Stacy Hadrick discusses social media with attendees Verne and Mickie Hansen and Cheryl Schaefers of Cheryl’s Catering.
Back in 2006 when Stacy Hadrick and husband Troy became rural advocates, Stacy thought blogging wouldn’t amount to much.
Hadrick recently addressed a Lunch and Learn on Social Blogging at the Faulk County Library. She is Faulk County Economic Development Coordinator and the topic was using social media.
“I thought it was just a phase honestly, something that wouldn’t really take off,” she said. “But Troy insisted, and ran with the new technology like a prodigy. We wanted to become advocates for rural America, to show people where and who their food comes from. And honestly, social media allowed us to do that in a way we would have never thought possible.”
Hadrick began with defining what social media was and the basics of how it works.
“Far and away, the most popular and successful is Facebook,” she said. “Love it or hate it, it’s the biggest and everybody has heard of it. It’s a fact that if the people on Facebook were a country, then that country would be the fourth largest country in the world.”
She also outlined the basics of Twitter, Instagram, Blogger and WordPress, and Pintrest, and touched on things like FaceTime, YouTube, Skype and webinars, and even online video game players have a consumer market presence that is impossible to deny.
“These are real people, who use the Internet to make real social connections,” she said. “And making your products and services easily available to these people can generate very profitable business. More often than not, people head for the Facebook page nowadays, rather than the official website, because it is more personal. You actually get to talk to someone, getting a conversation pretty much right away, whereas websites strike people as more impersonal. People like personal attention, and they like joining a community of like minded people who can share ideas and interests in an open forum. It can be collaborative and competitive, and you can engage with people, exposing your business to people you otherwise would never have had any contact with.”
Hadrick had several tips to share on how to make using social media easy and practical.
“To get ahead with social media, you need to have constant, consistent content,” she said. “People need to see something new from you every day. It can be a lot of work, and often people will hire someone to do regular updates.
“For smaller operations though, it’s better to simply use a Smartphone. Photographers bemoan the image quality of a Smartphone camera, but for images posted on the internet the lower resolution doesn’t usually matter, and they’ve come a long way since their first inceptions. It’s much easier, and less time consuming to simply take the picture and then make the post with your iPhone or other such Smartphone and post it directly rather than to use a camera, download the photo to your computer, log in on the computer and create the post. Something that could take 15 or so minutes only takes about five minutes.
“Also keeping the content genuine, keeping it real is a key to social media success. Something contrived doesn’t usually go over well. You have to temper that with some caution too, because once you post something thousands or even millions of people could see it, so you don’t want to post anything that might get you into hot water.”
Overall, Hadrick’s presentation showed that with good judgment and common sense practicality, social media could serve a small town enterprise well.