Having recently become an ‘active’ user of twitter and LinkedIn and having been a very active user of facebook for some time, I have been thinking as to what real benefits such online platforms provide for rural businesses. Without mobile broadband across many rural areas businesses are unlikely to be able to use social networking to best advantage. Let’s take twitter as an example. Usually twitter works best for businesses in that it creates a community that is loyal to your brand. If you need this community to be able to access you geographically speaking then your success will probably be limited. If your sales are likely to come from elsewhere then more success may be gained. Twitter also allow businesses to gauge what is happening at that moment within their particular sector, to network with others within their industry and to extend their own potential customer network.
There are certainly possibilities with facebook simply as an old fashioned advertising platform. An online presence is important in that it enables you to have full control over how your business is perceived on the net. Many consumers now check up on companies they haven’t experienced before ‘ONLINE’ BEFORE they choose to make a purchase. Facebook allows for an active engagement with your consumers. This is very important for rural businesses because it vastly widens the potential customer base.
LinkedIn is a great resource in that enables you to touch base with others in your field and to reach out to new customers/potential networks who can help you advance your business.
Does anyone who runs a rural business have any positive/negative experiences with social media? I’d appreciate hearing your views in the comments box below.