Why Parks Brothers Farm’s Jason Parks Uses Social Media

Jason Parks social media tag cloud

Why use social media? Communicating with others online can be a powerful tool for marketing your products, but Jason Parks of Parks Brothers Farm also uses it to keep up-to-date on the world outside the greenhouse. Here’s an inside look at who he communicates with over social media and why.

1. Why use social media? 

JP: The best reason to use social media is so you can converse with people in your networks who are customers, potential customers, competitors and trolls (look it up). We use social media as a communication tool that has customer service, advertising and sales benefits depending on who you are talking to and how you are conversing with them. Customers and consumers want to talk to the people who make or grow the products they buy. They want to be able to get on their computer or smartphone and communicate with someone who is involved with product or service they just paid for, whether it is to tell them that they love the product or why they will never buy another one again.

The key to social media is the conversation. You pretty much need a flowchart or infographic to show how one comment can go through the various potential paths of communication to reach a specific outcome. Any type of social media communication has the potential to lead to a positive or negative outcome depending on how a social media manager replies. With social media, a company can have a conversation with one or 100 million consumers at once. These conversations can be a simple conversation, a complex customer service discussion or a targeted advertising campaign that leads to sale conversions.

2. What social media networks are you using?

JP: We currently use a WordPress blog, Twitter and YouTube for our wholesale social media, and we use Facebook and Pinterest for our retail side. We also have Flickr, Google+ and Foursquare accounts that are used less often. I have personal social media accounts that sometimes pull double duty, like my Twitter and Instagram accounts. There is also some overlap with wholesale and retail followers among all the social media accounts.

3. Why are you using these networks in particular? What are your goals?

JP: I use WordPress, Twitter and YouTube because I can link Twitter to my YouTube channel and WordPress blog on our website, and new blog posts and videos are automatically posted to Twitter. I mostly use Twitter to keep up with news and events. I am not as good as I should be on being part of the conversations on Twitter or any social networks, and I usually read more than I post. Using YouTube is a great way to show my customers my products, which gives the customers more confidence in us. Posting blog updates, pictures and videos tells and shows them that we are not afraid to put our plants out there for everyone to see. I post tons of pictures and embed the YouTube videos in the posts for our customers.

Regarding the Facebook and Pinterest accounts we use for our retail store, if we post a picture on Facebook, we will sell more of that plant for the next few days or get a spike in traffic both on Facebook and in our store. We have visually appealing products, and pictures help sell the plants. We use Pinterest because just about every woman on the internet is addicted to Pinterest. I am not sure yet how to categorize its benefits other than to say we are part of the conversation there. I avoid Pinterest as much as possible and delegate that to a couple of ladies in the office who are more than happy to pin stuff. I feel my testosterone level bottom out every time I have to do something on Pinterest, although the dessert pins are pretty darn inspiring.

Our goals for all our social media conversations are to increase customer confidence, encourage more communication and increase conversions through whichever calls to action we have included in our conversations.

4. Who is your audience? Are you trying to reach consumers or your direct customers? Both?

JP: With so many social media networks, we are reaching out to everyone. However, our wholesale customers seem to be the least involved in social media. So we are basically bypassing them and going straight to the end consumer. If we talk about how great a certain plant is or post a picture or video that consumers can, and they see something they want, they go to the garden centers and ask for it.

In the past, we have had friends on our networks who live in other states ask where they can get a plant, and we have sent them a list of stores where they can find it based on who bought that plant from us recently. We have also coordinated direct to consumer sales through independent garden centers. A consumer has asked for a specific plant from us, and we coordinated the sale and delivery to the IGC who in turn sold it to the consumer.

5. How are you measuring the success of using social media? What’s the ROI?

JP: We measure our success by site traffic and conversions (clicks or calls to action). We do not measure our social media work with ROI. In my opinion, basing your social media goals on ROI is the wrong way to approach it. The benefits of social media are too intangible to be able to set an ROI. Social media is a conversation with communication going both ways. If you approach social media as a sales tool and keep pushing sales and products to your networks, people are going to leave. They don’t want the constant pressure to buy something. Folks in social media networks are looking for information, connections and conversations, which is why it’s called “social.”

6. Who is actually doing the posting? Is it you, someone else or a team?

JP: I do the majority of the post for everything except our Facebook and Pinterest pages. I have three other people who post part-time to Facebook and Pinterest, but I do post there occasionally especially when I see that it has been a few days since the last post.

7. Are there any tools that make using social media more efficient? Any scheduling tools, websites or content sources?

JP: I use the free version of HootSuite to keep up with my Twitter accounts and monitor my Instagram and YouTube feeds. I am currently considering upgrading to HootSuite Pro to start managing more of my networks. I am currently looking for a site or app that will allow pinning to multiple Pinterest accounts. Facebook makes it easy with the page administrators function and all the networks off certain levels of links that allow posts across several networks. Once you get past four to five networks, it gets a little complicated. I don’t use scheduling tools but I probably should.

8. If you had unlimited time and resources, what else would you do with social media?

JP: If I had unlimited time, we would be doing a web video series and conversing more on Twitter. I would also do videos featuring specific products and varieties. I would do more blog posts with more information that gardeners can use to be successful with our plants. Lastly, I would do a bunch of goofy, fun stuff that I think about and never have time to do.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Event

“As a local flower farm, we are honored to show our support by sharing symbolic pink flowers with each participant as they reach the midway point on their amazing journey,” says Bob Echter, Owner of Dramm & Echter.

Read More
deming-pdsa-cycle

November 21, 2016

How The PDSA Cycle Can Help You Improve Your Business

No successful business stays stagnant, which means you should constantly be looking for ways to make improvements to your business and your products. Are you looking for a good model to follow? Try the PDSA Cycle.

Read More
afe-fundraising-dinner

November 17, 2016

AFE Fundraising Dinner Celebrates Success, Raises Almost $20,000

The American Floral Endowment’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the 2016 Annual Fundraising Dinner, did more than just honor industry champions. It also raised nearly $20,000 for the future of floriculture programs.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During …

“As a local flower farm, we are honored to show our support by sharing symbolic pink flowers with each participant as they reach the midway point on their amazing journey,” says Bob Echter, Owner of Dramm & Echter.

Read More
deming-pdsa-cycle

November 21, 2016

How The PDSA Cycle Can Help You Improve Your Business

No successful business stays stagnant, which means you should constantly be looking for ways to make improvements to your business and your products. Are you looking for a good model to follow? Try the PDSA Cycle.

Read More
afe-fundraising-dinner

November 17, 2016

AFE Fundraising Dinner Celebrates Success, Raises Almos…

The American Floral Endowment’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the 2016 Annual Fundraising Dinner, did more than just honor industry champions. It also raised nearly $20,000 for the future of floriculture programs.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 9, 2016

How Hoffman Nursery Invests In The Future Of The Greenh…

Hoffman Nursery believes in the future leaders of horticulture, and the operation invests in several programs to cultivate young people in their careers.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
green-plan-it-gardening-outdoor-nature-explore-classroom

October 22, 2016

Here’s A Great Way To Bring Horticulture And Scho…

The Green Plan It Challenge gives school students in the U.K. the opportunity to participate in a 10-week project where they rethink the role of green space and develop solutions to horticulture-related problems.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

October 19, 2016

How Jeffery’s Greenhouse Is Investing In The Indu…

Greenhouse Grower reached out to Albert Grimm, the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and Head Grower of Jeffery’s Greenhouse, to ask what he and his company have done in the last 12 months to invest in the industry. Here is what he had to say.

Read More
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has significantly reduced the amount of time and labor spent pulling and processing orders, while improving plant quality at retail

October 1, 2016

Political Stalemate On Labor Means Your Opportunity To …

Despite the frustrating nature of our current political climate, now may be the best time for you to address your long-term labor and automation needs.

Read More
Vogel Alcove NGB Therapeutic Grant Winner

September 27, 2016

National Garden Bureau Announces Horticulture Therapy G…

The NGB’s annual grant program, Growing for Futures, recently selected three therapeutic gardens that will receive grants totaling $5,000.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

Read More
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]