What all of this proves is that social media is no more a passing fad than the
Internet itself. It’s a long-term change, one that will require companies to actively engage their consumer base in ways they might not have considered before.
This is particularly important within the organic industry, where authenticity and
transparency are key to consumer engagement.
The real questions now center on where social media fits into an organization’s
broader communications strategy, what resources need to be in place to be successful, and how organizations can effectively go about
engaging consumers in this space.
When answering these questions, remember that social media is not a campaign, and treating it as such
may cause more harm than good. Also remember that
whether you choose to participate or not, social media
is altering how consumers experience your business
and receive your story. Consumers are now your storytellers, and it’s vital to formulate a strategy and listen to
what both your existing and potential fans have to say.
Organizations that are willing to authentically engage consumers with transparency and genuine passion will find fans welcoming them with open arms.
But before you jump in, consider a few things:
• Have an agenda. Identify your top three social media goals. These goals are
not necessarily the same as those for your website, which tend to be more marketing focused.
• Allow your passions to show. Spend your time inspiring conversation about the
passion around your company and the mission that drives you, as opposed to
the product itself.
• Know your fans. Discover and listen to your target online audience. You may
find that this audience is different from your core audience.
• Know your limits. Think through the amount of time you realistically are able
to spend building quality relationships online.
• Be comfortable with a different type of success. Temper your early expectations, as relationship development takes time. Most importantly, decide how
you will measure success.
primarily is non-promotional, and
seeks to offer users a way to relate to
the company through shared interests.
The restaurant’s Twitter feeds are a
great example. Through this online
tool, which limits postings to 140 characters, Pizza Fusion shares a “Green
PizzaFusion adds value by Tweeting a
“Green Tip of the Day”
Creating Your Social Media Agenda
First, take time to figure out the big picture of what you want to achieve
through social media. Have discussions with your team about your social media
strategy, addressing the nature of customer relationships and the main purpose of engaging fans online.
Organic restaurant franchise Pizza Fusion is an interactive powerhouse whose agenda is transparent. The
staff, including the founder himself, communicate the
company’s story with a thoughtful, up-to-date blog,
Facebook updates, You Tube videos and regular Twitter
activity, where they claim to be “saving the earth one
Tweet at a time.” The message is clear: Pizza Fusion
wants to increase awareness about the value of organic
food and green lifestyles and they care a great deal
about engaging their audience online. Of course they
want to sell more pizzas, but their use of social media
Tip of the Day.” One recent posting
was “Don’t bag up those fall
leaves...turn them into compost to save
energy & landfill space!” This was fol-
lowed by a link to a full story on
TheDailyGreen.com. All Pizza Fusion’s
online media communications from
Twitter and Facebook are also com-
piled on the company’s website, along-
side their blog entries.
Nature’s Path is another company
with a well-organized social media
agenda. One of its primary goals in de-
veloping a social media strategy was to
take its web presence from static (a
simple website) to dynamic. By inte-
Nature’s Path connects users to social networks via its interactive website.