Does Your Farm Have a Place on Facebook
Facebook user tips for farmers searching for marketing options
by Lane McConnell, OFN Contributor
On February 4, 2004, Facebook was launched. At the time, this social media network website was viewed as a way for friends to connect with similar interests. Since, Facebook has become a powerful and effective business tool in which many agricultural businesses and farmers have the opportunity to develop strategic marketing campaigns that are geared to specific demographics.
If you are still scratching your head, wondering about the Facebook rage, then you aren’t alone. Although Facebook has more than 500 million users, it is still in the infant stages of development, especially in the agricultural realm.
This interactive use of business marketing has become a key source in many farm’s advertising and marketing plans. If you haven’t taken the Facebook plunge yet, not to worry, there is plenty of time “get social.” Before logging on be sure that you are prepared to protect your online image through some simple tips.
Facebook Tips for Beginners:
- Decide how much “personal parts” of your day-to-day farm operations you want visible to the public. Keep any personal parts of your profile private through evaluating your profile settings.
- Update your status regularly to engage consumers- at LEAST four times per week.
- Embrace the responsibility to talk about farming, values and lifestyle with consumers.
- Make your profile interesting with photos and videos of your farm.
- Reinforce your farm brand by your logo, farm family photos and links.
- Post business updates on your profile, (eg. “Working in the fields harvesting today.”)
- Provide an accurate portrayal of your farm, in return you will build consumer trust.
Using Facebook as a Marketing Tool
- Cross-promote: If your farm has a website, blogs or Tweets – be sure and post blog posts, new web postings and Tweets on your Facebook page.
- Develop an objective: Why are you using social media? To find new customers, raise awareness about agriculture, take a political stance or for a web-presence? Figure out what the purpose is for your page and stick to it.
- Answer these questions on your page: Who are you? What do you do on your farm? What makes your farm different than others? Why are you’re a valuable source for consumers to follow? What are your products and why are they important?
- Focus Group: Do you have an idea for a new farm product? Try using your “friends” as a built in focus group and bounce ideas off them.
- Engage consumers: Post photos of you and family caring for your livestock and narrate the photos. But, don’t write a book – people will not read it if it’s lengthy. Put a face to your farm name – if asked a question by a consumer, respond accurately and in a timely manner.
Engaging your farm in Facebook is an effective use of your time with a little bit of homework. Remember, consumers make buying choices because of their feelings about the people that raise their food and the products they produce.