Chatting to a very successful distributor during the week at Sydney’s Fine Food trade show, he said he simply did not “get” facebook and Twitter as marketing tools. “I will wait till my 14 year old daughter gets interested in the business, and does it for me” he said, “but I guess I should be doing something, just too busy to think about it”
Pretty typical in my experience of SME’s and their relationships with social media, just something else to do, and no more time to do it in!
So here are a few thought starters, simple things to do with facebook to turn it from something else to do, to the most important tool ever put in your hands to engage with your customers.
- Change the “face” regularly, the picture on the landing page, the animation, put up some simple recipes of the day, week, or season, just make it interesting. Even Google changes their landing page almost daily, putting up some design that is topical for some reason .
- Have a page where visitors to your site can engage, you just become the facilitator. In the case of food marketers, a place to exchange recipes, cooking techniques, photos of finished dishes, and people enjoying them seems like a sensible idea.
- Make sure you have a spot where other platforms that may be of interest to visitors can be reached, allow them to add their own links to spots they like.
- Have good quality, relevant content, and make sure you keep it fresh.
- Have a range of incentives rolling through, these might be anything from samples and deals, to points type accumulation programs for a prize.
- Make giving easy. If we are talking food products here, and I am, create seasonal hampers and gift to a friend offers, a Xmas hamper delivered to a customers friend with seasons greetings will always go down well.
- Enable Q & A pages, and conversation streams. This may be on the page, or in a linked blog if the topics are a bit more serious. In the Australian food game, SME’s are struggling for survival in a retail oligopoly where housebrands are being pushed by retailers, and imports are growing on the back of the high $A. There is plenty to talk about, some of it commercial and perhaps not engaging for consumers, so keep it linked but separate and do not be afraid to tackle serious stuff, just be a bit careful.
- Be responsive to posts fans put up, engage in the conversations yourself, just don’t try to dominate it.
- Make sure you have a strong call to action, not too overtly commercial, but the point of it is ultimately to get a sale, so find creative ways of asking for the order.
- Ask for visitors ideas, views, and thoughts. Where better to test a new product idea, and do some focussed qualitative mrket research than with those already engaged.
- Watch and learn from what others are doing, the web is a great big learning experience. Social Media Examiner is one site that often puts up very useful information, here is a list of the top 10 SME sites from around the world they have just judged, some good pointers in there.
- And last of all, make it fun, and never let down someone who visits and engages!
This is all pretty easy stuff technically, it just takes time to plan, assemble the content, and make it happen. My distributor friend can probably get his 14 year old daughter to do it for fun, you don’t have to pay someone big bucks, you just need to engage in the conversation as you would over the back fence to your neighbour.