This week, Gardner Douglas of Oyster Ninja Podcast released our virtual interview on the value of social media in the oyster industry! We discuss how social media is more powerful than ever during the pandemic, and how oyster growers and related businesses can up their social media game in three core areas:
Here is our interview, and below are a few of my notes!
Tips and Lessons Learned by Virginia of Lady Oyster
Firstly, WHY is a social media strategy so important now for the oyster industry?
Now more than ever is the time to connect with your audience on your story due to the rise in users and activity on social media during COVID-19.
Almost 5 million new users joined Instagram in the last month in the US alone, largely due to COVID-19.
Messaging has increased across social media by 50% and video calling has doubled in usage.
Research suggests that OVERALL usage is up 20%
People who love oysters often only get to experience them in restaurants. They don’t know what it’s like to farm them, and so it seems that oyster grower’s great value proposition is connecting their consumers to the land and activity it takes to grow them.
Content areas that have great response:
freshly shucked oyster on the float on in the boat,
up and close shots and “shellfies”
activities on the farm
the growers or crew themselves, their stories
sunsets and outdoor lifestyle
Why do I believe that these areas have an impact? People who live in cities or suburbs so far removed from that lifestyle that they crave it. It makes them feel inspired and makes them better understand what it takes to deliver a world class oyster.
Verbiage wise, I recommend sharing a short story, and making the experience as real and as educating as possible. What I’ve found most prominent between great photographers on social media is the context they share along with their photography. It’s makes you appreciate the imagery so much more and people like to feel connected to what they are seeing and interpreting.
Social Media is a direct line to consumers, whether you actually sell to them directly or indirectly. Every word you share is powerful, and every comment or reply could mean a new customer. I recommend focusing on positivity when it comes to anything related to the business. Best to put things like strong opinions or politics aside, and focus on your value.
Ask questions to your consumers. Think of social media as your best opportunity to learn what your customers what they like and don’t like. Ask them about their favorite pairings, or favorite ways to eat an oyster. Ask them about their favorite places to go to find your product. This kind of engagement is huge – you start to work through which things matter most and capitalize on that. You also find out who in your supply chain is creating the best experience for consumers and your product.
Bottom line: one of your biggest competitive advantages as a company over another is building a community with people who are willing to pay for your product.
I’ve also found that oyster lovers are avid story watchers. I get some of my highest engagement on the Stories feature in Instagram. That’s a great place to ask questions, polls, voting, etc.
Other engagement strategies:
– RESHARE your customer photographs. If you get tagged in a photo that makes your product look good, reshare it! People want to interact with you and if they find that you’re going to engage that way, they’ll keep doing it. That means more of your product will be purchased.
– HASHTAGS – research which hashtags are prominent in the oyster world. #Oysterlove, #halfshell, #shuckyeah – there’s a way you can actually follow hashtags on Instagram just like an account. Sometimes it’s good just taking ten minutes, click on a hashtag you’ve used, and see all the posts filed under that hashtag. Like some of them. You get a ton of traction and exposure by liking or commenting on photographs of a similar interest.
Release times are important. I’ve found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the oyster world were always strong release days, and in general posting around mid-day. Next in line would be Thursdays and Fridays. Don’t share a photo at 11PM at night after the kids have went to bed. Think about how many people you want to see it and maximize the engagement.
Couple of other key things I’ve discovered:
Nice shucks are king! I don’t think I need to say much more about that. “Shellfies” always seem to take the cake… But make sure it’s a good shuck. There is something about a perfect half shell that is mouth watering.
Respond to your comments quickly! That helps boost your post AND your followers will love to know that you care.
Social Media shouldn’t be an afterthought – it’s a strategy. It’s about growing your business. Take 30 minutes every day or every other day to either like photos, share content, ask questions, post a story, or go live on video.
What are your thoughts on social media engagement? I’d love to hear if something differently works for you. Stay well, stay safe, and cheers to coming back a “butterfly” after all the cacooning.