There are many free and relatively inexpensive tools that foodpreneurs can use to manage the brand social media. Here's a caveat: Sometimes it's best to let another person handle the day to day operation of your social media. Most Virtual Assistants are fully capable of posting regularly and managing your communities. If you decide to hire anyone to manage your social, it's important to note that you still need to be engaged on some level. You're an expert in your field and you'll need to address problems and to show that you are personally involved.
Remember to continually build trust with your interactions. Managing the beast using a 'dashboard' of different social media streams allows you to post simultaneously and monitor mentions across different platforms. Some online dashboards are free and some are paid. The paid ones allow you to have multiple users, gather metrics and create reports. These features allow you to save time by scheduling out postings and give access to staff members for monitoring and managing your social media stream. People will often voice their frustrations on social media and having these tools can help you keep the pulse on the keywords that matter most to your product.
The biggest win here is the ability to create reports and see which posts get the most attention for retweets and clicks. You can track which posts were most popular, generated the most clicks and attention. This is a quick way to test out sales messages, features and benefits of your product or just ask opinions to quickly crowd source an idea.
Some of these tools, like Sprout Social provide some demographic information including age and gender gleaned from the user profiles. This is priceless marketing information to help you further define your customer. Think how useful this information will be to provide when pitching to Venture Capitalists or the media. You can talk to your customers in real time and get instant feedback on a global scale. No biased focus groups or expensive research.
These six steps are just the beginning of using social media for helping build product demand. As long as you're authentic along the way and treat your online community as your greatest advocates, you'll go far in building a loyal tribe who rave about your product to the world.