[CASE STUDY] How to Build Your Facebook Network | South Carolina State Farmers Market

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The South Carolina State Farmers Market became a client in September of 2009 when the virtual ad agency, MC Squared Communications, contracted with us to execute their new media strategy. An inbound marketing plan was developed to provide a road map to drive web traffic, convert that traffic into leads, and analyze the results for channel optimization. But first, we had to build our networks.

Facebook is the largest social media network with over 1.4 million active users in South Carolina over the age of 18. We decided to use this platform to target our primary and secondary consumers – families and educators. Content is king online, so we knew our blogs and microblogs would ultimately drive continued growth and engagement. But we had to start somewhere, so we took the following strategic steps to kick start our network building.

Draw on Existing Network

This one’s a no-brainer, but an absolute necessity. First, every SC State Farmers Market team member used the “Suggest to Friends” function in Facebook to make sure all of our Facebook friends would get the page suggestion. We then made sure our contacts were aware of of the new fan page with an email that included a link to the page. “Follow Us” badges were placed on the homepage and blog. These simple steps garnered the most new fans we attracted in any one given period.

Facebook insights

Facebook Insights

Use Facebook Ads for an Extra Push

Next, we microtargeted our audience with Facebook ads. We targeted only South Carolinians using keywords such as “cooking”, “fresh fruit”, and “vegetables.” We then crafted the ad to feature a conversion campaign because it offered something free and enticing rather than pushing out a proclamatory marketing message that tends to turn consumers off, especially in a consumer-to-consumer driven marketplace like Facebook. We then saw our second spike in Facebook fan recruitment.

Facebook insights

SC Farmers Market Facebook Insights

Engage with Great Content

Even before you start blogging, you can fill your news feed with interesting content. We developed a blog roll filled with industry experts and resources like Advocates for Agriculture, Columbia Regional Business Report’s Agribusiness RSS feed, and the USDA’s Know Your Farmer Know Your Food blog. We would read through headlines daily and pick the best articles to share with our Facebook fans. Although we didn’t see huge spikes in our new fans, we regularly recruited more and more by sharing what our consumers were truly interested in and engaged with them when comments were posted. We also cross promoted other pages of online influencers by posting event announcements and by using the @ symbol to reference other pages from time to time. This really helped in building our online and offline relationships with partners.

Facebook Insights

SC Farmers Market Insights

Facebook Insights have been provided on September 8, 2010 for the South Carolina State Farmers Market official Facebook fan page

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