Social Media in Agriculture

THE Hopkins River Beef Facebook page is a foodie’s delight with a production message behind it that have combined to make it one of the most popular feedlot-based social media presences in Australia.

With close to 2,000 followers, the page’s administrator and Hopkins River Beef director Adam North said it has helped to consolidate the image of this premium Angus beef producer.

“The page is a good way for us to interact directly with the public because by looking at our posts, they know what they’re going to get from Hopkins River Beef,” Mr North said.

Images of Angus cattle in the paddock, cuts of beef before and after cooking, salads to go with them and on-farm shots of cattle, staff, dogs and produce make the page a feelgood one, and competitions and recipes help attract new followers.

Hopkins River Beef is owned by the Maconachie family, and Dave Maconachie, who runs the cattle side of the business, and Mr North, who runs the marketing side, find the Facebook page is the perfect avenue to take followers inside the paddock-to-plate process.

“It’s an insight into what happens behind the scenes from the farm to butchery, and it could also be a video of me and Dave rounding up cattle on the four-wheeler or a picture of a meat pie that looks like an Australian flag,” Mr North said.

It’s most popular post of late has been 93 likes for a picture of Rafael Nadal, while in Melbourne for the Australian Open, enjoying a meal at a restaurant supplied by Hopkins River Beef, and 20 comments on the question: “In your opinion best restaurant to go for steak?”

The company’s Facebook page was started seven years ago on a mostly male following.

“Now I’d say it’s about 60-40 male-female followers, and they range in age from about 18 to 60.  And we have a lot of chefs.”

Mr North said he uses the page to promote Hopkins River Beef’s customers in the restaurant sector, and also to promote the business’ home turf, the Grampians region of western Victoria.

His advice to others in the feedlot industry is to make your page as interesting and interactive as possible by asking for opinions or recipes and doing the occasional giveaway, and think about the timing of your posts.

“For example, if you post a photo at around 5pm before dinner, it generates twice the interaction than something straight after dinner, probably because people aren’t thinking about food in the way they were before dinner.”

Hopkins River Beef also uses Instagram for photo-sharing and Twitter, and has around 800 followers on each.

“The feedlot industry definitely has its detractors and there’s a massive push towards grassfed in certain areas of the public, but if we use social media to show people what we are doing, they can make their mind up.”

Mr North said he has copped some flak on Twitter for simply being involved in the grainfed industry.

“My response is simple: If you don’t like what I’m posting or what we’re about, don’t follow us.”





Twitter @hopkinsrivbeef

“by Liz Wells, ALFA Lotfeeding magazine, March 2014”


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