Though word of mouth can still spread the news, there’s no denying that Facebook and other social media will make sure the entire world knows your business.
And for A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island, NY, that’s exactly the desired result.
Michelle Gurda, who is the fifth-generation in this produce grower/packer/shipper family, handles all social media posts and the company’s web site, www.agurdaproduce.com, and tells OnionBusiness.com that Facebook and the web site in particular have been valuable marketing tools. The web site went live about four years ago, and the Facebook page was launched in tandem with the site, with the two linked.
“Our web site has been a big component in increasing the visibility of the company,” Michelle said. “Facebook is the second biggest platform and has resulted in calls.”
Facebook is an excellent vehicle for sharing onion news, and Michelle said posts are made frequently.
“We post recipes and cooking tips about onions and the produce we provide,” she said, noting, “We also post any newsworthy information in regards to the produce industry and some times daily pictures of the warehouse and our management team.”
Michelle works with her father, Andrew, in sales and marketing and is also the food safety practitioner/food safety director. Andrew is president of the company, and his brother David is farm manager. Brother-in-law Stanley Smith is warehouse manager.
Onions make up nearly two-thirds of what is grown by A. Gurda and are in the Facebook and Instagram – the newest social media platform used by Michelle – spotlight.
“I think social media and digital communication in today’s business world is huge and is definitely something to keep up on as a business owner,” Michelle said. The intrinsic value, she said, is that companies are kept in real-time touch with consumer needs and constantly changing trends.
A. Gurda’s experience is a good example of a 2015 Forbes’ on line piece by Sujan Patel, VP of marketing at When I Work, a digital marketing agency. Patel stressed throughout his article the importance of keeping the human side of business present in a company’s social media posts, which Gurda does well.
At http://news.monster.com/a/business/how-businesses-should-be-using-social-media-in-2015-28768a, Patel wrote that “… as of 2015, roughly 73 percent of all Americans have at least one social media profile – up from 48% just five years ago.” And businesses are establishing their profiles in huge numbers as well.
He suggested five ways in which to “humanize your social media efforts,” starting with treating followers “like actual people.”
Citing mom-and-pop stores of yesteryear and the personal relationships that were commonplace in those businesses, Patel advised companies to “create the same experience for social media followers.”
He also recommended focusing on “who people are, not what they give you.” A well-crafted comment was, “There are a million other companies around who are stuffing ads in their face, discounts on their screen, and one-liners on the side of the profile they choose to view. Savvy customers ignore these and look for companies that focus on them as individuals.”
Another tip is to take time and build a relationship. “Your goal isn’t necessarily to generate sales with every promotional tweet or status update you run (although it’s great when that happens from time to time). Instead, look at every new interaction as an opportunity to build engagement with your followers.”
Tip four is to help followers decide to buy instead of asking them for the sale. “Once you’ve taken the time to develop authentic relationships with followers based on trust, allow them to digitally ‘window shop.’ Create excellent content.”
And tip five is to listen. “Encourage your followers to give you feedback on your products, your brand, and your participation on social media. Let them know that you’re listening and that you value their feedback.
Social media and marketing? It’s here to stay.
And while the medium is as fast as a keyboard stroke and the results are instant and viewed by an audience that can grow exponentially, the message is as old-school as a rotary phone and a number-two pencil on a Big Chief tablet.
Do unto others still means something in produce.
Here are just a few of the many onion posts we found on Twitter that were shared during the Thanksgiving holiday. Send us your social links and we will share them on our OnionBusiness.com Facebook and Twitter pages.