The key to making Facebook–or any other social media tool–work for your business or organization is to have a strategy for how social media will help you achieve specific goals. So before investing time and resources in Facebook, create your social media strategy
Start by listing your business or organizational goals. Develop a social media strategy based on which social media platform(s) and tactics can best help you achieve each goal. For example:
Want to attract new local customers? If you have a consumer-oriented business or service, Yelp is still one of your best bets. They get the web traffic and–if you have good customer reviews–will bring you business. If your business has lots of great images to share, you may be able to attract new customers through Pinterest and Instagram. It’s easier to grab attention on these smaller but fast-growing sites.
Want to build loyalty among existing customers and attract their friends? Facebook‘s still the best way for consumer-based businesses and organizations to build their customer base–if you use it wisely. Successful Facebook users must pay for advertising and/or create dynamic content (stories from the farm, beautiful photos, funny videos, useful or inspiring Infographics) that people feel compelled to share. You can also offer Facebook-only promotions, such as a discount on surplus tomatoes or slow evenings at your restaurant. Your customers will feel valued and you’ll increase sales. Plus, people love to share deals with their social media friends.
Want to reach business professionals? LinkedIn is your primary tool for attracting sales leads and reaching business professionals. It makes it easy to stay in touch with old contacts and to follow-up with people you met at networking events. LinkedIn groups can help you get to know other people in your field. But don’t discount email. Although it’s harder and harder to get people to open your messages, email is still the most used form of business communication.
Want to establish relationships with journalists and bloggers? Find and follow them on Twitter, retweet them, and pitch them story ideas.
Once you’ve set your goals and chosen which social media channels to use, you’ll need to create a plan for how to implement your strategy and track the results.
Click here for a Good Egg Marketing presentation on how to develop a social media strategy. Although this presentation focuses on farms, the principles apply to any small business or organization.