Word of Mouth & Social Media

November 2, 2011 | Comments Off on Word of Mouth & Social Media | Engaging Events, Social Media & Marketing

I had the opportunity this evening to speak briefly on the topic of social media at a workshop hosted by Our Local Food in the context of promoting local restaurants and growers. If you’re one of the people who attended, I’m so glad you stopped by my website! Please feel free to comment below or drop me an email with any questions or comments!

A recurring theme at the event was the need to establish and maintain connections between growers, chefs, and end consumers. Social media is an excellent tool for this. Local and/or organic eaters tend to be passionate people who are happy to talk up a good cause or eaterie when they find one! You still have the challenge of making the first connection in real life, but if you have a quality product at a reasonable price, word does spread. It spreads even faster if you have the tools in place to facilitate interaction and spotlighting/sharing your treasures.

I spoke just after my client, Lance, owner of Chautauqua Hills Farm – a blueberry grower. He shared about Chautauqua’s voice and message – how they/we try to focus on positive, educational, relevant content. We’re not touting CHF as a poster child for excellent social media use…both of us are busy, and right now since blueberries aren’t in season there’s less pressure to be active on the website or other social networks like Facebook. BUT we do have those platforms ready to swing back into action when the berries are in season again, and as we have time, we continue to work on content in the meantime for less frequent, but still-happening posts. It comes down to knowing what you want to say, managing your links and resources so you have them ready when you need them, and then taking advantage of tools to organize your time and thoughts and share both with others.

Several great users of social media were in attendance…Our Local Food, Food for Thought, Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, and Tim Tuckerbee of Tuckerbee’s Honey and the American Beekeeping Federation as well as others. If you have any interest in local foods or growing, I encourage you to check out their social media presence (and websites) too. Doing so will give you some different ideas for how to approach your audience and what kind of content might work for your message. In addition, connecting with them by “liking” their Facebook Pages or following on Twitter helps you stay in the loop with their updates, subtly emphasize your support of local food to your friends, and make those all-powerful connections between chef and consumer, consumer and grower, etc…

I’m not about to tell you social media work is a piece of cake…so simple you could do it in your sleep. To do it well does take time and energy, both of which can be lacking for a busy grower. But if you treat it like an investment or even like planting seeds…the benefits you reap can be extensive. Aim for consistency, authenticity, and at the same time – have fun!

And if you’d kind of like to try out some ideas with social media, but don’t want to jump in all the way, let us help you get the word out. A little cross-promotion will do both you and us (speaking for Chautauqua Hills Farm) good! If you have the time and feel you can write well and have something to say, write up a guest blog post for us! If you’re looking for something that will take less time, we’d be glad to send you some questions for an email interview that we can also post on our blog (and you can share with your friends and customers). Drop me a line if you’re interested.