Stress much about social media? You’re not alone. The platform choices are endless. And deciding what to post and when is enough to drive anyone batty. Food truck owners have a harder go than the average social media user because so much of their businesses rely on customer outreach and engagement through social channels.
Let’s end the madness, shall we? To do so, let’s focus on data to tell the true story of which social media channels work best.
Specifically, the FoodTruckr team analyzed how a diverse sample size of food truck owners use the two heavy hitters in social media: Twitter and Facebook. Our unscientific study included 60 trucks from across the country. The trucks we studied had followings ranging in size from 22 to 109,270 Twitter followers and from 100 to 47,074 Facebook ‘Likes.’
Here’s what we found.
Which Platform Gets More Followers?
All together, the food trucks we studied had a total of 453,065 followers on Twitter and 267,006 likes on Facebook—an average of about 1.7 Twitter followers for every Facebook like. Overall, 57 percent of food truck owners had more Twitter followers than they did likes on Facebook.
Does that mean that it’s easier to get people to follow you on Twitter—or that food truck owners are promoting their Twitter accounts more? Not so fast, grasshopper. Those are just the first data points. But they do establish context: Twitter appears to have greater influence potential as compared to Facebook.
It’s worth noting that fans may be more likely to follow you on Twitter because the platform promotes super-short messages of only 140 characters. Brevity is appreciated in social media, which is Twitter’s bread and butter.
Which Platform Do Food Trucks Use More?
We tallied the total number of public tweets and retweets that our food truck sample size posted between August 30th and September 5th—along with the total number of public posts, likes, and comments they made on their Facebook pages between the same dates.
Our finding mirrored that of audience size: Food truck owners sent a total of 1,353 tweets and made 812 interactions on Facebook—an average of 1.67 tweets for every Facebook interaction.
Twitter surpassed Facebook once again, which may not be that surprising considering the majority of food trucks have larger Twitter followings. The lesson: spend your time where your audience spends its time.
Which Platform Gets More Responses?
Want your social media efforts to matter? Then care a lot about your engagement stats. Without engagement from your fans, social media is nothing more than a distraction. That’s why we analyzed interaction metrics like retweets; we wanted to know what kind of results food trucks were getting from their audiences.
To measure this, we tallied the total number of public tweets, retweets, and mentions from Twitter followers as well as the total number of public posts, likes, and comments from users on Facebook. This analysis was conducted during the same date range: August 30th to September 5th.
We found that food truck owners received 2,453 tweets back from their followers. Pretty solid, right? We thought Twitter was again going to trump Facebook. Surprise! Facebook garnered 3,822 interactions. That result is impressive enough for Facebook. But Facebook one-ups itself when you compute the per-update return-on-investment ratio.
Recall that food truck owners sent a total of 1,353 tweets, which resulted in 2,453 engagement tweets. That’s a 1.81 average engagement rate. Now, Facebook. 812 updates resulted in 3,822 interactions. That’s a 4.71 average engagement rate—a 260 percent increase over Twitter.
Sorry Twitter, you just got trounced.
How Do Food Truck Owners Determine Which Platform to Use?
From the data, Facebook reigns supreme as the #1 social media platform for food truck customer engagement. But does that mean you should deactivate your Twitter account and go whole-hog into Facebook?
Absolutely not. To prove the point, we examined the correlation of social engagement with the food truck’s audience size, on a per-truck basis. We found that 72 percent of food truck owners get more responses from the platform where they have more followers. This finding reinforces the key lesson: spend your time where your audience spends its time.
Which Platform Should You Use?
There are clear benefits to using both Twitter and Facebook. Since both are the two undisputed heavy hitters, you likely want to establish a social presence on both. Just realize that social norms and habits differ between the two. Hence, be sure you’re creating content and engaging fans appropriate to those platforms.
For example, Twitter is best for short bursts of information as well as personal, witty updates that make you likable. Facebook is better for longer updates and multimedia content that grants more “behind the scenes” access into your meals and business.
Reflecting back on the lower engagement rates we saw on Twitter, those results may have surfaced because food truck owners aren’t using Twitter as it was intended. For example, we saw several trucks who had incomplete Facebook messages auto-posting to Twitter with short links that sent the user right back to Facebook. That’s a rather crummy user experience that risks driving away fans. The lesson here is simple: don’t auto-post from one social platform to another; keep them unique and tailored to their respective strengths.
Stay tuned to FoodTruckr in the future to learn more about the best practices to follow for both Twitter and Facebook—as well as the most effective types of content that will get people interested in your truck.
Until then, share your social media tips and tricks in the comments below. Which of the two have you found to be most effective for your food truck business, and why?
image by Jason A. Howie