To Tweet? Or not to Tweet? That is the question on the minds of many agricultural and horticultural business owners as social media — not only Twitter but also Facebook, YouTube and the newest member of the group, Google+ — become ever-more ubiquitous in everyday life. Most likely, you would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of people you know who are not engaged in some form of social media.
But, does it make sense for your business? Just because everyone else is doing it, does that mean you should? The answer is not completely clear yet, and the agricultural and horticultural industries have not been quick to jump on the social media bandwagon. However, it’s important to realize that the Internet has completely changed the dynamic of how customers search for and receive information about your products and services. Even though questions remain about the effectiveness of social media as an advertising tool, it can add value to your marketing program if used effectively.
Here are five reasons to try marketing through social media:
- Inbound marketing is on the rise. Customers are now in control of the dialogue. No longer do they passively wait for your catalog to land on their desk. They are increasingly online, actively seeking out information on the products and services they need, and more choices are visible than ever before. Be proactive and make sure your message is out there where customers can find it.
- A key way to make your company visible is through content marketing. How-to articles, technical explanations and case studies are examples of ways to provide information customers are searching for, which will lead them to your website. Customers who have never heard of you might find your site if you offer content that addresses their need.
- Social media reaches out and reminding customers what you can offer and brings them back to your site. It has not replaced e-mail marketing but it can be a strong complement to it.
- Social media gives you the opportunity to continually provide value. This is essential. Instead of “Out harvesting today,” try “Picking Honeycrisp apples today — can’t wait to get them in the store tomorrow.” You’ve offered customers a nugget of information that might bring them to your door. Ask questions — start a dialogue, take a poll, show some personality. Posts should grab attention, keep it and drive an action. ALWAYS link back to your site.
- Videos can show, not just tell, customers about your product or service. Show them how it works, walk around the greenhouse highlighting new offerings, interview customers who like your product and have used it successfully. Keep videos short — two to three minutes max. Make them entertaining and informative. Then share them on other social media.
Bottom line: Ease into the social media arena and see how it goes, and you might find that the dialogue you begin with your customers alone is worth the effort.
Need help with marketing through social media? Meister Interactive offers custom content, design and eMedia consultation services.