The past few months have been trying for all businesses. It’s a completely new situation. One that we haven’t experienced before and one that we probably won’t ever forget.

But in amongst the stresses and strains of operating a business during a pandemic, there have been success stories. Like the Smokin’ Bean Truck, who managed to diversify their usual way of operating and spread the word of coffee on wheels in the local community, just through social media and word of mouth.

We’ve got the full case study that you can read here, but what learnings can you take from it to grow your coffee-loving community? Here are our tips:

Post on your social channels regularly

Even when we weren’t on the road, we kept on posting. This meant that our customers didn’t forget about us. They saw our pictures of delicious coffee every few days. It reminded them how much they love our coffee! Whatever happens, don’t forget your socials. Keep on posting regularly and keep interacting with your following.

social media apps on phone

Listen to your community

One of the most important things is that you really listen to your customers. The truck was getting a lot of requests to deliver coffee to people’s homes… so they did. Make sure you are on top of all your comments and you are open to take action. You can even outright ask your followers questions to find out more about them. Why not do an Insta Stories poll or a Twitter poll to find out what content they like to see from you? Or ask them what isn’t on your menu that they’d like to see. This information is gold and two-way conversation is a great way to build that community feel with your customers.

Use influencers

There were some real dedicated Smokin’ Bean Truck fans who would post on their social media whenever they bought a coffee or would promote the truck’s visit to their street. One of the ways this was encouraged was by re-sharing on the official social channels and giving loyal fans a coffee here and there as a thank you.

Make sure you reward your fans and those who influence others on social media – it’s a great way to say thank you and means that they are likely to continue singing your praises!

social shares

Be nimble and open to change

Obviously, we’re not suggesting you change your business for every single request, but if you do notice common themes in your comments that you can work on, act upon them as quickly as you can. It’s a good idea to keep on top of drink trends and change your menus accordingly. You can find up to date drinks trends in our Espresso Warehouse catalogue.

Tweak your menu

With a new audience of home workers as opposed to office workers, the need for sandwiches was reduced. This meant the food menu was changed up to reflect the needs of the home coffee-drinker.

Take a look at how your customers are consuming in the COVID-19 era – there may be menu changes you need to make to ensure you are providing what your customers need.

cookies and coffee

Seek official recommendations

Before going back on the road, the truck undertook a risk assessment from NCASS to check they were safe to operate. Don’t be afraid to reach out to official organisations for help. These can prove invaluable for putting your own minds at rest and for letting your customers know that you have taken all necessary precautions to keep them safe.

Read the full case study including testimonials from our customers here.

Follow the truck on Instagram here.

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