By Brian Frieze, Sangamon Reclaimed founder and president
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing to the masses. We have used social media to run competitions, announce new products and services, and tell stories about Sangamon Reclaimed. It’s affordable, simple to use, and fast. However, if you want to go one step further and engage with your public at all levels you need to invest in additional tactics.
This is where a marketing plan comes into play. Not only do you want to create a social media strategy, but you should also consider TV, radio, and print media as part of your marketing plan. You may not have the finances available for ad spend, particularly if you're a start-up or small business, but there are ways to gain coverage without breaking the bank.
At Sangamon Reclaimed part of our marketing strategy is to sponsor events or causes that align with our business model, participate in speaking opportunities – from Rotary groups to Innovate Springfield and Local First Springfield to Compass for Kids (Camp Compass) We also enter (and win) awards; we are recipients of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) "Statement of Support" certificate, Springfield Business Journal's Top Fifteen Under 15 Award, Springfield Business Journal's Top Forty Under 40, The Illinois Department of Veterans' Illinois Veterans' Business Appreciation Award, Good as Gold Honor Business Roll by the University of Illinois Springfield 2018 and 2019, Local First Springfield Emerging & Energized Award, Woodworking Network’s 40 Under 40 Award, and the Jaycees Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of Illinois award. We were shortlisted for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards - Business Owner of the Year and we are an official Enjoy Illinois maker. We also seek out opportunities in TV, radio, and print media whether there’s a relevant topic in the news we can comment on, we have a story about the business, or an update on our Flags for Heroes initiative, for example. There are lots of chances to get in front of a camera, mic, photographer or journalist.
We also update our blog regularly with industry news, projects, and feature local businesses and professionals that work with us. These stories and more are featured in our monthly e-newsletter along with information about our Saturday shopping days.
So, you can see that there is so much more to marketing than social media – and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Have a go at entering awards, seek out speaking opportunities, and sponsor events. Develop relationships with the media and keep an eye on what is happening in Springfield, the state, and your industry. Employ just some of these tactics and you’re off to a great start.