For GenNext Tree Fruit Growers, Social Media Is A Necessity

Andy Sietsema of Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill in Ada, MI, maintains several social media accounts for his family’s business, including Facebook, Twitter, Instgram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

“Social media is a very cheap tool to stay in contact with your customer base,” he says. “It’s also very easy to analyze your customer base with your social media; they do have ways that you can track who your customers are and you your people are who are following you.”

As Sietsema Orchards’ hard cider business has grown, he split the hard cider business off into its own separate Facebook page, since marketing and distribution for the hard cider will extend to several states. Sietsema also uses Pinterest to highlight products at the orchard market, as well as orchard weddings, and even food pairings with the products they sell.

Social media is only one part of maintaining an online presence, though, says Anthony Ndoca, co-owner of Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen, IL. Ndoca hired Molly Nolan as a graphic designer to maintain the look of the website and to promote the farm through social media.

“It is important to develop an online presence through social media and the website,” he says. “The email that Molly designs and sends out, the Instagram photos, Facebook, Twitter — they’re really all just supplements to our website. Anytime we put anything on Instagram or Twitter, the posts always go to Facebook. Everyone that’s on Facebook is probably getting the email.”

Nolan is expanding Garden Patch Farms’ reach to Google+ and FourSquare. Thanks to the Google+ account, she says the farm now ranks higher in Google searches. Nolan says she is considering whether to offer check-in discounts or deals with FourSquare, but in any case, she plans to use it as a marketing tool.

Ndoca said beefing up their online presence has increased foot traffic through the farm as well as the farm being featured on local TV broadcasts.

“Social media spreads so easily. It’s a big city, we have a ton of people from Chicago – even though we’re 40 miles away – that come to our farm to pick apples,” he says. “All of that publicity comes from an online presence through social media, Twitter, Instagram. Many people would come in and say ‘hey, I saw you guys on Facebook’ or ‘I follow you on Twitter,’ or I’ really like your Instagram photo.’”

Here are some tips from the GenNext Growers on how to best use social media:

Know Your Demographic — “The 25 to 40 (demographic) is really our cup of tea, and that’s who’s spending the most time on Facebook,” Ndoca says.

Use Each Platform Differently — “You’ll use each and every social media platform in a different way. Very rarely will I send the same message out on each and every social media platform,” Sietsema says.

Automate Your Posts, Keep Them Consistent — “I have been working extensively through HootSuite for my postings. It has made my life much easier. I make one post daily, so I want to make sure that I have something that is worth posting, people find interesting, and builds anticipation. It’s been a challenge to post only one item daily, but I think it has paid off,” Nolan says.

(Photo credit: Molly Nolan, Garden Patch Farms)
(Photo credit: Molly Nolan, Garden Patch Farms)

Use Photos — “We posted something about how we had cider doughnuts coming to the farm and I did a really beautiful photo of them and 21 people shared that photo. So I know that 1,000 people saw that photo. We had a ton of zucchini at one point and so I made a Facebook post that said ‘3 for $1’ and sent it out. I had people come in and tell us ‘I just saw that on Facebook,’” Nolan says.

Create A Community — “The majority of it is what we’re doing, letting people know what’s going on on the farm. I think people come in and feel like they’re a part of the farm, like they have an idea as to what’s going on on the farm,” Nolan says. “It ties people together and give them the sense that they are a part of the farm and that’s been really successful.”

Use Blogs To Increase Traffic — “I saw a need for us to have recipes, and the benefit of someone using our produce in an attainable way. I contacted several local bloggers, and now have a few people to whom we provide a small amount of produce and they report back with blogs,” Nolan says. She says the farm has been featured in high-profile blogs, magazines, and newspapers in the Chicago area. “We’ve had a tremendous increase in our Facebook activity, Instagram, and our newsletter is up to around 5,000 people.”

Track Your Social Media Success — “We try to keep track of the activity and the analytics of the website and on Facebook to see what works and what doesn’t, even down to the times that we send an email,” Nolan says. “We have #pickthefarm so we can also keep tabs on what people are saying about the farm and what people are using the hashtag for. It’s also nice to see that people are giving us recommendations via that hashtag and that goes a long way.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “For GenNext Tree Fruit Growers, Social Media Is A Necessity

Apples & Pears Stories
apple tree trellising washington state
Apples & Pears
June 8, 2016
Mexico Will Not Add Duties To Washington Apple Exports
Country determines imports from the U.S. did not hurt the domestic industry. Read More
A three-dimensional model reconstruction system to help analyze tree growth. (Photo credit: Amy Tabb)
Apples & Pears
June 1, 2016
Biotechnology Aids Orchard Management
We’re studying how genetics and branch growth can help prepare your orchard structure better for mechanization. Read More
The team at Lamont Fruit Farms  takes a progressive approach to staffing. “Give people the opportunity to excel,” Jose Iniguez says. “If our employees want it, we give them the chance.”
Apples & Pears
May 30, 2016
Is Your Orchard Ready For Mechanization? [Opinion]
Automation is on the horizon, and it would be beneficial if you’re planting with that in mind. Read More
high denisty apple orchard washington
Apples & Pears
May 29, 2016
Orchard Systems Matter With Mechanization
“It takes years to turn orchards from a big, wild 3-D tree to a narrow canopy — a lot of Read More
IFTA Washington Day3 6
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
Washington Apple Commission Elects New Leaders
The commission board also approved the export budget of $7.7 million for the upcoming 2016-17 crop, based on a crop of 135 million cartons. Read More
These workers use a platform from Automated Ag for hand thinning. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
How Best To Integrate Man And Machine
If you want to implement labor-saving mechanization, you should start the conversation with the end user – your employees. Read More
Sprayer generic
Apples & Pears
May 17, 2016
Customized Sprayer System Available For Harvista Applications
The new sprayers are designed specifically for timely, customized applications. Read More
The Latest
Apples & Pears
June 21, 2016
New York Beverage Credits To Include Win…
Credit allows wineries and cideries to reinvest savings in business. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 21, 2016
Allen To Retire From New York Apple Asso…
Industry supporter to leave in January after 20 years with association. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 8, 2016
Pacific Northwest Pear Crop Expected To …
Tiny increase expected from Washington and Oregon over 2015, but crop will be lower than most recent years. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 8, 2016
Mexico Will Not Add Duties To Washington…
Country determines imports from the U.S. did not hurt the domestic industry. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 1, 2016
Biotechnology Aids Orchard Management
We’re studying how genetics and branch growth can help prepare your orchard structure better for mechanization. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 30, 2016
Is Your Orchard Ready For Mechanization?…
Automation is on the horizon, and it would be beneficial if you’re planting with that in mind. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 29, 2016
Orchard Systems Matter With Mechanizatio…
“It takes years to turn orchards from a big, wild 3-D tree to a narrow canopy — a lot of Read More
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
Washington Apple Commission Elects New L…
The commission board also approved the export budget of $7.7 million for the upcoming 2016-17 crop, based on a crop of 135 million cartons. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
How Best To Integrate Man And Machine
If you want to implement labor-saving mechanization, you should start the conversation with the end user – your employees. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 17, 2016
Customized Sprayer System Available For …
The new sprayers are designed specifically for timely, customized applications. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 12, 2016
Apple Growers Rocked With New Planting T…
Pruning crew believed to be responsible for pilfering nearly 200 newly-planted trees from orchards in Ohio. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure …
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
The Truth About Most Farmworkers [Opinio…
Just ask any grower who has placed a help wanted ad. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 26, 2016
Comment Period Extended For EU Imports O…
USDA APHIS is extending the comment period on the proposed rule that would amend the regulations to allow the importation Read More
Apples & Pears
April 13, 2016
‘Kiku’ Apples Are Out Of This World — Li…
Apples from Washington State among the supplies sent to astronauts in the space station. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 11, 2016
Orchard Picked As Stop For Presidential …
Recently renovated Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard to host live NBC broadcasts on Thursday and Friday. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 9, 2016
Sliced Apples Recalled
Red apple slices sold separately and in lots with sliced vegetables could contain Listeria Monocytogenes. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]