Eco City Farms: A Local Social Media Analysis
In 2010, a non-profit organization in Prince George’s County, Maryland rose to serve as a prototype for sustainable local urban farming. ECO City Farms educates, creates prototypes and incubates viable food-related income-producing enterprises through replication methods. ECO works to create a bio-diverse ecosystem to nourish plants and animals as well as operates as a diversive, all-inclusive organization to promote working together in the workplace and in the environment. The local non-profit offers educational programs and trainings in Urban Farming, Farmer training, Composting and Rebuilding Soil, Microgreens, Youth Education, Nutrition Education and Cooking, Outreach and Community Engagement, Farm Share/CSA and Farmers Market, Bladensburg Farm Project, A Voice for Justice, Food Security and Sustainable Farming, and Environmental Stewardship. Eco City Farms shares that their partnerships are what have helped them get where they are. Key organizational and community partners of Eco City Farms include Whole Foods, Busboys and Poets, DC Central Kitchen, and several other local organizations.
Therefore, the presence of Eco City Farms is impactful to the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) area. However, the existing social media presence of Eco City Farms is virtually nonexistent. First and foremost, their website is rather unorganized and out-dated. The only social media platform they have otherwise is a Facebook page which does not have a cohesive aesthetic or attraction. When visiting the website, it seems as though there has been little, if any, work on it. However, the facebook page did have a few recent posts according to the time stamps. Regardless, being an environmental non-profit and making an impact on how produce is farmed in urban areas can be such a beautiful presentation for social media. Therefore, the following actions are recommended.
First and foremost, the improvement of Instagram usage would be a start. Currently on the Eco City Farms website, there is no access to the social media platforms other than Facebook. However, the Instagram (@ecocityfarms) is in relatively consistent but individuals have to manually search the organization in order to find them, a process unrealistic for most to complete. A website should be a living, breathing document for an organization with all access to whatever other platforms they are on. The Instagram page for Eco City Farms does not do a good job on telling their viewers what the page is for. As of right now the bio is “We grow great food, farms, and farmers!”, a cute little quote however for a potential volunteer, worker, or consumer, how are they supposed to know Eco City Farms is a non-profit based on this? Similarly, the website in their bio is a link to an Eventbrite rather than their actual website which is another misleading piece of content. Creating a more consistent Instagram page will encourage younger audiences to volunteer, join the projects, or apply for apprenticeships.
Secondly, implementing a digital storytelling strategy is key in creating a tangible brand that people can recognize. As of right now, there is not humanized feature of Eco City Farms other than the platform itself. While the non-profit is a beautiful program to encourage sustainable farming in urban areas, non-farmers in the area may be confused on the sorts of programs or opportunities Eco City Farms offers for individuals. Therefore, the keys for Eco City Farms to create a digital storytelling strategy include curation, documentation, communication, and branding. The content on Eco City Farms’ website is wonderful, however, it needs to translate on social media in order to impact people on an everyday basis which increases loyalty to programs. An example of great content is found on under their ‘Farms’ tab, on a page called “ Composting and Vermiculture: Creating Healthy Soil”.
The content on this page would be perfect to show on a day-to-day basis on Instagram. Similarly, adding proximity marketing to this platform would help the nonprofit gain traction even in the local area with use of geo-tags or location sharing on Facebook and Instagram. Another great feature that they included on this page was the “view video” at the top of the page. As indicated in the Social Media Bootcamp, video marketing or strategy is a great way to encourage interaction. This would include a higher usage across social media platforms since it seems that Twitter and Instagram are randomly used with only a little bit more consistency with Facebook.
Finally, evaluating Eco City Farms’ KPI would entail volunteer outcome numbers, donation percentage increase, and increased overall involvement via partnerships or events. Therefore, an increase in social media platforms would allow for Eco City Farms to reach a bigger audience in the DMV area and accomplish all the previously stated KPI goals. With plenty of information and content currently on the website, all that is left is a matter of communication on a daily basis in order to build a stronger branding platform for individuals and potential partners understand the mission of Eco City Farms.