Veronica Hoyos Leonard, guest columnist With more than 900 million users, Facebook is a great platform to express your views and feelings with friends and people with similar interests.
But some questions remain unanswered about the social network.
Can Facebook actually contribute to the bottom line of your business?
Or can it go astray against your company?
Can you influence the debate on issues affecting your industry?
Because of the nature of Facebook updates, if you be-friend your favorite organizations, for example, “The White House,” you are able to post your comments and anyone going to this page can “like,” comment, share or read other people’s comments.
Once you write a comment, everyone that accesses the “The White House” will view your comment.
On Facebook you can easily find all the grower associations and the local food groups for almost every state. Yet the reality is that most consumers are not familiar with the organizations that form the base of the produce industry.
I searched for the top industry credit rating organizations, the Red Book and the Blue Book, and could not find them.
They haven’t joined the social network — nor has the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Dispute Resolution Corp. or the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
The Produce Marketing Association and The Packer have joined the social media audience and their “likes” continue to increase.
I also searched for several well-known produce firms, and one with the largest “likes” is Driscoll’s, with a significant 109,590 “likes” as of late May.
As a comparison, Barack Obama has an impressive 26,801,138 “likes.”
Driscoll’s is doing a great job attracting “friends” by posting beautiful pictures, award-winning recipes and sweepstakes.
Is Driscoll’s making money from Facebook?
Probably not, but for sure they are building their brand and influencing the discussion about their products.
It is obvious that people like Driscoll’s Facebook page.
Are Facebook pages telling us something about the produce industry trends? I believe so, but what is the message consumers have access to?
How is your company participating in the social media dialogue about your industry?
Facebook is like karma, the concept in Hinduism that maintains that every act done, no matter how insignificant, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact.
Facebook can be a great promoter to your organization or it can let the dirty laundry out to be inspected by anyone with access to a computer and an attitude.