A La Carte: Restaurant + Food PR News & Trends (Star Wars, Facebook Live)

Happy Friday!

The force was strong this week as brands emerged from the dark side to share all sorts of Star Wars-related posts. Want the scoop on this week’s food PR news? Keep reading, you will.

Social Spotlight: May the 4th

The force was with us all on May 4th, which has been dubbed as Star Wars Day. Accompanied with the hashtag #MayThe4thBeWithYou, millions of social media posts from galaxies far, far away paid tribute to the iconic movie series. Some brands took the opportunity to highlight a product or special, and others just made funny jokes or wrote a creative play on words with some of Star Wars’ well-known phrases. Food brands had their share of fun, too:

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Trend Watch: Facebook Live

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There’s always something new with social media giant Facebook. In order to compete with Twitter’s Periscope and other live-streaming apps, Facebook has jumped into the ring with Facebook Live. Facebook opened the streaming service up to brands in December of 2015, and while brands have been slow to adopt it, this feature is likely to gain more momentum soon.

One of the first brands to try out Facebook Live was Dunkin’ Donuts, who conducted a Facebook Live stream for this past Valentine’s Day and took viewers inside “Dunkin’ Brands University.” The Facebook Live video resulted in 4,000 likes and a total of 31,680 views – pretty successful for a first try.

Facebook Live could potentially change the way social media managers use the platform, so brand managers should make themselves familiar with it now.

The Basics

  • Users can stream from mobile, and view on mobile and desktop.
  • Viewers can comment in real time during a stream, as well as use ‘live reactions’ (which are the same as how Facebook users can react to a post).
  • Users can send an invitation to view to a Facebook friend.
  • The maximum time limit currently is 30 minutes for a broadcast.
  • Unlike Periscope and Meerkat, whose videos disappear after a time limit, Facebook Live videos exist indefinitely, which is very useful for brands.

Over the last year, video – especially live streaming video – has gained a lot of traction in the social media space. As brands continue warming up to Facebook Live, it will be interesting to see where they take this new streaming service.

PR Lesson: Testing the Waters of a New Network

Social media platforms are constantly evolving and changing. If it’s not a new network popping up, it’s a new tool to use on Facebook, a new feature for Snapchat or a total analytics overhaul on Twitter. Before using a new tool for a brand you manage, take these cautionary steps:

  1. Research the network rules
    Each social media network has different rules about using the network. The average person wouldn’t likely take the time to read the fine print, but if a brand doesn’t follow the rules, it could have unfortunate effects. What are the regulations for content? What kind of behavior can you or can you not ask of your followers?
  2. Practice on a personal account
    It might not be wise for your first live stream or post to be from a brand’s account. If you make a mistake, now the brand name is on the line. Can you edit posts? How do hashtags work? How do you see how many people viewed your Snap story? Create a personal account for yourself or someone else on your team, and practice taking video, interacting with other users and really learn the inner-workings of the platform.
  3. Understand the etiquette
    Brand managers already know this – social norms, if you will, vary from network to network. Some content is better suited for Twitter, some for LinkedIn. If you’re introducing your brand to a new platform or a new feature, be sure to do your research and pay attention to how other users engage, share and interact with the network.

The social space is ever evolving and changing, and as PR pros it’s our job to be on top of any ways we and our client brands can connect effectively with our audiences.

Hungry For More?

Thanks for stopping by for this week’s A La Carte food industry news! Do you have any advice for testing the waters of a new social media network? Tweet with us @ThinkBelleCom

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As an Account Executive for Belle Communications, Mary helps our clients grow their brands with smart and strategic content across social media platforms and targeted media coverage. Mary is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University, where she studied communications and writing. Her favorite things to do in her free time are running, reading and traveling.

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