Coffee picking season has just begun in the famous Kona belt located on the Big Island of Hawai’i. In the few short weeks that I’ve been here I’ve learned so much about the process of tending to these lush trees. Yet I’m reminded of my novice status each time I see a todder, still in his nappies, dashing up these harsh lava trails barefoot. Meanwhile I take one careful, hiking boot-clad step after another, with the aid of a sturdy walking stick for additional balance.
Everyone on the farm has their skills which help keep us working as a well-tuned machine, and though I spend much of my time tending to our hundreds of coffee trees, I also spend a fair bit of my day focused on building our brand through social media. I love leading tours around the property, teaching visitors a thing or two about the business of growing a coffee business. When this education is done over a cup of our award winning coffee, guests can’t help but purchase a pound or two before heading home.
You Can’t Rely On Homemade Road Signs Alone
For years this farm has relied upon the uncertain flow of traffic in the form of tourists driving by on their way to visit the volcano, but lately we’re meeting a lot more people who have heard of us through Twitter. This tells me our social media efforts are paying off, slowly but surely. The owner of this great farm was pretty skeptical about what social media could do to build his brand, until I put it in the coffee growing terms he could understand.
Plant the Seed, it Will Grow
- Keep at it Every Day – You don’t have to be out there busting your hump for hours at a time, all day every day. But you do have to do a little something every day to maintain steady progress. Just a few hours each day will keep you on track. Remember that many hands make light work, so if you’re not sure you can keep up with your social media management, have one of your other employees help, or contract out as needed.
- Don’t Get Caught Crying in the Weeds – Managing your daily updates is much easier if you maintain a calendar for your content. Knowing what has to happen today, tomorrow, next week, and so on, will give a visual incentive to keep at it and cross things off your to-do list.
- Pick only the Red – Sure, some places will buy your green, unripe fruit, but the real money is in the red cherry. Inferior fruit yields a bitter brew, so don’t waste valuable time on efforts that will only promise a small return when you can reap greater rewards by simply being patient and consistent.
- Communicate Clearly – Setbacks are bound to happen, equipment is going to fail at the most inconvenient time, deadlines will all converge at once. Blame it on the shifting tides or the cycles of the moon, just be sure to communicate your expectations clearly when delegating tasks to others. This goes for the management of your social media as well, always make sure the content is relevant to the goals of your business.
- Create a Product Worth Buying – When you create a high quality product, business will flow as a result. Positive word of mouth helps generate new and repeat business alike. Twitter and Facebook can only help this along. Focus on your quality product, then promote it with the help of social media.
- Generate Positive Word-0f-Mouth – It’s a natural tendency to rely on the word of friends and family over paid advertising. Use this to your advantage by creating a positive, memorable experience when a new customer visits your business. Offer plenty of reasons to return again and again, and people will be talking about you for years. After all, you may produce great coffee for a living, but it’s your genuine personality that keeps people coming back for a second cup.
The Fine Print
Whether you decide to maintain your social media efforts in-house, or decide to contract out to a media management service, always make sure to communicate the goals and values of your business. After all, you wouldn’t hand over the keys to the family car without first ensuring that driver is certified to handle it safely. This means you should also be aware of the current FTC guidelines to ensure your updates meet regulations. After all, you have a farm to run, and that doesn’t leave time to search for a criminal defense lawyer.
Rachel Cook is an adventurous woman who enjoys hiking up the mountainside to start her day working a coffee farm in Hawaii. She was surprised to find out that trucks carrying coffee can be stopped and impounded for not having a coffee transportation certificate, and since knowledge is power, the smart business person knows the law. Rachel was happy to come across http://www.bgs.com/ in her quest to be up-to-date on topics like FTC guidelines and other laws relevant to online marketing.