Fry Co. is since many people enjoy knowing the story behind small, local business, especially since its target market are small local businesses supporters. Videos on special promotions, and events could also be made for advertising purposes. YouTube is free and offers sharing ability to enable to increased brand awareness. The ability to comment videos allows for communication, engagement, and relationship building. Boise Fry Co. could also run special video contests to engage user generated contest and increase their brand exposure. Having users create video promotions for Boise Fry Co. and the winner getting a prize is a great way to enable Boise Fry Co content to be shared with various customers network. YouTube is free so it won't cost Boise Fry Co anything but time. The reach and exposure potential through YouTube outweighs the time. Also, with the user generated content potential through video contests, more time would be saved with customers contributing to newer videos. YouTube also offers analytics into their videos on your account that allows for understanding of its videos and the ability to improve and move forward.
YouTube is free and takes minutes to upload and take videos, so the risk involved with this is little to none. The engagement takes time but due to the limitation of characters in the responses, not that much time.
-Increase website links: Connect and link Boise Fry Co.'s website with websites that are relevant to its target market and its brand.
Boise Fry Co. has a specific target market is interested in a number of causes. Boise Fry Co. also has unique competitive advantages in the market. Taking advantage of these opportunities through social media usage is recommended. Currently, Boise Fry Co. provides some useful links in relation to these, but why stop at a few? It should provide several links on health-related websites, vegetarian/vegan related websites, local humanitarian-related websites, fellow local businesses, and restaurant directories; non-vegetarian and vegetarian/vegan a-like.
With these added links would come a higher Google ranking and improved search engine optimization; although it ranks high, it can’t hurt to improve it. With the increased links also comes increased brand awareness. With being more connected, users also have increased potential to find Boise Fry Co. through a linked site, and with the relevance of the link, become a loyal customer.
Step 4: Measure the social media recommendations results
Once it has implemented its social media recommendations, it is time to see what worked and what didn't, and specifics on each. The benefits of these recommendations are that with social media, it's free. Constant Contact costs some money, but it's a small cost in comparison to the potential sales it creates and the knowledge you can gain. Due to Boise Fry Co.'s already established online community, much time is saved because it does not have to create a community from its offline following to its online following. Boise Fry Co. has to strengthen its current community as well as bring in new customers and build its brand awareness further.
The opportunity costs involved with having its awareness larger could be the attraction of customers that might not fit its current target market. This could damage its brand image and hinder its atmosphere. However, due to the current prices it’s charging, and its desire to open a second location, it’s a risk that must be taken in order to expand. With such a unique product and the higher cost involved, it's unlikely that the average burger consumer is going to be interested.
For measuring the results, the results won't be over night, social media strategy takes time, but again, some time is saved due to its current presence. Measuring the results after 2 months of implementation would be a good indicator of where the recommendations were taking Boise Fry Co. Upon analyzing the results, it would be able to move forward with what worked well, and fix what didn't.
We feel that all of these recommendations will yield positive results and build and strengthen Boise Fry Company's social media presence. With an improvement in its social media presence, it allows for new customers, increased customer loyalty, more attention, and ultimately higher profits. With these higher profits come the ability to expand to a new location and the ability to continue to market their brand, product, and service to the Boise community.
Moeller, K. (2010, December 08). Boise fry co. has become a sizzling success. Idaho Statesman, p. A1.