Friday , 31 October 2014
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Social Media Marketing

Taking Fair Trade Connection back to school

Taking Fair Trade Connection back to school

This month has been a return to my roots. Not only did I return to my motherland, Belgium, but on 9 October 2014 I also returned to my former high school! No, not to re-sit exams, but to give a talk about Fair Trade Connection to a group of students sitting in the very chairs where I once sat. Why did I go back? Well, this year we once again received financial support from Belgium Technical Coorporation (BTC) to organise an event during Fair Trade Week. We chose to use the funds to set up an education day at Virton high school. We split the event into two parts: the first part began in the morning at 9.30am. More than 50 fourth-year students crammed into the one classroom ready for us to get going with our two-hour session. I introduced myself and my background, which naturally evolved into a general discussion on fair trade. I was impressed at how informed the students were! Things then started to get heated as a debate organized by the teacher took place. The mood was ‘How fair is fair trade?’, and the fourth graders touched on some very interesting points. To tell our story of FTC to the students, I thought it was only logical to show what we do best —video! Once the beamer was set up, it was time for lights, camera and action. First up was the clip ‘We can make your products speak’, followed by an educative video about fairtrade made for Oxfam Magasins du Monde. At 7pm, once the tables were laid with nibbles and the drinks were poured (thanks to Virton’s Oxfam Shop), the public started to roll in for the second part of the event. I didn’t expect so many people to show up! Excited by the 60 or so guests, I kicked things off with a presentation on what FTC has achieved in 2014. The crowd was ... Read More »

Social Media and Fair Trade Industry Report

Social Media and Fair Trade Industry Report

We have surveyed 42 fair trade companies from 3 continents with the goal of understanding how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses. Here is what you will discover in the full report (available in our shop): Top 10 objectives companies are trying to achieve with social media This section reveals all the major advantages marketers are achieving with their social media efforts. We have established a ranking according to their importance to the companies. Top 5 social media platforms used by fair trade companies Discover which tools marketers are using, for how long they have been using them and if Northern and Southern companies use the same mix of platforms. The different strategies developed by the companies After verifying how many companies actually had a social media strategy, we analyzed into more details where these companies focused their strategic efforts. The time commitment We examined the weekly hours marketers invest in their social media efforts. This analysis will be helpful for marketers just getting started or those seeking support staff. How much money fair trade companies invest in Social Media Find out what percentage of their marketing budget companies are investing in Social Media. Is this number consistent with the amount of importance companies give to social media? The major problems marketers are facing We made a list of the major problems encountered on social networks ranked by importance. This will help you realize where additional resources could be invested in order to better perform on social platforms. Use our conclusions and recommendations to improve your social media strategy or discover how other fair traders are dealing with social media  throughout 17 graphs and detailed statistics.   Read More »

The Revolution Fair Trade Needs

The Revolution Fair Trade Needs

We have always believed in the benefits of fair trade for marginalized producers and were strong supporters of the movement even before starting Fair Trade Connection. Being on the road for so long and meeting so many of them has just confirmed our initial feeling that fair trade contributes to lifting small producers out of poverty and gives them more control over their lives. We have been to the villages, talked to the artisans, shared meals with their families, visited their houses and spent hundreds of hours getting to know them. What comes out is a huge collection of testimonies all pointing out to the same reality: fair trade products are made with love and the income that they generate do create better lives. Our job now is to tell you these stories, so that just like us, you can realize that fair trade does make a difference. Fair Trade and Social Media Most Western fair trade organizations (retailers and labeling organizations) have already adopted Social Media and use them as part of their marketing efforts to different extents. Social Media is now the name of the game, even for fair trade. Organizations share all kinds of content on different Social Media platforms. Many of them provide information about the products they sell, raise awareness through advocacy campaigns, communicate about events that they organize and so on. We believe that the positive growth of fair trade sales (12% increase since 2010 according to Fairtrade International) could be, at least partially, explained by the ever growing use of social media to promote the movement. We see in social media the perfect tool for further connecting producers and consumers. One tool in particular caught our attention… QR Codes If you’ve been in a public space in the last year or two, you’ve probably seen a QR (Quick Response) code —a small, square two-dimensional barcode that looks a bit like a miniature chess ... Read More »

Fair Trade and Social Media: Watch & Learn 01 [@FairtradeUK]

Fair Trade and Social Media: Watch & Learn 01 [@FairtradeUK]

The more producers’ organizations we meet on the road, the more we understand the importance of Social Media as a way to promote your fair trade business. Indeed, Social Media is a great way to engage with potential new customers, give more information about your social project and products, but it is also very useful to keep an eye on market trends and latest fashions. About half the fair trade organizations we visited in Asia were already active on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, the other half seemed really enthusiastic about getting started. Fair Trade Connection is all about connecting fair trade producers with consumers so we quickly understood that in order to do so, we needed to train the non-initiated so that they too could leverage the potential of Social Media Marketing. The “Watch & Learn” series is a collection of Social Media best practices in the fair trade industry that we gathered and analyzed for you. This 1st post will be analyzing the videos of the amazing “Take a step for Fairtrade” campaign by the Fairtrade Foundation. The @FairtradeUK in the title of this post is their Twitter name, so go ahead and follow them if you want. Let’s jump to the heart of this campaign and start with the presentation video: 1/ The Campaign presentation Video What we liked: Strong Corporate Identity: the Fairtrade Foundation really does a good job being consistant with the look and feel of their messages. One should establish a corporate document stating which typography and fonts, colors and shades, logotypes and declinaison logos your company will be using to comunicate. And most importantly stick to it! Appropriate Music: the rythm of the video is given by the music. See how the text is synchronized with the music. Sync your visuals with the music to create greater impact on your viewers. Proper use of Sound Effects: the additional sound effects helps the viewer relate ... Read More »

Inside ThaiCraft’s Communication department

Inside ThaiCraft’s Communication department

During one of our recent trips to Thailand we stopped by Bangkok and attended one of the well known ThaiCraft Fair Trade Fairs. These fairs are organized on a regular basis in the Sukhumvit area, a very dynamic commercial center in the Thai capital. There we met Peng and Mynt, two very professional young ladies in charge of ThaiCraft communication department. We ceased this opportunity to ask them a few question about their social media marketing. Ronny (FTC): What kind of content do you post on Facebook and Twitter? Mynt (ThaiCraft): Mostly it is about our activities and pictures from the fairs, to attract more people to the fairs. But we also use these new medias to spread the news about punctual actions or events. Like during the floods in 2011. We wanted to support our artisan members who were affected by the floods so we spread the news on Facebook and were able to provide them with food and blankets during these difficult times. Some areas were severely affected, to the point that the handicraft production had to stop which means that many people were left without an income. We decided to undertake these actions to support them. Ronny (FTC): Does ThaiCraft also have a blog? Peng (ThaiCraft): No, only our website. But we should have one. It’s in our future plans. We would like to either create a blog or develop our website to tell more about the artisans’ stories, we are working on it. Ronny (FTC): How would you like to tell the stories of your producers? Peng (ThaiCraft): We would like our product tags to tell the story. Maybe with a QR code system that the customers could scan at the fairs and directly get the information on the people who made the products. Ronny (FTC): So the QR code would link to a web page or a video? Peng (ThaiCraft): Yes maybe a web page, ... Read More »

Why you MUST use social media for your business

Why you MUST use social media for your business

Did you know that over 50% of the world population is under 30 years old? That YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world? or that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations when only 14% trust advertisements? This is only 3 stats, I could go on for pages. The Internet is filled with social media statistics, all more impressive than the others. They are all pointing towards the same direction: social media is not an option for promoting your business, it is a MUST. For those of you not yet convinced of that, here is a selection of 3 videos showing facts and figures about the social media revolution. Don’t wait any longer, get on the boat! If you don’t know where to start from, you could try this link. Read More »

My fair trade business is on Facebook, now what?

My fair trade business is on Facebook, now what?

You’ve decided to get on the social media train and start a Facebook page for your business. Congratulations! You are probably wondering: “What am I going to say now?” This post is specifically written for fair trade producer’s organizations who are doing their first steps on Facebook. If that’s you, read on to discover 5 great ways to produce relevant content to feed your brand new page. First you need to understand that the great majority of your fans (people who have liked your page) will only come to your page once. That is the one time they hit the “LIKE button”. It doesn’t mean they won’t continue to follow your stories and read your content, it’s just that they won’t come to your page to find it. Most of your fans will find your posts in their newsfeed. It is thus important to create content on a regular basis to reach your fans via their newsfeed. Keeping that in mind, what should you write about? I’m tempted to answer that question by another question: “Who are your fans?” Understanding your audience is crucial to provide relevant content. As a fair trade producer’s organization your fan base will most likely consist of fair trade consumers or adherents from all over the world, Western distributors and fair trade/NGO activists. You could try to segment your audience into 2 or 3 different categories and roughly estimate the proportion each category represents. This would help you elaborate a ratio for your posts. Lets say 70% of your fans are fair trade consumers, 15% are distributors and the other 15% are NGO activists. A good posting strategy would be to write 3 posts that meet the consumers’ interests, 1 that meets the distributor’s interests and 1 you know the activists will relate to to keep everyone happy. We understand that establishing such ratio’s isn’t easy, truly understanding your audience requires time and resources. If ... Read More »

Developing your Fair Trade company’s Social Media Strategy

Developing your Fair Trade company’s Social Media Strategy

You hear about them every day, all your friends use them and you might even use them yourself… Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FlickR, YouTube, … Social media have become a part of our (virtual) lives. But what about your business? Is it time to add social media to your marketing mix? If you think the answer is “Yes” then the next question is: “Where do I start? In this post I’m going to give you a few keys to develop your company’s social media strategy. Deciding to dive into social media marketing is a bit like deciding to buy a new dog. When we buy a new puppy we’re all exited and we want to play with him but in reality bringing home that puppy is a big commitment and is time consuming. That is why before buying the puppy or jumping into social media to advertise your business, you should ask yourself if you have the ressources to handle it? A good way to find out is to organize a meeting with your managing staff in order to elaborate a social media strategy. 1# Determine your final goal Be it finding more distributors for your products then you will focus on developping relationships with your Western partners and distributors; be it promoting your products then you will focus on establishing a dialogue with your final consumers; be it finding inspiration for new product development then you’ll try to interact with creative people and communities. Try to set specific objectives that can be measured and decide how much time and money you want to dedicate to social media. 2# Find your audience There’s a vast literature about finding an audience, I’m not going to tackle this issue here, I’ll just summarize it in three action points: Make a list of keywords and phrases related to your business Make a list of social media sites where you think you can meet your ... Read More »

Manage your online reputation

Manage your online reputation

How can people find out about your business? How do potential clients know you even exists? How will these potential new clients find you? There’s a good chance the first thing they’ll do is google the name of your business. And then what? This post will teach you 5 easy steps to build  and effectively manage your online reputation. After all, reputation is everything. When it comes to marketing, your reputation can either be your best friends or your worst enemy. 1/ Create relevant and valuable content Use the media you prefer, it could be your website, your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or LinkedIn. Every piece of content including properly tagged photos and videos will appear in search engines. Don’t be a product pusher, think about your target audience. They don’t want to be hammered with disguised advertisement, they want to find interesting content about their centers of interests. If your target is a group of European fair trade distributors, try to create material that they could use if they decided to start a partnership with your business. It could be some beautifull pictures of workers doing handicrafts, or a blog about the everyday’s life of the artisans who work with you. Be creative and think about the interests/passions/needs of your target community as opposed to your own. 2/ Create a Google alert about yourself and join the conversation Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. To get started go to Google alert, and enter your search terms. I strongly recommand you set up a Google alert for your business, your name, or your competitors. You can even create an alert for any key phrases such as “looking for a fair trade coffee producer” or “fair trade wooden toys”. Creating an alert to monitor your e-reputation is one thing, responding to polish it is the ... Read More »

3 apps you must have on your facebook page

3 apps you must have on your facebook page

There are thousands of applications out there and we know it is not easy to choose the right ones. In this post we handpicked the 3 apps that you must have to promote your fair trade business with your facebook page. 1/ Customize your landing tab It has been demonstrated with an experiment that having a customized landing tab doubles your chances to convert people visiting your page for the first time into fans. During the experiment, visitors were driven to a fan page with ads. Those ad-driven visitors converted to fans at a rate of approximately 47% WITH a landing tab. Then the landing tab has been turned off and it has been noticed that those same ad-driven visitors converted to fans at approximately 23% Many people use Static FBML or Tabsite to customize their landing page. A good landing page must contain a “call to action” such as “hit the like button to follow us”. Be creative. You can read those 2 well-made tutorials to learn more about customized landing tabs. Here is an example of a good landing page: Oxfam GB 2/ Import your blog’s RSS feed You want your fans to know when there is something new on your blog. Use the networkedblogs app to do that. You  can also place the networked blogs widget on your blog it will display your fans’ profile photos on your blog. 3/ Link your YouTube channel to your page Thanks to this app from Involver, you can integrate your YouTube channel to your page. It will let you choose which videos you want to display among other options. It is easy to use and doesn’t take users away from your fan page to view the videos. See an example of YouTube integration on a facebook fan page here.   Read More »