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
Photo credit: International Fruit Tree Association
Apples & Pears
August 5, 2016
Washington Apple Crop Huge, But Not A Record
The 2016 Washington apple harvest is predicted to be about 133 million boxes. Read More
IFTA Summer Tour New York 34
Apples & Pears
July 28, 2016
Seeing The Real Big Apple In New York On IFTA Summer Tour
Hot temperatures, lack of precipitation, mechanization, and high density production systems were among the highlights of the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual study tour. Read More
Feature Im-Perfect-Wal-Mart-Fruit-Apples (Photo credit: Walmart)
Apples & Pears
July 26, 2016
Walmart Begins Selling So-Called ‘Ugly Fruit’
Cosmetically challenged apples are the company’s first foray into a global movement to cut food waste. Read More
(Photo credit: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension)
Apples & Pears
July 8, 2016
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands In Pennsylvania
More townships added as small populations of the pest are found in municipalities adjacent to previously quarantined areas. Read More
Treated pear in PGR trial
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2016
Pairing PGRs In Pears Helps Control Vigor
When it comes to a hearty variety like ‘Anjou,’ researchers see potential in using a one-two punch of PGRs to help control growth and ensure return bloom. Read More
embark cider works new york hard cider
Apples & Pears
June 21, 2016
New York Beverage Credits To Include Wine, Hard Cider
Credit allows wineries and cideries to reinvest savings in business. Read More
RubyFrost apple Group
Apples & Pears
June 21, 2016
Allen To Retire From New York Apple Association
Industry supporter to leave in January after 20 years with association. Read More
The Latest
Apples & Pears
August 29, 2016
Public Comments Now Accepted For ‘Arctic…
APHIS releases determination to extend deregulation to third release from Okanagan Specialty Fruits. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 11, 2016
GMO Nonbrowning Fuji Apple One Step Clos…
USDA moves Okanagan Specialty Fruits' variety to nonregulated status; public comment period is forthcoming. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 8, 2016
Angry Orchard Debuts Cider Made From New…
Walden Hollow is named after cider house’s town and is all about fruit from the Empire State. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 5, 2016
Washington Apple Crop Huge, But Not A Re…
The 2016 Washington apple harvest is predicted to be about 133 million boxes. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 28, 2016
Seeing The Real Big Apple In New York On…
Hot temperatures, lack of precipitation, mechanization, and high density production systems were among the highlights of the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual study tour. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 26, 2016
Walmart Begins Selling So-Called ‘…
Cosmetically challenged apples are the company’s first foray into a global movement to cut food waste. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 8, 2016
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands In…
More townships added as small populations of the pest are found in municipalities adjacent to previously quarantined areas. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2016
Pairing PGRs In Pears Helps Control Vigo…
When it comes to a hearty variety like ‘Anjou,’ researchers see potential in using a one-two punch of PGRs to help control growth and ensure return bloom. Read More
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
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]