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When properly managed, Facebook can be a terrific resource to reach customers and potential customers. The key is well-balanced content, with just a bit of it being self-promotional and more being educational or informative. You may have heard this referred to as the 80/20 rule.

I’m currently working with a regional food distribution company, Shaheen Bros., Inc., to help them reach more restaurants and other food sellers via Facebook, in their market of Mass, N.H., and Maine. So, our Facebook content is roughly 20% about food we sell on behalf of our partners, and the rest is usually sharing a combination of links to news stories of interest to restaurant management, as well as recipes and cooking tips. We also talk about Shaheen Bros., Inc.’s charitable work and belief in buying local. We even sometimes delve into beverage trends for Thirsty Thursdays, even though Shaheen Bros., Inc. doesn’t sell liquor. The point is to provide content that should be of interest to a majority of your fans. Facebook is, after all, primarily a source of entertainment.

Our arrangement calls for me to deliver a month’s worth of posts (20+) for review, the week prior to the month they will be posted. They rarely request any changes, but this gives them opportunity to review everything, just in case something is awry. Once they give the OK, I go ahead and schedule the posts on the specified days. Furthermore, to build awareness of their Facebook page and hopefully gain new fans, I engage freely on their behalf with area food sellers who post specials and other news to Facebook. Just by liking or commenting on their posts with the Shaheen Bros., Inc. name, it’s helping them increase their reach at the same time because fans of Shaheen Bros., Inc. may also then see their posts. As a bonus, I’m told that company management encourages their sales team to review our Facebook posts for inspiration in their sales techniques. They get it!

If you’re on Facebook and would like to keep up with the Shaheen Bros., Inc. page, give it a like. Much of the content we share is valuable to any home cook too.