Mountainoak Cheese: Award-Winning Gouda

ameule    November 12, 2018

Adam and Hannie Van Bergeijk were first farmers and cheesemakers in The Netherlands, and purchased their dairy farm just outside New Hamburg, Ontario in 1996, with a dream to return to cheesemaking.

They started making Mountainoak Cheese in 2012 when dairy farmers were now permitted to handcraft artisan cheese. On their land, they grow, feed, care for, and milk their herd of over 200 dairy cows. They turn 4,000 litres of high-quality milk into each batch of delicious artisanal Mountainoak cheese, and they try to make cheese 2-3 times each week!

In today’s fast-paced world, even farmers need to be on social media. It’s become a key tool for marketing and communicating with customers; social media gives farmers a platform to tell their story to consumers. In Mountainoak Cheese’s case, for showing how the cheese is made, sharing excitement about competitions, and keeping customers informed of their weekly specials and new retail partners where their cheese can be found.

There are many ways you can measure your social media platforms, but this can also be very challenging, especially for small businesses. It’s best to have a clear goal in mind and to keep it simple. In an email interview, Jessica Talsma (one of Mountainoak’s cheesemakers and media manager), mentioned that she uses Facebook Insights, “which shows how many people we have reached that week and how many interactions have taken place on our page.”

Talsma began posting to their Instagram page in December 2017. After starting it as a normal account, she soon switched to a business account, which allows her to see weekly activity and insights. With 1530 likes on their Facebook page, 1476 followers on Twitter, and 864 followers on Instagram, they’re certainly doing a great job!

Across all industries, the median Facebook engagement rate is 0.16%, and the median Instagram engagement rate is 1.73%. Taking a look at Mountainoak’s most recent posts, their average is significantly higher at 6.8% engagement on Facebook and 10.4% on Instagram. Engagement is calculated as Total Engagements / Followers (where engagement is any measurable interaction, such as like, comment, share, click).

As far as effectiveness of their posts, Talsma adds, “each week the Farm Store specials are only advertised on our social media, so if people come in knowing about the sale we know they heard from our social media otherwise they see the sale when they come in”.

Their community celebrates with them; their most recent Facebook and Instagram posts show the awards their cheese has won in events just last week.

Speaking of competitions, Rick Mercer paid a visit to Mountainoak’s cheese plant in 2016 in advance of the British Empire Cheese Competition he was guest judging. He wanted to visit one of the cheese plants that had entered the competition. And yes, they picked up some awards there, too.

Lessons for Others

Collaboration with community partners can be beneficial for all parties, with increased reach, engagement, and awareness. The ease and availability of social metrics have made it easy to tell how well you’re doing. For small businesses, you should focus on keeping it simple.

Organization: Mountainoak Cheese
Industry: Agriculture
Name of Organization Contact: Hannie and Adam van Bergeijk, Proprietors

Authored by: Amber M

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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