Branding and storytelling are a big part of how West Coast Top 100 grower Rocket Farms is using social media. Take a look at how the operation is working with public relations consultant Ashley Beleny of Environmental Relations PR to reach through to the consumer to deliver information about gardening and plants.
GG: Why social media?
Beleny: Social media isn’t for every company. It is for companies who can present three things:
1. Product differentiation
2. A unique point of view
3. A call to action
At Rocket Farms, we are branding ourselves as more than plants; we are part of your life, a lifestyle and a range of fun, modern products that fit into every lifestyle. We use social media to convey these attributes and help us differentiate. We are building customer relations (we find ourselves answering a lot of questions) and tracking consumer response to our products to see what gets them excited.
GG: What social media networks are you using?
Beleny: We are currently using Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
GG: Why are you using these networks in particular? What are your goals?
Beleny: We have different goals for each network.
• Facebook: Brand alignment, raising awareness of the brand and our products, customer service and receiving feedback. We are also holding sales training on how the company is using social media (Facebook in particular) and how sales people can use what we’re doing with social media to leverage sales and build relationships with retail clients.
• Pinterest: Call to action, reinforcing lifestyle of the brand and how to engage with the brand, a platform of storytelling about what is possible and how Rocket Farms fits into the bigger lifestyle picture.
• Twitter: Newsfeed only
GG: Who is your audience? Are you trying to reach consumers or your direct customers? Both?
Beleny: • Facebook: Consumers
• Pinterest: Consumers
• Twitter: Media
GG: What types of content do you find most effective? What hasn’t worked?
Beleny: We get better response if there is a picture attached, even if it’s not directly tied to the post. Anything that asks followers to take some type of action has not done well for us. Many social media suggestions say interactive posts, where you’re asking for feedback from followers, receive high response rates, but we have not experienced that. However, we still do this as a way to mix it up and fish for people’s opinions on topics.
GG: How are you measuring the success of using social media? What’s the ROI?
Beleny: At this point, ROI is being measured by the statistics gathered on interactions from our followers. We also take into consideration the types of comments and questions. The ROI and tracking is currently difficult as we’re in the process of building a new website. Many of the tracking measurements and calls to action can’t be appropriately measured right now. However, the end goal is to be able to track people going to the Rocket Farms website from our social media sites and track online purchases or searches on our website for where to buy particular products.
There are great tools out there for measuring all these things at little to no cost. At the same time, we realize that for someone to take action, there is a process that has to take place: Awareness, education and then action. Facebook and Pinterest both help lead people through steps one and two so as soon as the website is set up, we can then push them to take action. This is when we will see the true ROI.
GG: Are there any tools that make using social media more efficient? Scheduling tools, websites or content sources?
Beleny: We don’t use scheduling tools. It is usually evident scheduling tools were used, which takes away from the authenticity of the interaction. We rely heavily on the built-in Facebook tracking measures. For Pinterest, there are a few tools, but we are just beginning to use them. One is Pingraphy — a free tool that tracks repins and likes of your photos. You are also able to schedule posts through this app. Bookmarklet is also helpful in re-pinning photos from your website and other things you find online. Be sure to abide by copyright laws!
GG: If you had unlimited time and resources, what else would you do with social media?
Beleny: Two words: Content creation. There is so much that can be done if there is time. Content creation is most important because it is what helps with the differentiation and branding mentioned above. This can’t be achieved as successfully with generic items. The cleverer the content, the more time it seems to take to create. It’s this clever, surprising element that really gets people’s attention, but it takes a lot of time.