Work smarter, not harder with digital

Think of tech years as dog years. That’s Kelly Ward’s advice to those using social media.

The universe is evolving so quickly that Facebook, launched in 2004, now has 1.8 billion active monthly users worldwide. Business can’t afford to ignore this phenomenon to reach target customers.

Ward speaks from experience as the supervisor for brand services for Foodland Ontario. For the last three years, she’s been actively engaged with the demographic of principal grocery shoppers aged 25 to 55. She shared her key learnings on November 10 at the Health Professionals Day hosted by the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

If you’re starting out with social media or ramping up your presence, ask a few questions about what business need you are fulfilling. Is it publishing? Marketing? Networking? The answer will guide you as to how and when to create content for your target audience. 

Once you’re certain about your purpose, build themes that you can explore on a frequent basis. For Foodland Ontario, Ward concentrates on a theme that introduces faces of farming. Another theme embraces the globe at your table, exploring how to explore new ingredients.        

Understand the social media consumption patterns of your target audience.  For Foodland Ontario, mornings and after children’s bedtimes are good times to snag mothers. For growers, evenings might be a better time for engagement.

Create a content strategy. For growers and farm marketers, this might include thinking ahead about the production cycle or seasonal events and planning key messages around them. If your farm market doesn’t open until May, then it’s a good idea to keep your regular customers engaged with your brand. Maybe it’s a reminder that the fresh strawberries from last summer are sunshine in a jar of jam. 

Remember that the month of December is already prime time for many commodities, so the marketing push needs to happen sooner. Or perhaps you should be thinking ahead to sports events in February. If you’re a greenhouse grower, then you’re pushing tomatoes for salsa-based snacks at football parties.           

Be sure to consider photos and video. Visuals result in higher engagement and more shareability with target audiences. 

Start planning your 2016 social media calendar.  Choose the channels you want to engage in – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest for example – and coordinate your key messages according to the channel.

It’s a new world and a new year around the corner. Don’t miss 2016, the equivalent of seven dog years.

Publish date: 
Monday, February 1, 2016

Click to leave a comment

For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!


Seasonal workers a win-win, says apple producer

In the Canadian Horticultural Council’s latest video, British Columbia apple grower Nirwal Dhaliwal talks about the importance of international workers, both to running his operation, and personally, as friends and neighbours.

Local Line platform helps market gardener

Organic market gardener Joe Grootenboer moved to the Local Line software platform a year ago. With a customized box program, he has increased the average sale from $19 per week to $27 per week.

Taking the pulse of the Ontario Food Terminal

The Ontario Food Terminal is at the heart of a complex food web. The 40-acre facility, near downtown Toronto, is of interest to the Ontario government which has appointed an agricultural advisory group to look at several provincial issues, including changes to the Ontario Food Terminal network. Bruce Nicholas, general manager, (second from right) and Gianfranco Leo, administration manager (far right) are pictured talking to growers at last year’s Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. 

Fresh look at vegetable processing

The farmgate value of Ontario’s vegetable processing industry, pegged at about $100 million annually, often goes under the radar for its significant contribution to the economy. For these growers – Pascal Jennen, (L), Ian Bradley and Kevin Jennen -- their contracted acres of Spanish onions are destined to become onion rings at the Cavendish Farms Appetizer Division in Wheatley, Ontario. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

Tomberries: the next ‘little’ thing

Thanks to NatureFresh Farms and breeder Eminent Seeds, this is the debut year for the world’s smallest tomato: the Tomberry. Isaac Braun, greenhouse grower responsible for 60 acres of peppers and tomatoes in Leamington, Ontario, shares the path to innovation.