Going Bananas with Social Media

Wednesday (August 15, 2012) evening, Fair Trade Towns USA hosted a webinar about their Go Bananas Challenge and went over some tips for effectively using social media for spreading Fair Trade awareness during Fair Trade Month in October and during the rest of the year.

We were particularly interested in the Go Bananas Challenge portion of the webinar, as the TrailBlazers are hoping to participate and host some events on campus, but the discussion on social media tips turned out to be just as helpful. Fair Trade Towns USA pointed out a Tool Kit  they have on their website for brainstorming ideas for events, hosting events, and a wealth of other information.  Our plan, at this point, is to do something with Fair Trade Banana splits (can you imagine… Fair Trade Bananas, Fair Trade ice cream, and Fair Trade chocolate sauce!), though we are still muddling through some logistics and other ideas. We’ll post more about  our exact plans closer to October (and after we meet with our food vendor on campus), but the webinar got us thinking about what events might be doable, how do we want to educate our campus population, who we should be contacting, etc. We hope that the Tool Kit above is as helpful for everyone else as it was for us!

But, the point we are most eager to share and blog about is actually the social media aspect of the webinar. Obviously, the TrailBlazers have been very much active in the social media world, and we are always looking for tips and ways to improve our outreach. We found two points in particular to be helping, but for the full guideline list, click here .

One point that really stuck out to us was food. Food posts and photos are some of the more popular topics in the world of social media. A significant chunk of the hits and likes on our own website have been for our food events and recipes, and we had wondered for a while if this was just a phenomena we were experiencing or if it was a common occurrence in the wider community.  Fair Trade Towns USA confirmed that food is a hot-button topic on the internet, and people love to look at food and talk about food. Luckily, when talking about Fair Trade, food comes up often, so sharing food related posts is easy and a great way to get people engaged. As budding social media users, all of us TrailBlazers recommend adding some food flair now and again to get people’s attention.

Fair Trade Towns USA also talked about the power of a positive post. Positive posts get more retweets and shares than negative posts, and in the world of Fair Trade, shining the movement in the best light is important for keeping consumers and the general public feeling good about Fair Trade.

We especially liked these points because they can easily be tied into the Go Bananas Challenge. In addition to hosting events, we need to effectively get the word out there, and social media has been a wonderful tool for getting people aware of what we’re doing and involved. Getting our campus involved with food while educating on the positive impacts of Fair Trade bananas will hopefully get more of our community (and the wider community!) involved with Fair Trade.

Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern

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