Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Word On the Street About Food Trucks

This semester, I am taking a special topics course about social media in PR. The class allows students to learn important theories and concepts about social media use and then apply them to simulated campaigns for real clients that are in competition with each other. After debating over local coffee shops, bars and breweries, the class decided to represent various food trucks on campus. Temple's campus is well known for these meals-on-wheels facilities there are always debates surrounding which truck is the best (The Crepe Truck, obviously!). While doing research for our campaign, I realized that food trucks are becoming a popular trend and have begun to explore the various aspects of social media. Throughout my research I came across a great article from Ogilvy Public Relation's blog: 360 Digital Influence about food trucks "thinking outside of the (lunch)box" about ways to connect with their publics both online and offline.


Online:

• Mobile Meteor just launched a new app (it works with an existing Twitter account) that optimizes food truck websites for smartphones, so they can reach new customers who may not use Twitter as regularly. A Google map feature with their exact location will automatically appear on the mobile site. With half of all Americans expected to own smartphones by the end of 2011, it will be interesting to see how many trucks go this “route”.

• Huge corporations see the value of reaching consumers through food trucks -- Virgin America worked with Loopt and rebranded two taco trucks in California with specials to market the airline’s new flights to Mexico.

• Food trucks are joining forces on tracker sites, like Food Truck Fiesta (DC) and Mobile Cravings (which covers about 30 cities), making it simple for fans to get a quick glimpse at the daily food truck scene.

Offline:
• Trucks are hosting unique events, often with partners, to expand their fan base and build loyalty. Seattle’s Skillet, doesn’t just care about your lunch. They care if you have a hot date, or at least something to do on Valentine’s Day. They’re teaming up with two other local vendors to host a street food style v-day.

• Rather than let the Twitter-challenged resort to fast food chains, Holton Farms (a farmer’s market on wheels) has a 1-800 number, which provides info on the truck’s location when it’s on the move.

• Food trucks are using social media for social good, by getting behind local charities that their followers care about. DC’s TaKorean truck donates 1% of gross sales to local environmental and youth based non-profit organizations – and they write about it on their community giving blog.

I am really looking forward to learning more about this upcoming market and how they are successfully utilizing social media to increase their awareness and traffic with the public! Are there any other ways food trucks are getting the word out via social media? Let us know!

4 comments:

Maggie ☮ said...

sounds like a really awesome class :)

Food Truck Fan said...

Good luck on your project, there is a lot of information out there. If you would like to learn more about the industry nationally, check out Mobile Cuisine Magazine at http://mobile-cuisine.com

Food Truck Fan said...

Good luck on your project, there is a lot of information out there. If you would like to learn more about the industry nationally, check out Mobile Cuisine Magazine at http://mobile-cuisine.com

Niki Ianni said...

Thank you! I will be sure to write another blog post later on in the semester about how the project is going.

Food Truck Fan- thank you for the great resource!