The digital landscape – benefits and challenges for company profiling
On the 2nd of May 2017 our Regional Pilot in Sweden, Lokalproducerat i Väst, together with Agroväst Livsmedel invited local produceras of food to a workshop with the headline: Get social with your customers.
Karin Högberg, researcher in social media, held a short seminar and led the workshop. The digital landscape is an area in constant change – do you really have to use social media for promoting your company and products?
Karin Högberg gave the group a good ground and understanding regarding possibilities and risks by using social media for company profiling and product marketing.
“Consumers today give more trust towards posts on Facebook than information on your official web-site”, states Karin. Keep in mind the existing trouble with googles showing every old pages mixed with new without any logic. In addition to this customers expects more active communication than the web-site can give you. “As a company you should look upon social media as a compliment to the official web-site”, says Karin Högberg.
Marketing through social media sets high standards
It is incredibly simple to sign up for a Facebook-page or an Instagram-account. Easily you can load up films and photos from a smartphone. A small local company can create a feeling of being bigger and more established via Facebook or Instagram.
But still there is a lot to consider. It is important to understand the social media impact has made a change in power between consumer and producer. The former one-way-communication has now turned to a dialogue. Upon this the dialogue is transparent, visible for anyone. The feedback is direct, which is positive in most cases. It might sound ambitious but it is of importance to set up a communication strategy also for social media. It needs to be integrated in the overall strategy for the company.
To do company profiling and product marketing on social media requires resources and cannot be done in a hurry. The customers note and make remarks if your posts aren ́t personal or too personal, correctly spelled, relevant and not to forget that you always respond on comments.
Companies today tend to ignore the importance of having a strategy for communication through social media. Karin Högberg states: “ There is no point being on Facebook and Instagram if you haven ́t decided to set aside the time for it – then you shouldn ́t do it.”
With social media you develop positive customer relations
The crucial argument for companies to use Facebook and Instagram is that the customers use it. It is important to remember that on social media you don ́t want to see ads for products, these will always get low ratings. Instead give added value for the customers, give tips and information about your products and let them like, share and comment your posts.
More and more it ́s about short films on Facebook and Instagram. Photos should give information about how your ice-cream is produced or how the animals on your farm live – this gives much higher ratings than staged images. It ́s about using the visability that social media shows.
It ́s easy to follow your target group’s interests, which groups they follow, which posts that make prints and what issues that creates long discussions. The more knowledge you can get about your target groups, the more accurate posts you can form. Be aware of the new algorithms used by both Facebook and Instagram. Today you need to use boosting to secure reaching your followers.
The participants in the workshop represented local producers from several different areas: brewery, ice-creammakers, beekeepers, cheese-, jam-, nutrion drinks- producers etc. Many questions were solved in practice during the workshop with guidance from Karin Högberg.
Lokalproducerat i Väst works actively in the region Västra Götaland with support and ideas how to expand and increase processing for local producers. To increase skills in different areas there is a monthly challenge for the local producers within the region, coming month the challenge is to start using social media as a marketing channel for their company and products – aware of its power and by using a strategy. Everyone expressed the importance of social media to reach a wider target group, to test new product ideas with interaction.
This workshop was arranged within the Interreg REFRAME Project.