Students Pose Questions and Find Answers in Social Media Research

by | Apr 29, 2016

A primary mission of the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement is to equip students with social media research experience. As part of their coursework, students enroll in undergraduate research classes and have the opportunity to plan, conduct, and present research pertaining to social media and agriculture. These students presented the results of their research at the KSU Gamma Sigma Delta Research Symposium on April 15th, 2016.

Click on the photographs to see the students’ posters.

Students: Samantha Capoun, Dandi Thomas, and Charlsie Craig

Topic: Garden Centers’ use of Amazon and E-Commerce


Summary: Sam, Dandi, and Charlsie conducted a content analysis of 100 garden centers across the country. To prepare for their research, they read scholarly articles and trade publications to help formulate research objectives and identify a theoretical concept. Once their research objectives were in place, the team analyzed whether garden centers were using e-commerce platforms or selling via Amazon.

Findings: Sam, Dandi, and Charlsie found only 1 garden center on Amazon and only 10% (n=10) had an e-commerce presence through a website. The team identified that e-commerce is an area of considerable opportunity for the green industry. Charlsie graduates with a degree in agricultural communications this Spring and will start working at RFD-TV.


Student: Brooke Harshaw

Topic: Millennials’ Preferences of Social Media Communication


Summary: Brooke analyzed the results from a 2015 survey that was distributed to current students at Kansas State University. While the information she collected focused primarily on recruitment and communication preferences from their respective colleges, their social media preferences and usage rates can be valuable to marketers looking to interact and connect with the number one consumer demographic in history.

Findings: Results indicate social media use for marketing and recruitment purposes can be effective as long as the college is using a social media channel that students regularly use. Additionally, just because students are using a social media platform does not mean they want the college or business to contact them on that social media. Although this study focused on college recruitment, some of the findings could cross over to the marketing world. Marketers should understand that, to millennials, social media can be seen as a private and personal tool and unwanted marketing might be seen as an invasion of their personal space. Brooke graduates this semester and will be starting her master’s degree in agricultural education in the fall.


Student: Nicole Kruse

Topic: Garden Centers’ use of Facebook Marketing



Summary: Nicole conducted an informal content analysis of the Facebook pages of 289 garden centers across the United States. She specifically focused on whether the business was operating an official page and whether or not key business information like contact information, business hours, and addresses were included.

Results: Nicole’s research indicates that although garden centers are using Facebook pages there is still room for improvement. Nearly half of the garden centers in the study omitted reviews, business hours, and at least one form of contact information. This could be hindering the marketing efforts of garden centers online.