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USA Onions reaches world linked by social media

Now fully into the second generation of humans who’ve never known a time without computers, email and IM, Planet Earth is shrinking faster than a wool sock in a hot dryer.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, because every business today exists and conducts commerce in a global marketplace, including the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee.

Even if most sales and purchases are done on a domestic level, every business today must play by global rules, communicating not only business-to-business but also business-to-consumer — and not only in real time but also in real instant time — thanks to international technology, the World Wide Web and, in huge part, social media.

And this year USA Onions has stepped up its social media game once more, building on the success of a targeted campaign in 2016. A report from the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee’s Promotion Committee earlier this year said, “Last year, increased focus was given to the Committee’s social media efforts, and its presence on Instagram was ramped up. New artwork and imagery were developed for Instagram as well as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.”

The report went on to say that “original content seems to do best with it comes to ‘reach and engagement’ on social media. And posts on planting, growing and harvest seem to rise to the top when it comes to gaining likes and followers. These posts are followed in popularity by new recipes, and it’s not enough to find onion recipes to repost.”

Rather, it said, “Social media followers crave new and original recipes, and so the Committee has developed an array of dishes for the coming season — everything from new twists on sandwiches to more exotic and international recipes.”

Consider the value of new recipes developed just for USA Onions being posted on Facebook alone. With its nearly 1.5 billion (billion with a B) users, FB has a wide spread of ages, mostly 25-54.

Women outnumber men 60-40 on FB, and their main purpose for being on the site is “relationship building.” Companies that use Facebook find it valuable for building brand loyalty, although with the demographics there is somewhat limited reach.

Twitter, used to generate conversations about all manner of news and articles in other media, has some 600 million users, mostly in the 18-29 age bracket. It’s great — and also disastrous, if misused — for public relations. The drawback to date has been a restriction to 140 characters, although that is being modified.

Pinterest has 1 million users, 80 percent of whom are female. It’s a universe unto itself with home-style info, décor ideas, recipes, scrapbooking details — and for ladies in the 18-35 age group, it provides non-stop connections for clothing, art and food businesses.

YouTube equals DIY videos. Search “how to,” and you can find yourself immersed in step-by-step instructions for rebuilding a carburetor for a weedeater. Or making a three-tiered wedding cake. Or applying make-up with a sock. One billion users can’t be wrong, and YouTube holds the distinction of being the only social media platform that appeals to every age equally. Brand awareness is heightened through YouTube — who doesn’t like short videos that drive home a product or service? Nobody, that’s who.

LinkedIn is the business-to-business networking platform that has some 600 million users, mostly of whom are Millennials and the slightly older Gen X’ers who were born between 1965 and 1980. Conversations can be conducted; endorsements and recommendations carry weight; videos can be posted; and ads selected to appeal to your business are on your page. It’s taken on a Facebook-like format recently, which could increase its numbers. Heretofore interactions were a bit limited, but that could be changing.

Instagram has 200 million users, primarily Millennials and Generation Z’ers who love to take selfies and whose goal is to meet new people, have conversations and build relationships.

Because of the user age, Instagram is a good vehicle for promoting retail items, art, food, entertainment and cosmetics. You don’t say much on Instagram; it’s mostly pics.

Google+ is a largely male site at 67 percent, and the age range is 25-34. It’s techy, appealing to web designers and similar professionals. News and articles are shared, but it’s not a huge outlet just yet.

Still, if we total all the relevant social media numbers, we come close to 4 billion impressions waiting to be made — and any way you slice it, that’s a Big Onion.