Our monthly Business Club was held at IADK offices where a large number of participants were present. 26 participants included small farmers, small food processing businesses, traditional food catering businesses, bee keepers and other Agricultural and food related SMEs.
The topic of discussion was: Marketing through Social Networks, in particular through Facebook. IBCM was represented by Petrit Balija (IBCM Professor), Mithat Sejdiu (Marketing Coordinator), Alfia Urazaeva (Business Development Manager). The agenda included a combination of exchange in knowledge, tips and tactics, and feedback from those with direct experience in marketing through social networks. The club opened with brainstorming session, following with a lecture from Mr. Balija that included general information about Facebook techniques. Mr Sejdiu supplemented this lecture with a demonstration of the facebook platform on how to use Facebook for marketing using “boosts”.
It was pleasantly surprising to see the great interest of participants on this topic. Although the participants were of different genders, different age groups, different business capacities, they all showed readiness to begin engaging in facebook marketing. In fact, some of them were already in possession of facebook accounts where they had been posting information about their products and services.
Many who had already used these marketing techniques expressed that they were very satisfied with the way that facebook marketing has increased their sales and expanded their customer base. In fact, one of the more successful Facebook pages was created by an IBCM graduate during her internship with IADK. Others expressed some difficulties which they had with facebook marketing and their answers were addressed during this session by the IBCM experts, who analyzed their Facebook pages and gave practical advice on how to improve them. Posting a picture, to give one example, will immediately grab 2-3 seconds of the viewer’s attention, should be of the highest quality possible. The content of their pages should connect to the history of the country – its values, traditions as it is relevant to their business article. Despite one farmer’s indication that he was very hesitant to use facebook for marketing, he was starting to feel much more comfortable with it and he would try to see how he could use Facebook marketing to promote his organically produced food.
The conclusions of the Business Club were: for many farmers it is difficult to master marketing tools, especially for older generations, as most of their efforts are focused on production. However they are beginning to understand that it is a very important tool to promote their agri/food products-thus will consider investing more into sales and marketing staff. Many agreed that the perceived negative opinion which exists in Kosovo about agricultural products – being produced in contaminated area – can and should be addressed through marketing tools that can reach a wider audience. Facebook is one of them: you can target specific demographics and the seller is able to respond immediately to any concerns; but also be proactive by, for example, posting your health certificates and awards.
The participants thanked IBCM for this very valuable seminar and expressed interest for some additional training and facilitation which IBCM could provide in the future: training in how to write project proposals; agricultural trainings; facilitating the connection between producers and buyers and finding the right suppliers of pesticides; and lastly, an interest in hosting IBCM students on internship in their companies.
At the end Mrs. Urazaeva thanked IADK and the participants for participating in this Business Club hoping the knowledge they received would help them to improve their marketing skills and increase their sales.
The next Business Club is planned to be held at the end of October 2015 and we are looking forward to it!
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