Grass Ceiling project webinar focuses on enhancing social media management for rural businesses

The GRASS CEILING project hosted a webinar on improving social media management, bringing together project partners and innovative women from the project’s Living Labs. The webinar, led by CIHEAM Zaragoza, underlined the importance of starting with a solid strategic communication plan.

Throughout the session, three women entrepreneurs from the GRASS CEILING project’s Living Labs, with extensive experience in social media management, shared their experiences in managing their social media presence. These were Lucía Velasco, a rural influencer and a cowgirl from the Principality of Asturias (Spain) – as she likes to define herself, passionate about promoting rural life and traditions; Karen and Natalie Keane, two chocolatier sisters and promoters of the Bean and Goose brand in Ireland, known for their innovative and delicious creations; and Jasminka Gršković, a teacher and entrepreneur, inventor of lavender-scented wool sensory balls for hand muscles.

The importance of a strategic communication plan

“Effective social media management depends on a well-developed communication plan,” explained Laura Gil, a journalist from the CIHEAM Zaragoza Communication Unit and responsible for speaking on Social Media Content Strategy. “This plan should carefully consider the target audience, desired outcomes, communication channels, and messaging strategies. Identifying the right platform to reach your audience is crucial, and it can be a complex task.”

Laura Gil stressed the importance of consistently publishing content with a pre-established calendar because it helps to build audience loyalty and avoid losing momentum. She also spoke about continuously monitoring trends in each sector to stay up to date and adapt your own approach if necessary, aligning it with goals and interests of the target audience. Finally, knowing how to use the right tools is essential, taking advantage of social media management platforms to optimise tasks, scheduling and monitoring processes.

Lucía Velasco: authenticity and empathy for greater impact

Lucía Velasco offered a captivating presentation that served as a powerful reminder of several key principles. She emphasised the importance of authenticity, “being true to what you do and who you are”. Her message defended the value of positive communication, advocating for the use of motivating and inspiring language. Lucía also underlined the importance of empathy, urging the women to connect deeply with the work they do to achieve a more impactful outcome.

In addition, she highlighted the need to establish a clear communication process, “because it ensures that information is disseminated efficiently and accurately” and to always be very well informed “to avoid disinformation and be more credible.” Finally, Lucía emphasised the opportunity to be a spokeswoman for women in rural areas. “Our networks are a platform to amplify our voices and defend our causes.”

Bean and Goose, or the power of pursuing dreams from home

Sisters Karen and Natalie Keane, the creative minds behind Bean and Goose, exemplify the power of pursuing dreams from the heart of the home. Their passion for creating something meaningful and offering delicious chocolate experiences is evident in everything they do.

Driven by a clear vision of building a strong brand, the Keane sisters ingeniously use chocolate as a medium to celebrate Ireland’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Social media is a vital platform for them. They use it to connect with customers and followers, highlighting the unique value proposition of their products. Their approach goes beyond simply selling chocolate. They strive to provide useful information and cultivate a sense of connection with their audience, ultimately generating trust and loyalty to the Bean and Goose brand.

Jasminka Gršković: constant learning

For Jasminka, the importance of mentors cannot be overstated when it comes to shaping the business model. She pointed out that their guidance can help us navigate challenges and pave the way to success. “Learning how to create a business plan that leverages the power of social media is essential”. Jasminka also highlighted the value of both professional training and observation. “By establishing a strong online presence and becoming a reliable source of information, we can position ourselves as thought leaders for our target audience, including potential customers seeking solutions.”

While she acknowledges that video content may not be her personal preference, Jasminka recognises the importance of exploring different communication channels. This openness to learning and embracing new approaches is a valuable lesson for any entrepreneur.

Jasminka’s perspective highlights the valuable insights we can gain from unexpected sources. Young people, often considered digital natives, can offer valuable guidance and expertise in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of social media. “I, in fact, learn every day from my daughter”.