- LOCATION: HAZOUA, TUNISIA
- DATE OF VISIT: APRIL 2011
Did you know that over 50% of the world population is under 30 years old? That YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world? or that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations when only 14% trust advertisements?
This is only 3 stats, I could go on for pages. The Internet is filled with social media statistics, all more impressive than the others. They are all pointing towards the same direction: social media is not an option for promoting your business, it is a MUST. For those of you not yet convinced of that, here is a selection of 3 videos showing facts and figures about the social media revolution.
Don’t wait any longer, get on the boat! If you don’t know where to start from, you could try this link.
You’ve decided to get on the social media train and start a Facebook page for your business. Congratulations! You are probably wondering: “What am I going to say now?” This post is specifically written for fair trade producer’s organizations who are doing their first steps on Facebook. If that’s you, read on to discover 5 great ways to produce relevant content to feed your brand new page.
First you need to understand that the great majority of your fans (people who have liked your page) will only come to your page once. That is the one time they hit the “LIKE button”. It doesn’t mean they won’t continue to follow your stories and read your content, it’s just that they won’t come to your page to find it. Most of your fans will find your posts in their newsfeed.
It is thus important to create content on a regular basis to reach your fans via their newsfeed.
Keeping that in mind, what should you write about?
I’m tempted to answer that question by another question: “Who are your fans?” Understanding your audience is crucial to provide relevant content. As a fair trade producer’s organization your fan base will most likely consist of fair trade consumers or adherents from all over the world, Western distributors and fair trade/NGO activists. You could try to segment your audience into 2 or 3 different categories and roughly estimate the proportion each category represents. This would help you elaborate a ratio for your posts. Lets say 70% of your fans are fair trade consumers, 15% are distributors and the other 15% are NGO activists. A good posting strategy would be to write 3 posts that meet the consumers’ interests, 1 that meets the distributor’s interests and 1 you know the activists will relate to to keep everyone happy.
We understand that establishing such ratio’s isn’t easy, truly understanding your audience requires time and resources. If you have none of these, here is a list of topics you could talk about that would probably be appreciated by all of your fans:
1# Speak about the artisans or the farmers who produce what you sell.
Tell us about their everyday’s life, their children, their work. Post some pictures or videos of them along with a small description of who they are and what they do.
Let your audience know who’s made the products they’re buying.
2# Speak about your vision of fair trade
How is the movement perceived in your country? How do YOU perceive it? What do you think works well with the system and what would you change? What do you do to make things better?
3# Speak about the benefits of fair trade on your community
One of the major concerns of Western consumers when they buy fair trade products is to know where their money goes. Use your Facebook page to bring answers to their concerns. Explain what social investments have been made, how you decided to use the fair trade premium, … in other words what your company does to improve the livelihood of your community.
4# Speak about your organization
Of course you’ve already filled up all the basic information about your company in your page’s info tab … (if not, do it now). A good idea is to go one step further and give your fans more insights about your organization. Go ahead and create a photo album with pictures of your staff along with small job descriptions, share your organigram. Go even further and let several of your employees explain a typical day at work with a 2-minute-video. Tell us how it all started and what rough phases you went through. Describe how you see your company 5 years from now, what are the major challenges you’ll have to face?
5# Speak about your products
Remember a picture is worth a thousand words, post some quality pictures of your products along with product info and additional info on where consumers can buy these products. This is a great opportunity to tag or post a link to one of your partners/buyers. Make sure to get reciprocity though and ask for visibility on their wall in exchange.
Write some product reviews, ask your audience’s opinion on new product development with polls for example. Share some success stories, showcase your best sellers.
These are just some leads that you could follow to create relevant content for your page, I’m sure every one of you will come up with their own original way of communicating with their fans.
Please join the conversation and leave a comment about this post, tell us how you like to talk with your fans? Don’t forget to share the link to your Facebook page, I’d love to become a fan!
You hear about them every day, all your friends use them and you might even use them yourself… Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FlickR, YouTube, … Social media have become a part of our (virtual) lives. But what about your business?
Is it time to add social media to your marketing mix? If you think the answer is “Yes” then the next question is: “Where do I start? In this post I’m going to give you a few keys to develop your company’s social media strategy.
Deciding to dive into social media marketing is a bit like deciding to buy a new dog. When we buy a new puppy we’re all exited and we want to play with him but in reality bringing home that puppy is a big commitment and is time consuming. That is why before buying the puppy or jumping into social media to advertise your business, you should ask yourself if you have the ressources to handle it?
A good way to find out is to organize a meeting with your managing staff in order to elaborate a social media strategy.
1# Determine your final goal
Be it finding more distributors for your products then you will focus on developping relationships with your Western partners and distributors; be it promoting your products then you will focus on establishing a dialogue with your final consumers; be it finding inspiration for new product development then you’ll try to interact with creative people and communities.
Try to set specific objectives that can be measured and decide how much time and money you want to dedicate to social media.
2# Find your audience
There’s a vast literature about finding an audience, I’m not going to tackle this issue here, I’ll just summarize it in three action points:
- Make a list of keywords and phrases related to your business
- Make a list of social media sites where you think you can meet your audience (start with the most popular: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Blogs)
- Go to these social media sites and do some searching about your keywords
At this stage you should have a good idea of where your audience is and what media they use.
3# Study your audience
To be successful with social media marketing you’ll have to get rid of old habits like sending the same message to a large group of potential clients. Focus on finding the people who are already talking about your message and try to join the conversation. Try to spot the influencers and listen to what they are talking about.
4# Join the conversation and develop your network
The rule is to provide valuable content, bring something new and useful. The objective is to build relationships, create your network. Post comments on blogs and forums, answer questions on Yahoo! and LinkedIn, join groups related to your industry, “like” and comment on Facebook pages related to your business, share interesting links, join Twitter chats, … there are so many ways in which you can interact.
Try to always remember these basic principles:
- Don’t speak if you have nothing to say
- Find a voice and stick to it, that is the tone you use to reach your audience
- Be regular at bringing content (once a day / 3 times a day / 5 times a day)
- Don’t be a product pusher, leave the commercial aside for a moment. Socialize and become an influercer by bringing relevant and valuable content.
5# Build your company’s social media mix
Now that you are familiar with the different social media and you start to have a little influence in your niche market, it’s time to establish your own media. Choose the platforms that fits you most, or the ones where your audience is and create your presence. It could be a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube Channel, … or all of the above like in Shared Interest’s example.
If you opt for a variety of media, be sure to cross reference them. That is to set connections between all of them so that it is easy to click from one to the other. Once you are all set with creating your media, attract your network to it. Again, don’t be too pushy, lure them by creating interesting and relevant content.
6# Measure the results and adapt your strategy
This is not a game, remember? It is really important to measure your Return On Investment (ROI) in social media. Make sure you determine your key metrics when you set your objectives. I recommend picking three solid metrics to track (sales, number of new good contacts, new partnerships, brand visibility in major search engines, …). A good aproach is to work with a timeline: create and manage a timeline of every significant activity undertaken in social media by your company. Compare the evolution of your 3 key metrics using the same timeline. Don’t hesitate to adapt and improve your strategy if you don’t see any results. Only experimenting will you understand what works and what doesn’t.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Becoming good at social media takes time. Patience is the golden rule. So are you gonna fall for that new puppy?
How can people find out about your business? How do potential clients know you even exists? How will these potential new clients find you? There’s a good chance the first thing they’ll do is google the name of your business. And then what?
This post will teach you 5 easy steps to build and effectively manage your online reputation. After all, reputation is everything. When it comes to marketing, your reputation can either be your best friends or your worst enemy.
1/ Create relevant and valuable content
Use the media you prefer, it could be your website, your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or LinkedIn. Every piece of content including properly tagged photos and videos will appear in search engines.
Don’t be a product pusher, think about your target audience. They don’t want to be hammered with disguised advertisement, they want to find interesting content about their centers of interests. If your target is a group of European fair trade distributors, try to create material that they could use if they decided to start a partnership with your business. It could be some beautifull pictures of workers doing handicrafts, or a blog about the everyday’s life of the artisans who work with you. Be creative and think about the interests/passions/needs of your target community as opposed to your own.
2/ Create a Google alert about yourself and join the conversation
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. To get started go to Google alert, and enter your search terms. I strongly recommand you set up a Google alert for your business, your name, or your competitors. You can even create an alert for any key phrases such as “looking for a fair trade coffee producer” or “fair trade wooden toys”.
Creating an alert to monitor your e-reputation is one thing, responding to polish it is the key. When you find content about yourself written by others, you can either appreciate it or find it unpleasant. In the first case, join the conversation and say thank you. Try to be specific about what you appreciated. In the other case, when you discover embarassing comments or content about your business, take your responsibilities and adress the concerns, dont ignore them. Always remain calm and polite, despite what others might have been said about you.
3/ Watch and listen everywhere
Google isn’t the only place you should look at when searching for information about yourself or your business. For example a lot is being said in the blogger’s community. Customers and distributors post reviews, share their impressions, and express themselves. Take a look at Google Blogsearch to find out what’s been said about you in the bloggosphere.
Conduct some searches in Twitter to receive real-time information.
Try Backtype that lets you track comments left on blogs and forums as well as on social sites. This will let you monitor individuals that expressed their feelings about you or your business.
Use Youtube to do some video search. Youtube is the second most visited website after Google and before Facebook. Search there for videos about you and the competition. Other video search engines include Google’s Video Search, Yahoo’s Video Search, Blinks and Vimeo.
4/ Be nice
I know this can be seen as an evidence, but we often forget this simple rule. Be nice and others will be nice to you. This can translate into many things in your online life. Write kinds comments on other’s blogs, Facebook, Youtube and other social media. Leave a comment with compliments when you read a post that you like. Also try to answer gently to other’s criticisms. Kill with kindness: don’t be too confrontational nor overly sensitive when answering critics.
5/ Build relationships with likeable people
We tend to become the company we keep, right?
That is why you need to find other people in your niche market who have influential blogs or a facebook page with lots of fans and try to get involved. A good way to break the ice with a given community is by bringing some interesting content (an interesting and relevant link for example). First listen, then react to what people are saying.
If you are an expert on a topic let’s say fair trade in Bolivia, then try to find an influential blog or website about fair trade and interact in a way that shows your expertise. You can also try to contact the administrator of the blog or facebook page to propose an article or an interview.
Start digging around. Use Alltop.com, Google Blogsearch and Twitter to start identifying media sources in your niche. Once you have spotted a few people who produce likeable content, start helping them by tweeting about them and sharing their content on Facebook. Leave thoughtful non-promotional comments on their posts. Be helpful as opposed to pushy. This isn’t just about taking. This is about giving value first.
Remember the goal of creating more content about you is to:
- drive more traffic to your blog / facebook page / website or other social media
- have more visibility in search engines because they’ll have more material they can index with your name
- create associations with other trusted people online
- reach a broader audience with your ideas
Why don’t you take a moment and google yourself or your company. Do you like what you see? What can you do about it? Give me your comments and feedbacks I’d be happy to read them.
There are thousands of applications out there and we know it is not easy to choose the right ones. In this post we handpicked the 3 apps that you must have to promote your fair trade business with your facebook page.
1/ Customize your landing tab
It has been demonstrated with an experiment that having a customized landing tab doubles your chances to convert people visiting your page for the first time into fans.
During the experiment, visitors were driven to a fan page with ads. Those ad-driven visitors converted to fans at a rate of approximately 47% WITH a landing tab. Then the landing tab has been turned off and it has been noticed that those same ad-driven visitors converted to fans at approximately 23%
Here is an example of a good landing page: Oxfam GB
2/ Import your blog’s RSS feed
You want your fans to know when there is something new on your blog. Use the networkedblogs app to do that.
You can also place the networked blogs widget on your blog it will display your fans’ profile photos on your blog.
3/ Link your YouTube channel to your page
Thanks to this app from Involver, you can integrate your YouTube channel to your page. It will let you choose which videos you want to display among other options. It is easy to use and doesn’t take users away from your fan page to view the videos.
See an example of YouTube integration on a facebook fan page here.