Friday, August 31, 2012

Using PA MarketMaker to Market Your Business (part 2)

In my last post, I wrote an overview on the ways you can use PA MarketMaker to market your food business. If you are interested in signing up, below is a easy "how to" guide for setting up your profile.

Creating a profile on Pennsylvania MarketMaker

1. Go to and click on the “Register” button in the upper right of the page.

2. Select a business type. If you have more than one type of business (for example, you have a corn maze and therefore are Agritourism and you also have a café which would be an Eating & Drinking Place) you may add other business types later in the profile creation process.

3. Once you choose a business type, you will be given a page full of different checkboxes that may or may not apply to your business (for example, Agritourism has options like air conditioning, group discounts, picnic areas, wedding parties, etc). Choose all that apply to you. Don't forget to explore the tabs above the checkboxes. They will lead you to more options. Also, if you see a small diamond shape next to a selection (like this ◊), that indicates that there are further choices in that category (for example, once you check the box for "Milk", you have the options to select "Goat", "Cow", or "Sheep").

4. As mentioned in Step 2, you may select the “Save & Add Another Profile” at the bottom of the page if you have multiple business ventures. If not, click “Continue”.

5. On the Upload Image page, you are welcome to upload an image of your business or your product/service, but it is not a necessary step in the registration process. Don’t have a photo yet? You can always update your profile at any time! Click “Continue” to proceed.

6. The next page is for general business information. MarketMaker website users will be able to view this information and use it for contacting you. Don’t forget to add your Twitter and Facebook information if you have it!

7. After clicking “Continue”, you will be directed to the Contact Information page. Please list contact information for the person in charge of handling customer calls. Multiple contacts may be added by selecting the “Save & Add Another Contact” button. To proceed, click “Continue”.

8. Are you affiliated with any Pennsylvania food or farm agencies or associations? The Affiliations page allows you to choose the agencies or associations you are affiliated with and their badge will appear on your profile. Click “Continue” after you have selected all of your affiliations.

9. The last page of registration allows you to preview your profile before submission. If you need to make a change, click on the “Edit” button next to that mistake. If you are satisfied, click “Submit”.

10. A password will be emailed to you. Use it to update your profile at any time.

Congratulations! Your business is now listed on Pennsylvania MarketMaker. In my next post, I'll talk about using MarketMaker to search for a product or business.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Using PA MarketMaker to Market Your Business (part 1)

If you attended Ag Progress Days last week, I hope you visited the PA MarketMaker booth in the Farm Credit building to learn more about PA MarketMaker and how it can help you market your food business.  If you weren't able to make it to APD, you can find more info about MarketMaker here in this blog series.

First off, what exactly is MarketMaker?  Penn State Extension has partnered with many other states to launch Pennsylvania MarketMaker, an online tool that allows you to create an online directory listing of your
business and your products.  MarketMaker has a lot of other great features! The site allows you to:

  • create a business listing so customers can find you through searches
  • explore market research including census data about potential customers in Pennsylvania
  • use the Buy& Sell Forum to list specific products/services you are selling or ones that you are hoping to purchase
  • check out what produce is in season, and
  • find fact sheets and publications about marketing and managing your food or farm business.
Stay tuned for more info on how to set up your MarketMaker profile and how it can help you market your business!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not Being Retweeted?

It's not enough to create social media accounts - be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any of the others that exist.  You've also got to post and share content that your followers find valuable in some fashion.  On Twitter, value is often measured in retweets. If your followers find value in what you have tweeted, they will retweet it - sharing your message with their followers.

I recently came across the aptly titled article, "10 Reason I Don't Retweet You & Your Content."  I've picked out a few of the author's reasons (in bold italics) that I think hold water and added my own thoughts about each.
  • Your blog stinks. Whether it's a blog or a website for your business, the site and it's content need to have a certain level of professionalism.  Make sure you're providing the information that you advertise is there (product info, contact info, helpful resources, etc), and in a visually appealing and easily navigated fashion.  Most people won't waste time going back to a site if they were unable to find what they were looking for the first time.  Make sure that content is readable (i.e. proper spelling and grammar) and appropriate for your target market.
  • Your content stinks. What are you sharing?  Quotes? A running updates of your daily activities?  Some of this is fine, and even valuable from the perspective that it gives your followers some insight to your personality.  However, you need to tweet content that resonates with your followers.  If you run a garden center, think about tweeting answers to commonly asked questions, pictures of newly available plants, links to relevant Extension publications, etc. Get engaged in Twitter conversations that are in your area of expertise.
  • The only time you talk is when you want me to share your content.  If your content is good and has value (see previous point), then when the time comes that you want to (explicitly) ask your followers to share a particular tweet they will be more likely to do so. 
  • You make it hard to share your tweet. The Twitter limit of 140 characters can be challenging at times, but if you want people to retweet you need to make it easy to do so.  Aim for your tweets to only use around 120 characters.  This should leave plenty of space for the "RT" and retweeter's handle.  The last thing you want is for someone to a) not retweet because it would take too much effort on their part to re-craft your message or b) retweet after altering the post so that it no longer reflects your view or purpose.
  • You tweet the same stuff everyday.  Contrary to the popular saying, you can have too much of a good thing.  People like variety.  So, first make sure your content is good and then vary it.  Perhaps a link or two to an educational article mixed with a notice of an event that you're hosting.  You want people to be happy that they're seeing you're tweets (or at least not unhappy enough that they hide or unfollow you).
 If you're using Twitter for your farm or food business and have been thinking about how to gain more traction with your tweets, I hope this has been helpful.