Your Brand Image
Whether you have company pages set up or you have to build pages from scratch, you must create a clean and positive social networking image. Entrepreneurs can't rely solely on their perception of the brand image. Consider working on a Positioning Statement , probably the most important 5 steps in food & beverage marketing. Your efforts should be augmented by speaking with your customers, friends, and family members to give you feedback on where they would expect to find your product or products similar to yours. Asking others helps to remove the entrepreneurs bias and get to product positioning and image that provides the necessary credibility across all of your selected social media platforms.
Content is King on Social Media
A brand social media platform must have photos and videos… you know the old axiom that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are a must in the food and beverage sector since we "eat with our eyes" and no matter what you say about your product, the picture conveys what you want the consumer to see about your brand. Don't ignore videos; they are easier to create than you think with video capabilities on cell phones and a plethora of inexpensive video cameras. Microsoft Movie Maker is the easiest way to create and edit your videos. Find out How to Use YouTube so you have someplace to post those videos and a place for people to find your brand.
Content, interesting articles, and intriguing content focused on your industry should be selected to be of interest to your audience. Daily information is available across many food & beverage web sites, other blogs and e-newsletters. Don't forget publications like the NY Times, About.com, since these are ways to find social media content from experts who focus on food trends. This makes managing your social media content on a daily basis easier. The biggest mistake people make can be creating a social networking presence and not managing the pages- no one wants to see a boring page. This is called going stale.
Know Your Audience
You must grow your networking presence and you want to "talk" to people who are interested in the product category you compete. So, think about your target audience and find out where they are on social media. If you make a line of healthy kids snacks, then find as many mommy bloggers as you can. Find time to read what they are talking about so you can narrow down those that you want to follow and potentially send samples to for them to review. You need to add AND comment to those groups on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.
Social networking is free advertising and every company should have some form of social media that is relevant to their customer base. The suggestions above can help set up a social networking presence, but you may want to consider outsourcing your social networking needs. Someone who markets on these sites has the time and expertise to represent your company to the best of their ability. A social media manager can focus on growing your presence while you get more done!
Here are some resources to read here on About.com
What is Social Media
Social Media Marketing - Put it To Work for You
What is the Role of Social Media in Marketing