Feature Article - March 2010
Find a printable version here

Expand Your Reach

Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

By Stacy St. Clair

Their page's following grew to more than 4,000 fans during this period, as the public shared memories of the various parks and participated in trivia questions that Davenport posted. Some forged a personal connection with the pair, shooting them messages to ask how many miles out they were from a particular site or chatting about how Davenport resembled Lucy Lawless, the actress who played "Xena: Warrior Princess."

"We sold some books, met some great people, made some new friends, but most importantly we hope we introduced YOU to the fantastic state parks of the Palmetto State," Davenport wrote in her last entry from their trip. "Many of you along the way have told us your goal is to visit all 47, and that's awesome, but we simply challenge each of you to try to visit at least one new SC State Park by the end of the year—you won't be disappointed….Here's Gwen and Ken signing off -for now. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you in a SC State Park real soon!"

The trip proved so popular, Reed and Davenport took another road trip in September to promote the best spots to see the fall colors in the state. They also have continued to post pictures of the scenic parks, hold trivia contests and interact with their fans on a daily basis. "It's their (the fans') page, we just try to facilitate it," Davenport said.

Davenport spends a couple of hours on the page every day, making sure she answers followers' questions and keeps the conversation going. She posts updates frequently, but not so often that it annoys people. The page now has nearly 8,000 fans, an impressive number given it's only eight months old.

"It's probably the best resource we have in terms of reaching the public," she said. "It does take a considerable amount of time, but it's so worth it."

Facebook Do's & Don'ts

Under the new Facebook rules, all recreation agencies and venues must have "fan" pages instead of the personal pages that collect friends. While it's a bit harder to collect fans than friends, it's worth the effort.

  • Invite users to become fans of your site. Ask your co-workers to make the same request of their Facebook friends.
  • Respond to questions on your page. It will make your page seem user-friendly and encourage more fans.
  • Choose the right picture. Nothing will advertise your agency more than the picture you use for your avatar, so make it good. Your logo is OK; an interesting photograph of what your agency represents is even better.
  • Don't only post messages to promote events and programs. Post trivia or ask questions that engage your fans in conversation.
  • Don't forget the video function. Facebook is a great place to post your agency's commercials.
  • Don't ignore comments on your page. Interact with your fans. That's what social media is all about.