Social media savvy for seafood


Mary Smith

Published on
March 18, 2010

Cythina Barstow, President of Seed to Shelf, spoke to a rapt crowd at the 2010 Boston Seafood Show about the importance of understanding social media and what it can do for your business.  After a great overview on who’s using social media, and when, how, why and where they are using it, the focus narrowed on Bar Harbor Foods and their entry into the Twitter arena.

Tweeting as @barharborfoods, this Maine-based company started with a few simple objectives that echoed reasons why many people get involved in social media. Specifically, Bar Harbor Foods wanted to cultivate relationships, be authentic and offer some Twitter specific promotions – all of which they continue to do quite successfully.

Cynthia Fisher, Bar Harbor’s main tweeter, starts early in the morning, reviewing their Twitter page, checking on new followers, looking for relevant items to tweet or retweet and scheduling tweets utilizing CoTweet, which also allows for multiple people to tweet under the same username – very useful!  Danielle Mathras, from Seed to Shelf, who works to assist Bar Harbor with their social media work admitted that “the real investment is time."  Many social media options may be free, but they do require effort to work effectively.

Fisher shared a great story about one of their prolific followers, @ChefFrankyG.  A fan of Bar Harbor’s products, Chef Franky was interested in using them in his work.  After some internet sleuthing, Fisher noticed Chef Franky had some great cooking videos posted on YouTube.  She suggested he film a couple of demos featuring some of their products, videos that are now posted on YouTube and further extend Bar Harbor’s reach. “It was the culmination of a conversation started on social media” Fisher said, and a great example of how Twitter can act to enhance relationships. 

The panel reminded new and experienced Twitter users how important it is to monitor your brand.  Who is talking about you and what are they saying? Running simple searches on Twitter can help you keep up with the conversation, and there are multiple free resources available to enhance your tracking ability.  Check out TwitterSheep and Twitalyzer to learn more.

Another good point that the panel focused on was using key words in your tweets and in your Twitter bio (and of course on your FaceBook page, blog, etc…) to improve your search engine rank. Every word counts!  Spend some time and effort to plant words, the right words for your brand, in everything you write.

An interesting survey that Barstow pointed to asked social media users how they thought businesses should be using services like Twitter and their number one reason was to “solve my problems/provide product or service information”. Other reasons included offering incentives and soliciting feedback. 

Before you dive in, check out what your competition is doing. You need to familiarize yourself with the “current category conversation” is, and use this information to guide your own social media objectives.

And be sure to set some objectives. Specific, measurable objectives, to be exact!  Whether those objectives are to identify and attract new customers or to stay engaged with current customers, outline them thoroughly and set a timeline to review and analyze them, maybe every 3 months. If you aren’t meeting those objectives, what do you need to change? 

If the whole Twitter world scares you or if you just not sure how to get started, Barstow recommends checking out Twitter 101 for Business to get your feet wet.

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