Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dear Farmer: Tweet your fruit

Want an easy way to connect with customers and sell more apples?

Tweet your fruit with Twitter. And, to kick it up a notch, use the #atmkt hashtag.

During the harvest season I always want to know: Who has my favorite apple varieties? And when are they ripe?

I live just outside of Boston. Last October a grower in New Hampshire put this out on Twitter:

Chestnut Crabapple is an outstanding variety, easily worth a trip to find. I was at Mack's the next day and bought a bag (and a few other things).

Lovely Chestnut Crab
There are plenty of wonderful but hard-to-find apples I'd drive far to buy. Also, I'd never been to Mack's before, and it's a great place! You can bet I'll be back.

But I would never have known to come north if Mack's Apples hadn't told me the apples were ripe.

How? With Twitter.

Twitter is the news-and-networking services in snippets of 140 characters or less. That sounds a lot goofier than it is in person.

Turns out Twitter really shines when it's about what's happening now: a speaker or meetup at a conference, a breaking news story.

Or an apple harvest.

Many orchards already use Twitter to build relationships and stay in touch with customers. Compared to other social-networking platforms, Twitter is quick and easy.

My angle is simple. I love apples and would like to buy more of my favorites.

Can we do business?

If you've got Chestnut Crabapple, or Ashmead's Kernel, or anything else special, tell apple lovers like me. Twitter is a great way to do that.

Advanced Twitter: When you tweet your fruit, use the #atmkt hashtag. (As in "at market.") And promote the tag to your own Twitter followers.

This just means, include "#atmkt" someplace in your tweet. This will let you reach apple lovers who search for and subscribe to the "#atmkt" tag, even if they've never heard of you before.

So as the crop is ready, please, please, let your loyal fans know:

Sebastipol, CA #atmkt: Gravensteins are ready for picking!

We'll beat a path to your door.

Summary of best practices:
  1. Get a (free) Twitter account (5–10 minutes).
  2. Put a link to it on your web page (5–10 minutes). Twitter's web widget works well.
  3. Tweet what's ripe with the #atmkt hash tag (1 minute per.)


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