Social Media Q&A: An Inside Look At Mid Kansas Cooperative

Kerry Watson, Director of Communications, Mid Kansas Cooperative
Kerry Watson, Director of Communications, Mid Kansas Cooperative

Ag retailers have been slow to adopt social media as a whole. In fact, 46% do not use any social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) for business purposes, according to our 2013 Ag Retailer Social Media Survey. Retailers offered several reasons to why they haven’t climbed on board the social media bandwagon, from “it’s too time consuming” to “we’re not sure how to make it work.”

But one company that is taking the time to make social media work is Mid Kansas Cooperative (MKC). We caught up with MKC Director of Communications Kerry Watson who shared her insight into how the company is successfully using social media.

Q. Why social media?

A. One of the main reasons is to communicate our story in a timely, accurate manner. Another reason…if we’re not telling our story, someone else will.

Q. What is the purpose of the Social Media Committee at MKC? When did you form it?

A. The social media team was formed two years ago as MKC was planning to move into the social media world. We worked with a consultant who has an extensive background in social media and asked several employees if they would be interested in serving on the team. Many of them were already using different elements and had very good insight on what they felt companies were doing right or, in some cases, could improve on.

Different members of our team help post to our sites. And each member has a good understanding about what levels of communication should be done by whom. For example, crisis management will always be done through the communications department — not the social media team.

Q. What social media networks are you using?

A. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, LinkedIn. Just this past month we added Instagram.

Q. Why are you using these networks in particular? What are your goals?

A. We chose these networks as we felt they were most popular with the audience we were trying to reach. Our goals include: to tell our story in a timely, accurate manner; to use as a recruiting tool; and to reach larger audiences through our fans and followers, thus helping to build the MKC brand outside of our footprint.

Q. Who is your audience? Are you trying to reach grower-customers, members and/or employees?

A. Our Facebook fans are split down the middle — 49% men and 49% women. Less than 2% are 13-17 years old; 18% are 18-24; 19% are 25-34; 18% are 35-44; 15% are 45-54; and 15% are 55 years old or older.

Yes, our goal is to reach our grower-customers, potential customers and employees, and those we call “influencers” in the industry (e.g., banker, insurance company, ag extension agents).

Q. What types of content do you find most effective?

A. Content that ties strongly to an emotion evokes the best reaction. Examples of this include “Thinking of those affected by…” posts; introducing the new babies of our employees; and unfortunately, an announcement of the passing of an employee or customer. Photos with fun captions also capture a lot of attention, as well as information about new projects and facility upgrades.

We are just venturing into a Fan Friday promotion in which we will recognize a fan on a monthly basis. We’re excited to see where this will lead. We also produced a very fun video for our YouTube channel which has over 56,000 views.

Q. How are you measuring the success of using social media? What’s the ROI?

A. Each of the social media platforms provide analytics — some are more detailed than others. Facebook provides an excellent source for analytics on our posts and we refer to them frequently.

We’ve not completed an analysis to determine our ROI on our social media efforts. However, we did just complete a Brand Valuation in which our MKC brand was valued at $23.1 million. We believe our social media efforts have played a role in creating our brand awareness.

Q. Are there any tools that make using social media more efficient?

A. Some use HootSuite. TweetDeck is a good tool if you are just assigned to Twitter. Blogger has a scheduling option within its platform.

Q. What are your biggest challenges with social media?

A. Our biggest challenge is we (the social media team) can’t be everywhere all the time. We have to rely on our employee team to keep us informed of what is going on. Many times, an employee has good, timely information and plans to share it via social media that same day, only to get tied up with his or her job and forgets to share. We have missed some great opportunities because of this.

Q. If you had unlimited time and resources, what else would you do with social media?

A. If we had unlimited time and resources, I would probably have one person who spends three or four days a week out in our territory capturing pictures and information.

Q. What would you say to other ag retailers/cooperatives who say social media is a “waste of time”?

A. I would remind them that if they aren’t telling their story in a timely manner, someone else will (and it may not be flattering)! Social media is the tool of choice for communication today.

If one thing were to go horribly wrong for your organization and you chose to use a slower form of communication (i.e., press release, newsletter), someone else outside of your organization most likely has already started posting information about the event.

Q. What advice would you give other ag retailers/cooperatives who want to start a social media program?

A. If you have the budget, work with a consultant and create a social media team from within your organization. I wouldn’t recommend just one person trying to manage multiple platforms.

Leave a Reply

CropLife 100 Stories

Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
Top 100 Articles
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsNFU: Monsanto Decision To Withdraw Syngenta Bid ‘…
August 26, 2015
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization was very pleased by the news that Monsanto has withdrawn Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Withdraws Bid For Syngenta
August 26, 2015
Monsanto Co. abandoned its latest effort to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s top maker of pesticides, after a sweetened bid Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Comments On Monsanto Announcement
August 26, 2015
The Board of Syngenta confirms that it received a verbal proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company at a price Read More
Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer
EquipmentHigh-powered Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer Pushes Throug…
August 26, 2015
Engineered with more muscle, the new 660-gallon-capacity Patriot 2250 sprayer features best-in-class horsepower, along with the fuel efficiency that comes Read More
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Eric SfiligojPrecision Ag Could Shine In Increased Spotlight On Agri…
August 24, 2015
By any measure, 2015 is turning into one of the most challenging years agriculture has ever experienced. All throughout good Read More
ManagementCrop Conditions In Minnesota and Traveling Time
August 21, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiilgoj discuss the crop outlook from a field trip to Minnesota and upcoming travel plans. Read More
HerbicidesREUTERS: Anti-GMO ‘Scientist’ Calls For New…
August 20, 2015
EDITORS NOTE: We feel that it is important to note that there are those that believe one of the lead Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Announces Seedcare Application And Resource Ce…
August 19, 2015
Syngenta recently announced the Seedcare Application and Resource Center, a collaborative new website designed exclusively for Syngenta Seedcare customers to Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Announces Two New Regional Sales Man…
August 19, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced Steve Vining and Phil Reding have each accepted new positions as Regional Sales Managers. Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names Vice President, Crop Prot…
August 18, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC have appointed Warren Hragyil to VP Crop Protection. Hragyil comes to Aligned Ag Distributors LLC with Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires Manager For Crop Performance Division
August 18, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced Donald Sutton has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division as a part of the U.S. sales Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Field Days Promote Agricultural Evolution
August 18, 2015
Brent Bible practiced no-till farming and the use of cover crops on his farm in Lafayette, Indiana, but until recently, Read More
Cover Crop on corn
Industry NewsMore Farmers Find Healthy Soil Works For Crops, Bottom …
August 17, 2015
Doug Toussaint’s field was in critical condition — and he was the one killing it, reports Dan Gunderson on MPRNews. Read More
Deere tillage
Crop InputsTillage Practices Have A Direct Correlation To Soil Hea…
August 17, 2015
Many areas, including Michigan, have experienced a heightened sense of awareness of the importance of soil quality, according to Michigan Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Interesting Water Issue On The West Coast
August 17, 2015
A few weeks ago at the 2015 Environmental Respect Awards event in Wilmington, DE, one of the speakers talked about Read More
CF Industries' Donaldsonville, LA, nitrogen complex expansion site.
Industry NewsBleak Outlook Sparks Frenzied Dealmaking In Nitrogen Fe…
August 17, 2015
Sinking crop prices and frenzied output growth by producers have sparked a flurry of dealmaking worth nearly $10 billion in Read More