Businesses and organizations navigate the social media web
Photo by Matt Petricone
Lisa Landry, co-owner (with husband Flavio Lichtenthal) and gallery manager of No. Six Depot Roastery & Café in West Stockbridge, can barely sit for ten minutes to finish a bowl of soup. She is in the absolute thick of packing up hundreds of “branded” gift boxes of gourmet teas, salts, chocolates, and, of course, coffee. The boxes are a small component of the entire café culture that she is cultivating as a local business owner in a global landscape. With that in mind, Landry is also overhauling the roastery’s website, as well as taking time to “really think about” her social media content.
“The website is a hub; I really want it to be a resource for everyone—people who visit the town, our buyers, our patrons, foodies. There’s so much noise out there, I feel like if you’re not providing something of value, then get out of the way.” Landry took a hiatus from social media to, as she says, “start with the why” of what she is posting and reading on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other outlets.
“We really need to respect our audience and produce interesting content,” says Landry.
Navigating social media as a way to cultivate business can be a hit-or-miss game, says Lindsey Schmidt, director of marketing for 1Berkshire, a regional development organization which often runs several campaigns—Visit the Berkshires, Berkshires Today, Berkshire Young Professionals, Berkshire Leadership Program—all under the same umbrella.
Schmidt is “never off the clock” when it comes to posting for 1Berkshire. “I have two computer screens in front of me. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in terms of our followers, and the growth has been mostly organic. The thing about social media is that you need to eat and breathe the product.”
This means having a stellar website, making sure that posts, to whatever platform, are meaningful, and also being aware of the demographics.
Despite the onslaught of online content, Schmidt says, some people still prefer the real thing. “A lot of our audience still functions in print, they still read the magazines. There’s something about the tactile experience in an age that is so ephemeral.”
The broad stroke of digital life has drawn businesses to the center of the social media world. Places like Kripalu Yoga & Health in Stockbridge have an active web life containing entire yoga classes as well as mindfulness podcasts, articles, and recipes.
Sienna Patti, owner of Sienna Patti Contemporary, an exhibition-based gallery for contemporary studio artists, recently dove headfirst into Instagram, shifting around some of the physical space in her Lenox location to accommodate a styling “shoot” for product photos. Despite her two decades as a gallery owner, Patti is somewhat bemused by the “life” of an object once she frees it to social media.
“I like to use the red ring as an example of how you never know,” says Patti, who posted a picture of a red enamel and gold ring to the gallery’s Instagram feed. It quickly garnered more than 100 likes. That provided an a-ha moment for Patti and her assistant Amelia Toelke. “We’re a super-specific niche, and this is a way to infiltrate a younger audience and put who we are and our artists out to the wider world.”
Even nonprofits are telling their stories in curated blips. With nearly 3,000 followers, Berkshire Athenaeum puts out clips of the 3D printer at work, as well as the “Book Face Friday”—staffers posing with book covers as masks. “I was looking for a way to engage a younger, fresher audience,” says reference librarian and social media guru Andrea Pugliswi. Eye-catching photos and witty comments are a means to a destination—and that’s most important for Patti and other business owners. “People trust that we exist and that we are authentic,” she says. “That face-to-face encounter is everything.”
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Social media stats for Berkshire businesses Instagram on lock
- MASS MoCA massmoca 68.8K+
- Annie Selke annieselke 42.4K+
- Kripalu kripalucenter 34.3K+
- Jacob’s Pillow Dance jacobspillow 27.9K+
- Blue Q gifts/décor blue_q 22.1K+
- Jimmy Peak jiminypeak 7.4K+
- 1Berkshire visittheberkshires ..7.1K+
- Sienna Patti gallery siennapatti ..5.8K+
- Historic Red Lion Inn redlioninn ..4.7K+
- Ramblewild ramblewild ..3.8K+
- William Pitt Sotheby’s williampittsir ..3.8K+
- Heirloom Fire catering smokey_chaps ..3.4K+
- No. Six Depot sixdepot ..3.2K+
- Berkshire Athenaeum berkathenaeum 2.9K+