This is the third of three articles on marketing your farm. Step One focused on naming your farm and telling your farm’s unique story. Step Two took this a bit further by discussing the development of a website for your farm where in this story and much more detail about your farm lives. Now with these first two steps in play, you are ready to market your small farm business on social media. Marketing best practices for small businesses including farms, should always be built upon a website so that the business owns the data, connections and the audience. The social media platform owns your followers (i.e. if they shut down tomorrow or decided to block your account for some reason, everything you have on the site belongs to them, it is not yours). With a web site you are now ready to engage in social media as this is how you can push traffic to your web site so that you capture the contacts (customers) and they can buy directly online from you, schedule a farm visit, tour/book a venue, and also get to know more about your farm.
Although there are many options from which to choose with social media, the most reliable and easiest to navigate are Facebook and Instagram. Other platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are certainly viable options, but if you are beginning to market your farm, beginning with Instagram and Facebook will be likely be the quickest and easiest way to go. With over 71% of the population on Facebook (more than any other social media) you will certainly find an audience there. To begin a business page (assuming you already have a personal page), there is a drop-down menu on the right hand corner of the page. Be sure to fill in the pertinent information about your farm. If you created a logo (from Step 1) using it as you profile picture is a great way to brand your farm. Once you are comfortable with using your business page, you will find that there are easy to use analytics that can help you adjust your posting efforts and perhaps even advertise to boost a post about a special or event you may be having on your farm.
Once you are comfortable with Facebook, you will want to give Instagram a try as it is an amazing marketplace for many small farmers, creators and other entrepreneurs. Be sure to set up the Instagram account on your phone, as the platform is developed for ongoing mobile engagement and the full functionality of the platform is not accessible from a desktop. If you use your same logo/profile photo as Facebook, a brand identity begins to solidify. Begin to play around with the site and follow other small and neighboring famers. With Instagram an audience can be grown quickly and you will learn a lot in the process.
For both sites, be sure to post and engage regularly. Although some say daily posts are required, if posting a few times a week while making sure to respond to comments and questions in a timely manner (think of them as customers and respond to them with courtesy and friendliness) you will see that it does not require a lot of effort. It is the consistency that really matters.
In addition, be authentic with your audience. People want to see the real side of your farm, not just all the ‘glamor’ shots. They want to see the good, the bad and the ugly. As with all social media, it is being real and consistent that builds a brand and a following.
The Caswell Ag Chat is a weekly snap-shot regarding various aspects of agriculture in Caswell County. We’d like to have different perspectives, highlight different farmers in Caswell as well as fold in those farm owners involved in agritourism in order to highlight ‘all things agriculture’ in our beautiful county. Our number one economic driver here is agriculture and as we transition from the larger row crops of tobacco, that are still critical to our county, we would like to keep the citizens of the county aware of how much we have to offer to those who make all types of farming their career choice.
As published in The Caswell Messenger - Ag Chat October 16, 2019
Written by AC Hodges