Not too long ago I viewed Facebook as little more than a place to connect with friends and family. Maybe show off my new high score in the Sims Social, but definitely not as a power tool in the game of brand building. Fast forward to me packing up and moving to Hawai’i, now I’m seeing things in a whole new light. Perhaps the credit goes to the vog-filtered rays of the tropical sun, who knows.
Now I spend my mornings traversing the uncertain terrain of seventeen sprawling acres of Kona coffee trees, artfully arranged on the side of an active volcano. With each tentative step I take up the mountain, I can’t help but think how all of this relates to the early days of growing a young business.
Building a Brand With the Help of Free Advertising
Kona coffee is world famous for its smooth flavor and decidedly non bitter taste. The farm where I’m staying even produces its own brand of estate grown coffee. Trouble is, if you’re not from the Big Island of Hawaii, you’ve probably never heard of it. I’m so passionate about my friend’s home-grown coffee that I’m determined to put them on the map. I have no budget, save for free time, so I’ve chosen social media as my method of reaching potential clients.
My Favorite Social Networking Platforms
- Facebook – The big kahuna of the social media scene, Facebook allows you to build a page for your business which other users can Like in order to stay in the loop of important updates. By providing pertinent details about the business, right down to location and contact information, website address, and a calendar of events, a broad array of potential customers can find the farm and take a tour. A sample of our award-winning coffee is on the house.
- Twitter – After enjoying a cup of fresh brewed coffee I like to boast about it to other #coffee fans on Twitter. With over a million tweets happening each day, I like to spend a little time engaged in conversations taking place over Twitter, looking for opportunities to invite visitors to stop by and enjoy a cup.
- LinkedIn – Because of my deep involvement with the farm’s success, I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile to show this as an occupation. I don’t need to spend quite so much time focused on LinkedIn each day, compared to facebook and Twitter, but it’s still a good idea to keep people posted for networking purposes.
- Pinterest – Even though I can’t advertise giveaways and special offers taking place at the farm, I can post visually pleasing photos of our piping hot coffee served in cups fashioned from bamboo. The farm doubles as a very hospitable bed and breakfast, with some of the most reasonable prices for accommodations to be found on the Big Island, I like to post pictures of the spectacular views to help draw interest over to the farm’s physical website and blog.
- Polyvore – This is more of a personal indulgence for my own amusement, but I still manage to relate it back to business. Each week on my personal blog I publish a “what I wore” article. Lately the images describe various garments designed for practicality and an active lifestyle, so I set these against a gorgeous Hawaiian backdrop, along with a picture of a cup of coffee and other details pertinent to my daily grind. I often write a short journal entry to go along with the image, which appears on my blog and always includes a mention of the farm’s location.
Sharing With Friends is Good for Business
In sharing updates about my travels and activities with my family, I found that a lot of people started visiting my personal blog, even following it on facebook and joining my BlogFrog community. I just ran with the idea from there, figuring if I could build a following simply by being consistent in the upkeep of my personal page that I could do the same for promoting the business of this great farm. Even the owner and namesake of the farm mentioned a surprising increase in farm tours since I’ve arrived. I didn’t do anything special, simply picked out a nice Thesis theme that was easy to read and nice to look at, then started updating the page daily.
Freelance writer Rachel Cook enjoys a good cup of coffee, so much so that she decided to retire from the corporate rat race, condense all of her possessions into two bags, and relocated to a farm specializing in world-famous Kona coffee on the big island of Hawai’i. Through careful application of social media know-how, she enjoys watching her friend’s business grow almost as much as she enjoys watching the coffee beans ripen for harvesting. When asked how others can follow in her footsteps, Rachel often credits www.shopwpthemes.com as one of the secrets to her success.