Prior to September 2010, people had a hard time finding anything on the Internet remotely related to Wyoming Correctional Industries; subsequently we were virtually unknown and our revenues suffered for it. That all changed with our division’s rebranding (now WY Brand Industries), the simultaneous launch of www. wybrandindustries.com and a Facebook page.
Building a Facebook page and linking it with our website was a good business decision for us for the following six reasons:
1. A social media presence is critical for our business.
Today Facebook has over 800 million users, with over half of those users logging into their account every day. Facebook has opened up WY Brand Industries to a whole new group of customers and “friends.” Our “friends” are followers of everything that we say and offer, and they include current and prospective customers, staff, and people in and outside of Wyoming who have an interest in what we do
Most importantly, they are people who like us and who connect and relate to our mission. And they want all of their friends and family and colleagues and customers to know it. It seems to be working – people in Wyoming are beginning to recognize our brand.
2. We have a dialogue with our customers.
Like all social media, Facebook goes beyond conventional advertising and marketing campaigns by allowing people to interact directly with our brand. Facebook creates opportunities for us to get to know our customers through conversations. We make a comment or ask a question and our customers respond to it. We also recruit new employees by posting our job openings on our Facebook page. After all, people who “like” us may also like working with us!
3. It is another way to find us online.
Our Facebook page has helped us increase our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) … now search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Dogpile index the content on both our web site and our Facebook page, making it more likely that we will show up in relevant search results.
4. We get instant customer feedback and weekly demographics.
Facebook provides us with a weekly e-mail with usage and view statistics for our page. It tallies activity we get on specific dates, broken down by day and month, which greatly helps us see how interested people are in what we post, as well as information about our followers.
While the actual metrics (number of “friends,” active users, visits, etc.) ebb and flow based on a number of factors, including the number of posts we make, the report provides us demographic information on the types of visitors we get each week. Demographics include age, sex, geographic location and how often these users look at our content. The report also shows how users found our Facebook page, whether through Facebook itself, through a Google search or by linking from our Website.
5. It is easy to update the page.
Updating our business Facebook page is as easy as updating a personal Facebook page; it can be done from anywhere … I’ve even posted content from home sitting in my pajamas. It does require focus, however, to keep the content fresh and relevant. We try to post enough to be interesting, but not too much to become pesky or boring and risk the conversational relationship we have with our online friends.
Occasionally we will get a lot of traffic in response to a post about a unique or unusual product, but overall we have found that the posts that receive the most views, “likes” and comments are posts that show our people in action. People are very interested in learning about us as fellow human beings. We always try to “tag” people in the photos that we upload so that others who know and follow those people will also be drawn to our site.
6. It is free.
Back in September of 2010, we had limited financial resources at our disposal (and still do) when faced with the challenge to rebrand industries, build a website and build awareness. Facebook has given us a platform where we can build name awareness and put current information in the hands of our customers … lots of customers … for free. We try to maximize its effect by linking our website and our Facebook page. Now whoever visits one is very likely to visit the other. We also encourage staff to link to us through the LinkedIn professional network to further broaden our exposure.
In conclusion, we believe that incorporating social media – specifically Facebook – into our marketing plan is critical for our success. Revenues for WY Brand Industries this year are projected to triple what they were just a few years ago. We are confident that our social media presence on Facebook has helped us realize this increase, as people are now able to find us and interact with us while learning about the products and services we offer, our values … and especially about our people.
P.S. We encourage you to “like” us on Facebook!