Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jump into Social Media and Connect With Your Favorite Brands | by Kelly Cox

Does anyone remember MySpace and your default friend Tom? Well, it’s still around, but has essentially become a niche social network for musicians. I’m pretty sure I still have a MySpace account floating around somewhere, but, without knowing it, it was the first social network I ever dabbled in because it was the “cool thing to use in high school.” That…and AOL Instant Messenger. Different topic for another day.

Facebook was released my freshman year in college. At that time, you had to be a college student with a proper .edu email address in order to create and use a Facebook account. As hard as it is to believe, that was nearly 10 years ago, and Facebook is now open to anyone 13 or older.

The point of my brief history lesson is this: social networks have been around way longer than many people realize. They have been paving the way for new methods of communication for 20 years – no, joke, I looked it up (! They are not something to be afraid of; they are something to embrace.

From a marketing perspective, I know that social media is an incredibly valuable tool; it allows us to show you the people behind our brand and prove that we’re not a bunch of robots. Looking at social media as a consumer, I see that it gives me an easy way to connect and engage with the companies and brands that I just love (Starbucks shout out!). Why is this kind of engagement important?

  • I am the first to learn about new products and promotions.
  • I get exclusive coupons just for engaging with brands on their social network(s) of choice.
  • I have an easy way to ask the company a question regarding its products and services.
  • I have an easy way to complain to the company regarding its products and services.
  • And…(drum roll, please), I get to talk with other people who are just as passionate about that brand as I am, which also allows me to read new product reviews from real people.

There are literally hundreds of social networks that exist today, and not every social network is right for everyone. Different channels allow for different types of messaging, and one of those may be right for you. For those of you who have not yet braved the social media bandwagon, here are a few social networks we suggest you look into first.

  • Facebook – delivers pretty much unlimited messaging, including text, pictures, videos, and events. We have found this social platform to be our most engaging (i.e., the place our followers prefer to Like, reshare, and comment on our posts, as well as ask questions about dealerships and employment opportunities). If you are looking for the social network that is your one-stop shop and the place where you may have the most opportunity to make your voice heard, we recommend you join Facebook.
    • How are WE using Facebook? We use Facebook to share longer pieces of our news releases and blog posts. This has also become our social network of choice to share photographs.
    • Follow

  • Google+ - very much like Facebook, message-wise. If you are a Google junkie, this is the social platform for you!
    • How are WE using Google+? We use Google+ much the same way we use Facebook – to share pieces of news, as well as photos and videos. We joined Google+ to cater to those who are hard-core Googlers.
    • Follow

  • Twitter – delivers very short, to-the-point, real-time messages (called Tweets) that are limited to 140 characters. Many ag companies and ag media use Twitter on a daily basis to share their latest news. If you don’t have a lot of time to poke around the internet, then this may be the social network for you.
    • How are WE using Twitter? We use this social network to share real-time updates from our trade shows, as well as news releases, blog posts, and new pictures and videos. We love to share other companies’ Tweets, including many from our own dealers.
    • Follow

  • YouTube – delivers video. In fact, it reaches more adults than cable TV, which is no surprise with the invention of the smart TV. If you are a visual learner, we recommend jumping on the YouTube train!
    • How are WE using YouTube? To share our videos, of course! We have a plethora of informational videos on our products, as well as irrigation tips and tricks. We have also flagged many ag-related videos we think you will also enjoy.
    • Follow

  • Pinterest – delivers pictorial representations of articles, tutorials, and ideas. This is the fastest growing social network today, which is why I wanted to give it a nod. Valley Irrigation is currently not on Pinterest, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out! This is a great place to get ideas for your business and personal life, as well as find pictures of ag. Pinterest allows you to create boards that relate to a single topic. So, if you’re the type to organize your thoughts, this may be the place for you to hang out.

Social media offers you a place to engage with the humans behind brands – companies aren’t comprised of a bunch of robots (well, for the most part). Jump on a social network today to communicate with the people behind your favorite brands; make that network your one stop shop to be the first to learn about new products, technology, and promotions. And, you may be surprised just how fun it can truly be.

Kelly Cox
Global Digital Marketing Manager

Kelly joined the Valley Irrigation Global Marketing Department in 2008. Her love of all things geek (steampunk furniture, anime, Doctor Who, and science fiction/fantasy literature, just to name a few) helped shape her appreciation for technology and the web. Kelly is a newlywed and new homeowner, where she shares her geekery with her husband. She considers herself a wine connoisseur (though, 3 buck Chuck is delicious!) and has a love of painting, dance, and singing.