Gone are the days of advertising in the Yellow Pages or simply having a website. In order for your business to stay relevant these days, it should also be accessible on social media. Social media is an important tool for businesses in all industries – providing a platform to market products, interact with customers, build brand loyalty and have access to cost-effective marketing (setting up accounts is free!).
Entering the world of social media can seem daunting and confusing; however, it may not be as difficult as you think. We’re going to break down the most popular social media platforms, their main uses and how to make them work for your business. Let’s get started!
When one thinks of using social media, creating a Facebook profile is often top–of–mind. It’s likely the majority of your customers already have an account and will be interested in following you. To get started you will need to create a business page, which must be linked to a personal account. Once your business page is made, you can easily customize it with your business’s information. There are plenty of areas on your page to explain your business such as adding a description, location, services offered, etc. You will also want to add a quality profile picture and cover photo to make it complete. These photos will be the first impression for your business when people visit your page, so be sure to showcase your product in the best way possible.
Once your profile is set up, you will be able to post and create events. Posts can include text, photos or videos and will be shared to followers’ newsfeeds temporarily but will live on your page forever. This is where you can really start connecting with your followers by sharing your products or more information about your business and interacting in the comments section. Customers can also leave reviews on your page and share their experiences with others. Additionally, Facebook has Facebook Live where you can livestream video to your page, enabling you to share content and interact with viewers in real time.
Making Facebook Work for Your Business:
- Feature new or current products.
Example: Feature a lot from your upcoming bull sale with a detailed description and photo/video.
- Interact with followers.
Example: Followers can leave comments on posts or private message (PM) you for more information. You can also utilize Facebook Live, giving followers a behind-the-scenes look at daily operations to better share your story.
- Create “events” for your business.
Example: Have an event set-up to inform your customers about the next farmer’s market you will be attending or about your upcoming sale.
Instagram is similar to Facebook in that you can share a lot of the same content and it will be featured on followers’ newsfeeds temporarily but live on your page forever. How you share content, however, will be slightly different. “Posts” on Instagram are photos and/or videos with an area to add accompanying text that will appear below. Because Instagram is used for sharing photos and videos, your page will be set up as a photo grid crafted from your previous posts. Users can select a photo from your grid to expand the post and view the accompanying description. Your business page will have a single profile picture, a limited description area at the top and a spot to link your contact info/website.
Like Facebook, followers can comment on posts and send you direct messages. One of Instagram’s main features is “Stories.” The Stories feature allows you to post photos or videos in a slideshow format that will disappear after 24 hours (if not saved to a highlight section on your page). Live video is also an option with Instagram stories.
Making Instagram Work for Your Business:
- Build your brand.
Example: Because Instagram is so photo heavy, you can craft a specific look to your page, further adding to your brand and increasing brand awareness.
- Feature new or current products.
Example: Feature a dish made from your farm-to-table product with an accompanying recipe in the description.
- Interact with followers.
Example: Instagram Stories is a great way to craft unique features or share snapshots with followers to give a behind-the-scenes look at daily operations.
Twitter can best be described as a “microblogging” site that enables you to share snippets of text (140 characters or fewer) in posts called “tweets.” In your tweets you can also include photos/videos and links to other websites or resources. There is also the option to “retweet” information tweeted by others so you can share helpful info from others, and your followers can easily share your tweets as well, increasing your overall reach.
Making Twitter Work for Your Business:
- Announce new products/product availability.
Example: Share updates on the new cuts of beef you’re offering and link to a recipe on your website.
- Share educational content with followers. Example: Retweet industry–related articles that you find relevant.
YouTube is a video–sharing website where you can create a custom channel to upload video content. YouTube is a great way to share in-depth videos regarding your business or information about your products. Viewers are able to post comments, as well, making it a great way to connect with customers.
Making YouTube Work for Your Business:
- Share your business practices.
Example: Demonstrate your low-stress animal–handling practices, building trust with your customers.
- Demonstrate your product. Example: Create tutorials on how to properly prepare and cook your meat products to improve customer success and satisfaction.
Pinterest can be described as an idea sharing/organizing website. Users create “boards” to which they can save (pin) different posts. Posts often include one picture that links to another website. Other users are able to follow your account to see pins that you have posted and saved. Pinterest is beneficial for brand awareness and driving traffic to your website, but is not ideal for all businesses.
Pinterest would be useful, for example, for a company that sells their own food products. Pinterest is a go-to for recipe searches. You would be able to share recipes that feature your products, both increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to your site.
Important to Note
Before jumping into any social media platform, you need to define your target audience. By defining who exactly you are trying to reach, you can better tailor your content, and invest your time and energy connecting with potential customers.
Sometimes, organic traffic to your website/social media is not enough. Facebook and Instagram have a connected paid ad service, which is a great resource for gaining traction as a business. It can help drive traffic to your website, or feature a product or service you offer to a specific targeted audience that you define. Paid ads can be tailored to fit a variety of budget ranges, as well. You can decide how much you’re willing to invest in marketing your product via social media and customize ad plans accordingly.
Social media is an important tool and, utilized effectively, can help your business gain exposure, interact with your audience and build a loyal customer base. With all social media platforms, we suggest posting quality content often in order to stay relevant.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all the options available or simply don’t have enough time in the day, BluePrint Media is a great resource to help your business thrive.
Emily grew up in rural Connecticut with a passion for agriculture. She attended Texas A&M University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition. Emily has joined the BluePrint team as a designer and feature writer after previously working in feed sales and as the marketing manager for a large ranching operation in central Texas. Emily and her husband look forward to raising their family in the agricultural community they both love.