By Darcy Nybo
Using social media can be highly effective or a total waste of time. To help growers figure out how what’s truly useful, Orchard & Vine connected with Allison Markin and Melonie Dodaro – two social media marketing mavens.
Markin is a marketing consultant specializing in social media. She runs allshewrote.ca, and has become well known for a her eat.drink.tweet event.
Dodaro (topdogsocialmedia.com) is a social media strategist specializing in profitable social media campaigns.
Markin: If you are not on Facebook you are missing out. If you are running a business where you need the public interested in you, you need a business page. It is ideal to post on Facebook once or twice a day with 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. being the peak times.
If you are out in the field, just take a photo with your smart phone and post it on Facebook and say ‘this is how the chardonnay grapes are doing’ or ‘this is how the apples are doing.’ If you have a mascot for your farm, post photos. Visuals are very important on Facebook. They don’t need to look professional, as long as they show something that is happening right now.”
Dodaro: You need to follow the pages of the people who are your target market. Search them out and follow/like them. Go on at least once a day and like their posts and comment on them.
Another popular social media site is Twitter, which can connect to your target market, but you have to do it with only 140 characters.
Markin: If you aren’t going to use Twitter regularly don’t set up an account and let it die. Once you start, you need to keep going. People want to hear from you if they follow you. You can automate your Facebook posts to post on Twitter too.
Use hash tags (#) so people can find your tweets. The most common used is #bcwine and #bcfruit. I follow thousands of people on Twitter, and if I am looking for something particular, I will search under those hash tags. Twitter is like constant text messaging. People expect a much more immediate response.”
Dodaro: One of the great things about Twitter is you can create lists. For example you can find all the restaurants you want to sell to on Twitter. You can tweet to them directly or retweet their stuff to get their attention. Anything you do that has their name in it will get their attention. People want to be talked about on Twitter. It’s reciprocity. You share their stuff and they start sharing yours with their networks.
For those of you who just don’t have the time or the patience to be scheduling your life around social networking sites there’s Hootsuite.
Dodaro: It’s a social media dashboard. First you need a strategy, create tweets for your audience and then start engaging. You can actually schedule your tweet to come out every few hours. Your strategy should look something like this:
Create tweets for the day and schedule them.
Thank people for mentions and retweeting your stuff.
Engage with four or five of your target markets each day by either sharing their tweets or commenting on their tweets.”
With more than 800 social media sites out there, there’s no need to belong to all, and depending on what you do, blogging may be all you require.
Dodaro: Blogging should be your foundation. Like all social media you need an effective blogging strategy. WordPress is a blog you can integrate into your website. Your blog should have keywords in them that you want to be noted for. No matter what you are writing about, you need to ensure your keyword phrase is included multiple times in that blog. Once you’ve blogged you can share it across all social media. You can also add sharing buttons so people who read it can also share it with their network. There are a tons of social share buttons through WordPress.
And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a new kid in town and that kid is called Pinterest, largely focused on sharing images and videos.
Dodaro: People on Pinterest tend to spend about an hour and a half on average on the site. Users in North America are mostly women and the big categories are recipes, food, wine, and travel. It is very much a lifestyle type of social network.
Creating a buzz with Pinterest takes a little bit of computer graphic skill, but it’s not all that hard. You simply take your photograph and put information on it. For example, take a photo of your latest wine release then add words like “pairs great with chicken.”
Whatever way you choose, know that social media is the next evolution in information sharing and marketing. May all your status updates be liked, your tweets memorable, your blogs followed and your Pinterests shared.
Google’s Social Media and Your Local Listing
Pamela Lynch from Hot Entrepreur.com has this to say about, Google+ and Google+ Local and Linked In
Google’s position as a powerhouse made them an instant candidate in the social media arena. Their entry may be based solely on who they are and not on user engagement, which is what social media is all about, but they will gain popularity simply because they are Google.
As in all industries, including fruit and wine, impeccable timing is everything. Google is no exception. First, there was Google+ and now Google+ Local. As the single largest search engine, they impact where a company ranks in the search results.
Google will continue to reward their loyal customers who use their products. Savvy companies who claim their local listing on Google+ Local, deliberately and strategically, will position themselves, just as Google intended, to dominate their industry’s first page as a powerhouse.
LinkedIn FOR B2B
LinkedIn is an excellent B2B social media network. Use it to build strategic relationships within your industry, or to attract ideal clients or venture partners. It’s a great tool to find qualified employees. LinkedIn allows you to connect with your suppliers and people you collaborate with in your business.
Your LinkedIn profile presents your resume to your connections highlighting your skills, strengths, and specialties. You can also provide valuable content to your audience through joining or creating a “Group” for your industry or passion. Commenting informs, educates, or inspires your audience. Ask questions to further engage them with you, and become LinkedIn to build your B2B network.
Pamela Lynch www.hotentrepreneur.com 250-707-3499