For many farmers, the hardest part about social media is taking the plunge. So maybe you just need a little shove, a few small steps to get you started? That was the topic we covered today on RFD Now, a program produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau and carried on 70 radio stations in the Midwest. I was joined by Chris Klein, the owner of Klein’s Farm and Market out of western Illinois. Chris’ farm has had a Facebook presence for about a month, and she launched it immediately following one of my social media workshops for farmers. We talked with RFD Radio hosts Julie Root and Allan Jarand. (You can hear a recording of the segment at http://www.farmweeknow.com/radio.aspx).
If you’re not on Facebook and eventually hope to establish a business presence, here are a few things you should do now:
- Sign up and get a personal account so you can have access to Facebook and see what other farmers are doing.
- Go to other farms and businesses in your community and begin Liking them to see how they’re using Facebook.
- Find your friends and relatives and begin friending them. You’ll turn to those friends when you establish your Facebook business presence.
- After you see what others are doing, identify your own business goals for Facebook? Get 100 likers by Labor Day? Boost sales at your market or farm? Increase sales of a specific item?
- Identify how you’ll achieve that goal. Will you simply generate awareness about the farm? Promote special produce? Provide helpful growing tips for the back yard vegetable garden? Advice for how to prepare the produce you grow? Maybe you just want to establish a face on farming, so your customers understand the hard work involved in getting food to their tables?
As a newbie on Facebook, it can still be overwhelming. So make it easy to transition into social media:
- Your first month, just interact with other farms or businesses. See how they respond when you post items on their wall. You’ll find many businesses don’t reply at all. I call that anti-social media. If you are not going to have a dialogue on Facebook, why bother being on it at all? Your “Likers” don’t want to hear about your sales or promotions. They want to know who YOU ARE. Provide them with something valuable — your expertise. And have a conversation. Take advantage of this marvelous network!
- Also, If you have a smart phone, download a free Facebook app and start taking photos and uploading them onto your Facebook page. It’s very easy once you try.
- Once you have a comfort level, you can use your existing account to set up a Facebook page for your business.
- Be sure you take advantage of the business info tab to give the fullest description about what you do and how you help your customers. Provide complete address and contact information. And be sure you use key words so if Facebook user are searching for a strawberry farmer in Udina Illinois, you’ll drive them directly to your Facebook page.