Social Media for Rural Business: Do It Right or Don’t Do It!

by Joanne Steele on January 6, 2011

The Internet is Necessary graphicIf you are going to use social media to market your rural business, for the sake of the technology, it’s time to learn to use it correctly.

In her New Year’s post, “3 New Year’s resolutions every business can adopt today,” marketing expert, Milena Regos offer a vital call to action in three parts:

1. Make your business social

2. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

3. Quality message

Nowadays, many rural businesses are heeding # 1 and setting up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, but ignoring points #2 and 3.

When social media is used as if it were nothing more than free advertising, the business messages are about is welcome as someone wearing an “Eat at Joe’s” sandwich sign to a cocktail party!

And that is how too many rural businesses are using social media.

Milena’s concern and the concern of many internet marketing experts is that if we rural business social media users don’t get our acts together, new social media will be created that will BAN us!

We could be locked out of the best system ever created for communicating directly with our customers!

Take Milena’s points to heart and use social media channels to connect with your customers. Listen to what they are saying and asking for. Get to know them by checking out their profiles to see what interests and concerns they have.

Will a social media strategy work for local rural businesses with a small regional following? YES!

Check out the Cornerstone Bakery & Café’s Facebook page.  A few days ago they posted asking everyone to look out for their lost dog. Guess what all their customers, both visitors and locals were doing??

I don’t agree with Milena that your website is unnecessary. It is your homebase over which you have complete control. No matter what changes in social media, you’ll always have your homebase.

But, this year, get into social media and do it right. It’s where you customers are congregating, and getting your kind words and good information into the conversation will grow your business faster than any flashy ad every could.

Photo on Flickr by Rosaura Ochoa

Here are a few past posts on the subject

How Facebook Is Helping a Successful Rural Tourism Business

Is Facebook a Good Marketing Tool For Rural Tourism Businesses?

What Idaho Can Teach Rural Tourism Businesses About Focusing On Your Ideal Customer.

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