December 12, 2009

Facebook and Social Marketing

Facebook, the social network that allows users to create a mini-website about themselves or their company, recently surpassed a major milestone: 250 million users. That’s no small number. And yet, if Facebook maintains this growth, millions more will join in the coming months. Talk about a mass market of potential consumers for your product! Facebook can provide returns to your food business in purchases and new revenue. Like any medium available - radio, television, online advertising consider your consumers and offer incentives as 'facebook only' specials. But remember, this is more than a medium it is actually set-up for conversation. If you think Facebook and Social Media are not for your food company you better re-think that idea. Look who is on Facebook and their fans: Publix Sub Sandwiches – 74,000 fans Walmart 280,000 fans Target 665,000 fans Kroger 7,500 fans Wegmans 90,000 fans Wegmans on Twitter 2,400 fans Here are some quick pointers on facebook and social marketing: • While social media like Facebook and Twitter can lead to sales, first consider this a starting point for conversing with consumers. Use social networks to strengthen trust first and sales will follow. • Remember that social media is a two-way street. Don’t just post and leave, you have to be prepared to participate in a dialogue. • Leverage content you already have. Have a press release? Instead of just sending the news to the media, post the news to your Facebook “wall” and “tweet” the headline via Twitter. Create a Flickr account and upload your company’s photo and logo, or upload company videos to YouTube and Vimeo (my daughter Sarah showed me this site for the first time). Once you’re comfortable with basic tactics, you can deploy bigger ideas and create unique social media content. • Try using social media for customer service. Let it be known that you respond to customer inquiries via Facebook and Twitter. Try posting product guides as slideshows on YouTube (hint, you can find slideshow conversion software online, for free). • Give your facebook fans and friends a special coupon offer or code. Consider how your facebook fan page integrates into your overall market plan and coordinate the offer with your brand. Provide facebook only specials and they will pay you back by bringing you more fans. Oh, and they will probably buy stuff, too. • You don’t have to hire an outside consultant to handle social media. While this may be necessary for some companies, your food business can “dabble” before they invest in outside resources. Have an intern or niece? Put ‘em on the social media case. With a minimal time investment and a bit of courage, even the most hardened technophobe can better acquaint themselves with social media and take advantage of the opportunities these “many-to-many” networks offer. Get started today, and you might just find yourself ahead of your biggest competition, too. What actions are you taking to grow your business? Send a note or comments to also, follow me on Twitter I want to hear about your success!
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