Using Social Media To Affect Produce Buying Decisions

Is An Effective Social Media Campaign Affordable?

Companies can make the most of any budget to achieve results.

Regardless of your budget, social media is an essential and accessible tool. “A bigger budget provides more flexibility with the type of content you create and the amount of money you can spend promoting your content,” says Cristie Mather, vice president, food at FLM Harvest in Portland, OR. “But a smaller producer or brand can cut a distribution deal with a retailer. You can target your message geographically and promote just to produce lovers in that retailer’s markets. Not only will that help you move product; it will impress your buyer.”

Peter Baughman, vice president of communications at Foodmix in Elmhurst, IL, points to a key adage of marketing — asking where is my next dollar best spent. “This is so true in social,” he says. “Where can I affect the most change for the least amount of money? A lot of marketers want to do a little bit of everything. But, there’s no point in doing something if you’re not doing it well. Do one thing right before you move onto the next.”

Target Your Resources

Companies must assess and customize involvement. BrightFarms focuses its social media budgets only on areas where it has distribution, relates Jessica Soare, senior marketing manager in Irvington, NY. “As we grow our distribution, we also grow our social media budget,” she says.

A good example is how BrightFarms changed its social media strategy in the Chicago area over time. “First with limited distribution, we targeted zip codes where we sold our product, and only to female grocery shoppers,” says Soare. “Then recently as we’ve gained distribution across almost all zip codes in the area, we’ve changed our strategy to focus on Chicago as a whole, targeting both males and females.”

Naturipe, in Salinas, CA, implemented a successful small-scale social media campaign, FeBLUEary, promoting its organic blueberries during peak import season. “Smart ideas executed well won’t require a big media spend to capture the emotion and attention of the audience,” says CarrieAnn Arias, vice-president of marketing. “Naturipe’s content organically achieved some of the highest engagement compared to competitors during this time period. This a direct example of how the size of a company doesn’t determine whether or not they are capable of a successful social media campaign.”

Consider a Boost

While companies can harness the free aspect of social media, savvy social marketers recommend investing to increase exposure. “You need to invest some dollars into ads or to boost your content to ensure it will be seen by your audience,” says Mather. “Even a small budget will make a difference. Start with $25 to boost a good post and see how it performs compared to your content not supported with budget dollars.”

Strategic content can take a brand so far organically, but if companies have big goals of growth and engagement, a budget to support it is required explains Arias. “If companies can invest in promoting their social content, they will increase their overall engagement and discoverability substantially,” she says. “These quantitative goals are easily supported when brands have a budget for paid advertisements and boosted posts.”

To drive traffic to Ocean Mist Farm’s “Where to Buy” page on its website, the company boosted a Facebook post for only $50 to encourage people to shop for its vegetables. “Within a week we received the following results: 12,336 people reached, 207 clicks to the website and 3,133 engagements on the post,” says Diana McClean, senior director of marketing in Salinas, CA. “These results prove how effective social media can be in driving traffic to the website. Simply from putting a spend behind our social media posts, we were able to introduce 12,000 people to the fact that they can find our veggies in stores near them through our website.”