What a simple Google+ post by BBC Good Food can tell us about social media in action

1. Go on Google+ at about 4pm to post something company related. 

2. See a post from BBC Good Food for halloumi with broccoli tabbouleh and honey-harissa dressing. 

3. Think about how I hadn't planned anything for dinner and oh my, this looks delicious.

4. Change route on way home to pass a supermarket. Buy ingredients. 

5. Cook. Eat. Yum.

So what's going on here?

A lot of head scratching goes on about the purpose of social media. Why are we all doing it? What are we trying to achieve? What are the returns?

I think this little snapshot of my thought processes yesterday gives an insight into the way it can be used effectively to change consumer behaviour and encourage loyalty to a brand.

So what can we take from this which we can apply to our activity on our own social media channels?

Think about when you're posting the content
An update about savoury food will work well in the afternoon but not first thing in the morning. It's also August – best save those posts about rib-sticking treacle puddings for autumn.

Make the text work with the picture
I love the phrase about making the couscous sing. It's not over the top, but it does suggest that what you're seeing in the picture is going to be pretty tasty. The text tells you clearly what's in the dish, which makes the content easily found by search engines.

Think about what you want people to do next
Share the post? Comment upon it? Visit your website? And what do you want them to do when they get there? 

In answer to the last one, there is also a number 6 in the list of actions I took after spotting the original post on Google+. This illustrates the way in which BBC Good Food has paid a lot of attention to the customer journey, guiding people to features which will be of interest and encouraging them to stay.

6. Save recipe to my personal online folder at BBC Good Food and give it a five-star rating. Take note of the option to share on my own social media channels (not today) and the offer of 3 issues of the magazine for £3 (not interested). Note the option to buy all the ingredients online via leading supermarket delivery services (look forward to returning to the site and merrily planning a whole week's shopping).

There is also a number 7:
Take photo of food, upload and share on Instagram.*
*OK, I'll be honest, I don't normally post pictures of my dinner but I'm willing to pimp my feed for a blog post. If BBC Good Food are as smart as I think they are, they'll spot all posts with the relevant hashtag and reward people by clicking like or even commenting to say how tasty their efforts look. 

Summary

When posting on social media, put yourself in your followers' shoes. Or on their plates!