Guest blog from GFO Steering Group member, Charis Sharpe, on the marketing workshop GFO and Growing Together ran for local food businesses last year.

On Tuesday 15th November, in the charming but slightly chilly surroundings of Hogacre Common Eco Park, fifteen of us attended a Food Marketing Workshop run by Growing Together and organised by Good Food Oxford.

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Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

After an introduction about the work that Growing Together itself does we discussed how media and social media more specifically can help businesses; telling your story for you and allowing you to build a relationship with existing and potentially new customers. We talked about what media we already use to get our stories across and what has worked for us and what new options we might wish to consider – radio, local television, magazines, Facebook…

The vibrant Sonya of Groundwork West Midlands then gave a presentation to us on social media: what it is, what the three major platforms are and their strengths and an insight in to the wonderful but slightly baffling world of hashtagging!

The key takeaways from this session:

  • 90% of all data that your brain processes is visual
  • Twitter is a great way to connect with stakeholders
  • Instagram is an amazing visual platform but it may be difficult to find your customers
  • Facebook is considered to be the community platform, people share conversations, information and events easily here and the customers you are looking for are most likely to be on Facebook
  • Always include a link to your website where possible – make it easy for your customers to find your goods or services
  • Always include a Call To Action – to sign up for your newsletter, buy your product, like your page

We had a delicious lunch courtesy of Organic Deli Café and heard from Judy of OxGrow about Hogacre itself and the volunteering work that takes place there.

Lastly we heard from Jack of Cultivate who gave an insight into their story, their customers and their future plans (watch this space for exciting news about a potential Food Hub!). Whilst Cultivate do use social media Jack said that their most effective marketing has simply been word of mouth – if your story is an interesting one people will want to help you tell it!


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