How local organic food retailer Fraser Region Organic Goodness decided to go the Internet route for their one-of-a-kind business, emerging as a fully-fledged grocery store and one of town’s most trusted health promoters in just two years.
Interview by Shannon Woolacott
Edited By France Pinzon
Slowly but surely, going organic has become “the healthy choice” for any household to make and the opportunity to promote healthier lifestyles in the region eventually led to the organisation of a small co-op in Hervey Bay to push reasonably priced organic vegetables and fruits to families and individuals. “It’s just a way of making it more affordable for people – the more people that can eat organic fruit and vegetables, and give that to their children without breaking the bank is definitely a good thing for everyone and our planet,” says Celine Louie, who was an active member of the co-op during its early stages.
Little did she know that their conscious effort would eventually lead her to put up local favourite Fraser Region Organic Goodness — FROG for short – as a certified organic produce seller to Hervey Bay and Maryborough residents (and Bundaberg in October 2014), thanks largely to Social Media.
THE ‘NEW’ WAY FOR THE NEW BUSINESS
A mother of two, Celine recalls how the small cooperative officially became a retail shop in 2012, running solely online. Although FROG also tried other ways to advertise – the flyers and the moving billboards – Celine believes nothing has been as effective as using Social Media to market the business. “Nothing’s really been all that successful to be honest. I found Facebook is the word-of-mouth [method], so especially for a unique business like mine, it’s a good way to get the word out,” she finds. “I’ve definitely focused on Social Media as being the main form of advertising.”
Along with the decision to put up a Facebook business page, Celine sought the expert opinion and guidance of a Social Media management team, which immediately helped bring in the immediate positive effects on the business. And although it is admittedly going to be a bit of a job and worry amid thinking of all the kinds of reactions you can receive online – the positive and the negative, Celine swears by the success of Social Media in advertising FROG. “Once I made that choice, that conscious decision that ‘okay, I’m going to put some money into this and see where it will take me’, the results have been amazing,” she shares. “It’s really, in the last 4-5 months, we’ve got so many more ‘likes’ and definitely, you can feel that the word is out and people are aware of us.”
- Easy and Cheap
Especially to Celine, who started out on Facebook with her personal page years back, starting a business page went smoothly and with little to no spending involved, too. “I really didn’t spend, even though I was on Social Media for quite a long time, I suppose for at least the first year I didn’t spend a cent on Social Media, yet it was a huge benefit for my business,” she says. “I love the fact that you can do as little or as much as you want and that’s great, too.”
- Better and Longer Recall
“We’re all so busy and we all live such busy lives [so] if something’s not in the forefront of our minds, we can easily forget it,” Celine says.“I guess Facebook is that way of staying in people’s minds.”
- Sense of Community
“It’s about community, which I love,” Celine adds. “For me, community is a really big part of any business and Social Media allows it. It’s an avenue of creating community.”
And when you DO get your business on Facebook…
- To be sure, get some assistance – hire a manager!
Celine felt that in order to really accomplish doing the Facebook posts, she needed to get help from Social Media experts, for more strategic and creative posts, as well as to get some tips about Facebook and Social Media. Soon enough, managing the business page showed the results she wanted. “I’m using Facebook more productively and it’s given me more ideas on what to post and removed the doubts I had. When I first contacted them I was feeling a bit stagnant about posting and I was feeling a bit negative about it because I just didn’t know what to do,” Celine admits, “and I really actually enjoy writing so I find that posts are like a tiny little mini blog sometimes. I enjoy it for that but it was also hard, so they were really able to put me back on track and I’ve got printouts all around my office around me and they just helped me stay focused.”
- It’s OK to get personal
“People just want to know who’s behind the business and I guess that’s what the Social Media experts taught me,” Celine admits. “In the beginning, I didn’t put myself out there and show that this is my own business. I guess in some ways, it is because of me [that people support my business]. So it’s building up that trust and just being yourself that people will fall in love with [your business].”
Facebook: the best kept business secret as of present?
“A lot of people disregard Facebook as a good advertising option. But you know, I really think that it can work so well with businesses,” Celine believes.
FROG’s increase in revenue:
79.60% from Dec 2013 to June 2014 (6-month increase), and
44.28% from March 2014 to June 2014 after using WRSM (3-month increase)
FROG Boxes can be delivered or be ready for pick up every Thursday in Maryborough and Hervey Bay (and Bundaberg in October). View FROG Organic Boxes’ full range of organic products at www.frogshop.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries
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