A La Carte NACE Blog
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Thrive Tip #1: How to Get Started with Social Media Growth

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between a catering company that is just barely surviving and one that’s thriving?  Some might say a failing business has poor food quality or a lack of creativity, while others blame it on an overly saturated market.

I think the answer is much more basic: Lack of knowledge.  More accurately, it is a lack of business knowledge.  Yes, I know the cliché “knowledge is power” is a bit overdone, but its powerful message definitely applies here.

Learning about and implementing marketing and business strategies can help you turn around your operation and create sustainable growth. Most caterers, chefs, restaurant owners, hospitality professionals, and other food and beverage entrepreneurs don’t have a sales, marketing, business strategy, or analytics background.  You have the talent, passion, and drive but may not be growing as fast as you could with a bit more business know-how.

You’re probably thinking, “Ok, great.  I don’t have time to go back to school and I don’t really want to.  Plus, I don’t think classroom lessons would give me info specific enough to make a difference in my catering company.”  Don’t even worry about it.   Between now and July, I will be helping you out through a six-part blog series that dishes on the “Top 6 Tips for Creating a Thriving Catering Brand.” That means no business school needed to get started with putting more dollars into your bank account. Woo hoo!

Want to know what else is pretty nifty?  On July 25, I’ll be hosting a live webinar to dive deeply into and expand on the content from the most popular Thrive Tip in the series. The blog post with the most views will become our webinar topic.  Vote for your favorite topic by sharing the post via email and social media to increase the views.

Key Pain Points

I developed this blog series (and the upcoming webinar) based on the most common pain points that stand in the way of business breakthrough for food and beverage entrepreneurs.

  1. Attracting new clients – Not knowing where to find them or how to connect with them
  2. Retaining clients – Not knowing how to maintain the client relationship, upsell, and ensure quality references without being too sales
  3. Scaling the business – How to leverage their expertise, grow sustainably, and develop multiple streams of income to provide business stability and share their talents with a wider audience
  4. Working on vs. in the business – Spending so much time keeping all of the moving parts flowing smoothly that they do not focus on growth, which leads to dry spells and potentially having to get a part-time job to make ends meet
  5. Defining a niche – Trying to be everything to everyone. Not knowing how to be the standout authority in your area of expertise and passion to attract your perfect clients. Letting the fear of missing out (FOMO) affect your strategy
  6. Marketing strategy – Don’t understand how to market properly, are confused about where to go for relevant advice and don’t know how to take the first steps. This is especially true when it comes to social media

Are those issues that you struggle with?  Well, struggle no more! I’ll be providing proven and effective solutions and ideas to resolve each pain point.  Relief is on the way, starting with one of my favorite solutions: Social Media.

Thrive Tip #1: How to Get Started with Powerful Social Media Growth

Kylie Jenner just became the youngest self-made and first selfie-made billionaire (yes, that’s billion with a “b”).  Her main advertising channel? Social media. “It’s the power of social media,” Jenner says. “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”

I hope that just got the attention of all of you who were thinking social media is just a time suck and not a “real” business tool.  Kylie’s success isn’t a fluke, or something just reserved for people with mega-followings.  According to Sprout Social, social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel.  That means if you aren’t posting, you aren’t profiting.

The biggest question you should be asking yourself is not “Should I use social media to grow my business.”  You should be jumping out of your seat while asking, “How should I use social media to grow my business?!”  So glad you asked.

Top 3 Social Media Growth Tips

There are many ways to get closer to Kylie status, but here are my top 3 favorite strategies  to create professional social media accounts with highly converting content that will keep your calendar booked.

Post relevant, value-adding content on a consistent basis.

Content is queen (or king).  You need to dive into your target audience and create posts that have them saying, “Wow.  They really get me.” Ask questions to yourself like:

  • “What are my biggest customer needs?”
  • “How do I meet those needs and add value?”
  • “What would make the life of my customer easier/better/more enjoyable?”

Hold back from the hard sell and start talking about things that add value to your target audience.

Make sure to post daily.  If you do it all yourself, yes, that means dedicating a few days a month to write, research, and schedule your posts.  But, consistent posting is the most sure-fire way to see growth.

Post what you sell.

While you are adding value to your audience, you also want to see a return on your time investment. How? Post what you sell.

While you may be an awesome soccer player, if your account is about your catering business, focus on related topics like the best champagne to have at your wedding or the top floral trends for events.  You can share a bit about yourself to build the know, like and trust factor, but your social media accounts should be used to provide context to your business and nudge towards sales.


Think of Instagram as one massive party.  If you stay hugging the wall and don’t get out on the dance floor, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to meet new people, share interests, and explore new ideas.  Get started with engagement as if you’re working the room at your next shindig.  Here are a few engagement ideas:

  • Ask questions in your posts to spark a conversation
  • Respond to comments on your posts with authenticity, not canned responses.
  • Comment on other people’s posts with real feedback and ideas
  • Personal request: Please don’t just use emojis. The in-person equivalent would be a dubious and creepy smile and nod.  People don’t quite know what you mean, how to react, or what to do next.  Don’t be “that” person at the party.

Above all, remember to be yourself. Engage from the heart and make the connection.

>>> To help you better engage on Instagram, I am giving you a FREE Guide to get started. Click here to download 5 Quick Strategies to Better Convert Instagram Users and Build Authentic Engagement.

Next up, we’ll be talking about “Thrive Tip #2: How to Create a Visual Brand that Attracts Your Perfect Client.”  If you want to feel more confident about your brand, learn how to build consistency, and connect with your target client, then you won’t want to miss it.


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Most catering and events business owners fail at making money doing what they love because they don't know how to market themselves. Through her company, Flourish Marketing, Aleya offers marketing education, strategy, and tools that help wedding, catering, and events business owners stop staring at a blank calendar and start getting and keeping a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who also happens to be an award-winning, marketing strategist, brand manager, content developer, and storyteller. She has a background as a marketing executive on the leadership teams of large foodservice organizations and has also been a private chef and catering company owner. Aleya speaks your language and understands your challenges. She knows how important it is to work in your passion. That's why for the past 12 years, she has been focused on helping over 1,000 accounts, brands, and business owners to be successful. Aleya is a dynamic interpersonal communicator and presenter with the exceptional ability to inspire, motivate, and equip her audience. She loves opportunities to connect, help people develop, and create the space for her fellow entrepreneurs to see their visions manifest.

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