Best Practices

5 Reasons to Upgrade your Membership Today!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by

Hey FoodHubbers! It’s me, Megan. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about why folks should upgrade their memberships. This video covers the top 5 reasons. Check it out, and click here if you’re ready to be highlighted on FoodHub!

Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade from FoodHub on Vimeo.

FoodHub Advertising 101

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by

FoodHub Media KitFoodHub is designed to be an all encompassing marketing tool. That includes using your Profile and the Marketplace to spread the word about your products, services and business practices. However, taking advantage of one of FoodHub’s many advertising opportunities puts the cherry on top of your marketing efforts, increases your standing in the community and kick starts connections. But where to start? And how do ROS ads work anyway? What the heck is a Member Spotlight and why do I want one?

Keep reading for answers to those questions and more …

What is a Member Spotlight?

The Member Spotlight gives you arguably the most bang for your advertising buck. When you buy a Member Spotlight you appear in front of the audience of your choice (either buyers or sellers OR both!) not only on their dashboard (that page you land on right when you log in), but your ad ALSO goes out in the Fresh Sheet – FoodHub’s weekly Member newsletter delivered straight to Members’ in-boxes every Tuesday.

What does ROS mean?
ROS stands for Run of Site. When you buy one you get a package of 3 ads that could appear on any one of the hundreds of FoodHub pages at ANY time including the Marketplace – arguably the most-visited section of the site!

Can I buy an ad that stays in one spot?
The short answer is ‘Yes’! These are called ‘banner ads’. We have lots of spots, but we can show you what each one looks like, how big your ad should be and what it will look like once it’s live on the site.

How do I appear at the top of the page when a buyer looks for my product?
Easy: buy a search term. For example, if you buy the word ‘apple’ you’ll always appear at the top of the page. There are three spots available per search term so you and two other Members will share the spotlight. Don’t worry: we rotate the Member who shows up at the top so you’ll have your chance to be king of the mountain. At $4.99/week per search term this is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to appear in front of buyers at the height of the season.

There’s so much information I don’t know where to start! Can you help?
Absolutely. Give us a call (855-FOODHUB) or send us an email (meet@food-hub.org), tell us when you want to start your ad campaign and we’ll work up some specs for you that work with your budget. If you’d like to start crunching some numbers for yourself we have them right here in our Media Kit.

Pssst … I want to save some money on advertising? Can you cut me a break?
Didn’t you know FoodHub is the land of ‘yes’? With an upgraded membership you can save 10% on all advertising. Even better, with a month-to-month Advantage membership, you can save money on advertising, spruce up your profile (click here to see an example of an upgraded profile with all the bells and whistles), cancel your upgrade when the season is done, and then – when you want to be highlighted again NEXT year – all that hard work is saved and appears automatically when you renew at the Advantage or All-Access level.

Do I have to be a Member to advertise on FoodHub?
Nope. As long as you’re a food-related seller or service provider you can advertise on FoodHub. (However, it’ll be WAY easier for folks to connect with you if you’re a Member … and it’s FREE so go ahead and join!)

More than a Handshake: 8 tips to ensure your local food event is a success

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 by

By Katy Giombolini, RARE participant at Cascade Pacific Resource and Development and Local Food Connection 2013 organizer

Participants listen in on the key note address at the Eugene Local Foods Connection. (photo courtesy Cascade Pacific RCD)

On February 4th, the seventh annual 2013 Local Food Connection conference in Eugene, OR, brought together more than 250 food buyers, producers, processors, and food advocates for a day of networking, workshops and information exchange.  The primary goal of the event is to help growers find buyers for their products, and for buyers (from restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, and food processing businesses) to locate new local products.

Taking a scan around the room during the morning networking session, one could see people making new business connections, saying hi to old friends, and just having a good time.  Much of the importance of this annual event lies in simply providing a venue for face-to-face business connections to happen; after all, it is these interpersonal relationships that form the fabric of our local food system.

Hosting grower-buyer networking events like the Local Food Connection- that combine formal and informal networking with informational workshops- can be a great tool for community organizations who seek to strengthen the economic connectivity between food and farm businesses.  Jessica Brothers from First Alternative Natural Foods Cooperative commented, “The event is overall one of the most productive events for me and my cohorts. It is an amazing opportunity to meet your farmers and growers and connect with so many small producers!”

Interested in creating a connecting event in your community?  We’ve outlined a few ‘Best Practices’ based on our experience managing the Local Food Connection:

  • Do targeted outreach.  One of the biggest challenges is getting food buyers and sellers to the event—especially the buyers!  Get on the phone and give a call to food buyers you’d like to see at the event.  Don’t be afraid to be politely persistent- sometimes it will take several calls and messages.  Once you get them on the phone, let them know that their attendance is important to you (“We would really love to see your restaurant represented at this event”).   Another way to get people there is to invite them to share their expertise by serving as a presenter in one of the workshops.
  • Collaborate with community partners to bring more people to the event.  Each year we convene a Planning Committee for the Local Food Connection, comprised of 8-10 representatives from farms, food businesses, restaurants, institutions, and food advocacy non-profits in the area.  This not only allows for broader outreach, but also better event planning because of the range of knowledge and experience brought to the table.
  • Choose a theme that speaks to people.  The theme of our conference this year was ‘Values Added: Celebrating the Values of Our Local Food System.’  Studies show that when consumers buy local products they do so because of a relationship with the stories behind the product—where and how the food was grown, who the people were that created the product, and the experience of consuming ‘place-based’ foods.  This concept can inform how businesses emphasize the values and stories their products represent.
  • Find a keynote speaker that can convey the theme.  Past keynote speakers at our event have ranged from large companies, to small local businesses, distributors, and government agencies.  The key is to find someone who can connect to the audience and offer real world advice and perspective.  Our keynote speaker this year was Jock Gibson, President of Lochmead Dairy.  Jock’s experience running a family-owned business, and his strong connections to the land and local community made him a fantastic keynote speaker for this year’s theme.  As one participant commented, “Jock Gibson was very down to earth, real and believable in the values and experience he shared.”
  • Offer a variety of ways for people to connect at the event.  We offer both formal and informal opportunities for people to connect: a facilitated networking session with ‘brokers’ to introduce buyers and sellers, workshops featuring local experts addressing food issues, a vendor tradeshow, and  luncheon. 

 

  • Present an array of workshops that speak to different audiences.  This year we had workshops ranging from ‘Brewsheds: A New Perspective on Local’ (exploring the emerging market for locally grown hops and barley) to ‘Identifying Certifications that Expand Your Market Potential” (helping participants identify what food certification programs may be a good investment for their food business).  Remember to think about your diverse audiences when drafting workshop topics- are you offering something that will compel chefs to come? Farmers? Distributors? School food buyers? Fishermen?
  • Have a delicious local food luncheon!  Everyone at our event is connected by one thing: local food! We are incredibly lucky to have the Lane Community College Culinary Arts Department as a partner in our conference: each year, faculty chefs and students prepare an amazing spread of dishes using food donated by local producers and processors. Dishes are labeled with the name of the producer who donated the item, allowing event attendees to sample diverse products and learn ‘who’s growing what’.  Donations this year included everything from chocolate rose sauce to squash, Vermont cranberry beans and lamb.  We are proud to work with LCC to create what many participants agree is “the best lunch of the year!”

 

  • Don’t forget the thank yous.  Without the generous support of sponsors, food donors, planning committee members, panelists, moderators, and volunteers, the Local Food Connection would not be possible.  In that spirit, we’d like to say a huge thanks to our Founding Sponsors, who have supported this event since the beginning: the Eugene Water & Electric Board, Oregon Tilth, and Lane Community College.

Questions about the Local Food Connection? Visit us at www.localfoodconnection.org.

How-To FoodHub: Managing your Notifications and Alerts Preferences

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 by

Just in time for our third birthday we’re giving more power to our Members to customize their FoodHub experience. Now, rather than showing the same information to everyone, you can choose the information you want to see on your My FoodHub page and in your inbox as the FoodHub Fresh Sheet – now made fresher in a digest format.

Setting up your Notification Preferences
Changing your alerts and notification preferences is easy. The first step is to log in to FoodHub. You’ll be taken immediately to your My FoodHub page where the ‘Notifications’ tab shows what’s been happening on the site since your last visit.

From there, click the ‘Notification Preferences’ tab and simply check or uncheck any of the boxes to start customizing your content. The boxes you leave checked under ‘Email’ will determine the type of content you see in the FoodHub Fresh Sheet. Those that you leave checked under ‘Dashboard’ will indicate what you want to see front and center when you log in.

Setting up your Communication Preferences
We’ve made it easy for you to tell us WHAT you want to see with Notification Preferences, and it’s just as easy to tell us you want to get emails in the first place. There are only two categories to manage: Emails and Fresh Sheets. You can find them both here on your account’s Communication Preferences page.

What kinds of emails would I get from FoodHub?
There are several valuable notifications that FoodHub sends as single emails including …

  • Notifications from your Message Center
    While you can choose to see if you have any new messages waiting for you in your FoodHub Message Center from your dashboard, choosing to receive emails from FoodHub means that you’ll get an alert  direct to your inbox.
  • Recommendations
    When someone recommends you as a great person to do business with, you get an automatic alert that enables you to accept the recommendation and allow it to appear on your profile for the rest of the community to see.
  • When another Member has indicated that they do business with you
    If you’re a partner, association, distributor or farmers’ market that is both a FoodHub Member and included in our list of affiliates (like the Portland Farmers Market or Charlie’s Produce) you can receive an alert every time someone adds you to their profile.
  • When you get a Marketplace post response
    Not sure if your Marketplace posts are being seen? Electing to receive email alerts from FoodHub is a good way to make sure you’re not missing any potential business opportunities.

What’s in the FoodHub Fresh Sheet?
The brand new Fresh Sheet is a completely customizable alert optimized to show only those updates that are relevant to you. You can choose what you see in the Fresh Sheet from the Notifications Preferences tab on your My FoodHub page. If  you opted OUT of receiving the Fresh Sheet, but would like to take advantage of the weekly digest format to keep you up to date, visit the Communication preferences page and select the ‘yes’ radio button under ‘Would you like to receive the FoodHub Fresh Sheet?’.

How-To FoodHub: Using your Message Center

Monday, October 15th, 2012 by

You’ve Got Mail.

Send and receive messages, manage contacts and more from the FoodHub Message Center. Use it to connect today!

Click the headers below to start the conversation.

Communicate with a click »
Add contacts to your Address Book from profiles or any FoodHub search. Any time you see a “Add to my Contacts” button just click it to add that Member to your list for future communications.

Access from anywhere »
No matter what page you’re on you can always get to your Message Center. Find it in the ‘My FoodHub’ dropdown on the navigation bar OR at the top right-hand corner of every page.

… Easy as 1, 2, 3 »
How do you know if you have mail? Just log in and look at the top of the screen. A red number will tell you if you have any unread messages.

How-To FoodHub: Searching by Business Type

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 by

Find farmers or food carts.

Want to know how many farmers are using FoodHub? Think Food Carts would be your ideal customer? Use the ‘Business Type’ filter in the Member Directory to get a complete list of the audience you want to connect with.

Click the headers below to see a sample search relevant to your Member type.

Buyers »
Use the ‘Business Type’ filter to see exactly how many farmers, ranchers, fishermen and dairies are in the FoodHub community.

Sellers and Distributors »
Get a complete list of your ideal clients by business type like schools, restaurants or hospitals.

Associates »
Use the ‘Business Type’ filter to connect directly with your audience, future customers or constituents. Or find other organizations to partner with by searching for other Associate Members.

How-to FoodHub: Search by Distance

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 by

How far will you go for local food?

What does local mean? Since FoodHub’s beginning we’ve been helping people answer this question for themselves. Now, with search, you can look for products close to home or from across the region.

Click the headers below to see a sample search relevant to your Member type.

We’ve used ‘Oregon’ as an example location filter, but you can change your preference when you click the geography drop down!

Buyers »
Whether you’re a school looking for a product to feature for a Harvest of the Month program or a restaurant that wants to showcase the best of your state, the ‘Location’ filter will get you there. Look for it in the bar at the top of your search results.

Sellers and Distributors »
Use product search to look for buyers interested in what you have then filter by location to find those buyers in your delivery area.

P.S. You could buy the key word ‘blueberries’ to appear at the top of all search results every time a buyer OR seller looks for that product no matter where they are.

Associates »
Are you a commodity commission, county commissioner or regional food advocate? Whatever your service region, the ‘Location’ filter helps you connect directly with your audience, future customers or constituents.

Click here to get started!

Questions?

Call us at 855-FOODHUB Email us at meet@food-hub.org
We’re online and on the phone 8am – 6pm, Monday through Friday

PS: There are lots of resources available to help you succeed on FoodHub! You can always access our full library of tips, helpful hints and FoodHub tutorial videos.

How-To FoodHub: Search by Delivery Preference

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 by

Delivered direct or distributed …

Solving for distribution can be one of the greatest challenges in creating local connections. Use the ‘Distribution Method’ filter to find Members who utilize your preferred type of delivery.

Click the headers below to see a sample search relevant to your Member type.

Buyers »
Search for producers in the Member Directory who will bring product right to your back door. First, select ‘Seller’ from ‘Member Type’ in the series of filters to the right. Then, scroll down and click the ‘Distribution Method’ filter. Select the check box that says ‘Direct delivery’ and your results will be filtered accordingly. You can use the same filter to find sellers through distributors or at farmers’ markets.

Sellers and Distributors »
Search for buyers in the Member Directory then filter by distance to see who’s in your delivery area.
P.S. See updates to the list with ease when you save your search!

Associates »
Use search and the distribution filter to compare and contrast preferred methods of distribution among FoodHub Members and get a birds eye view of how products are moving through your food shed.

How-To FoodHub: Connecting with your Contacts

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by

3,2,1 Contact … and Connect!

With the FoodHub Message Center you can choose your perfect audience, whether that’s one customer or vendor or a whole group of Members you want to send a broad message to.

Click the headers below to get started.

Send to One »
There are several places on the site where you can send to one Member at a time:

  • From a Profile: Click the blue ‘Send a Message’ button and your Message Center will open with a blank message pre-populated with that Member’s name.
  • Responding to a Marketplace Post: Look down at the bottom of any Marketplace Post to find the blue ‘Respond to this Post’ link. Clicking the link will open a new message in your Message Center pre-populated with the contact’s name and the text from their Marketplace post.
  • From Search Results: Hover over the name of any Member in your product search results or in the Member Directory and click ‘Send Message’. A blank message block will appear in-line with their listing.
  • Direct from your Message Center: Just start typing the name of any of your Contacts in the ‘To:’ field and they’ll come up in a drop down list.

Send to Many »
Go to your Message Center, then click the ‘My Contacts’ button located to the left of your inbox. Select as many Contacts as you want, then click the orange ‘Add to Message’ button. Need to add a few more? Simply click ‘Add Recipients’ from your message and it will take you back to your Contacts page where you can either add OR remove recipients.

Click here to get started!

Questions?

Call us at 855-FOODHUB Email us at meet@food-hub.org

We’re online and on the phone 8am – 6pm, Monday through Friday

PS: There are lots of resources available to help you succeed on FoodHub! You can always access our full library of tips, helpful hints and FoodHub tutorial videos.

How-To FoodHub: Exploring your Inbox

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 by

Get to know your mailbox.

Click the headers below to get started.

Compose a Message »
The basic function of your Message Center. Find it at the top of the list.

Helpful Hint: You can also view Sent emails, Drafts and Deleted messages from the folders list.

Compose a PO/Invoice »
Get down to business with this pre-formatted email.

Manage your Contacts »
They’re all right there waiting to hear from you.

Helpful Hint: Clicking the ‘To:’ button adds the selected contact to a recipient list for a new email right from your Contact List.

Click here to get started!

Questions?

Call us at 855-FOODHUB Email us at meet@food-hub.org

We’re online and on the phone 8am – 6pm, Monday through Friday

PS: There are lots of resources available to help you succeed on FoodHub! You can always access our full library of tips, helpful hints and FoodHub tutorial videos.

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