Support Small Farms: Become their Social Media Manager

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by brenda on December 27, 2014

Social Media is an important part

of running a small business. It’s important for small farms, too. The problem is, most farmers don’t have time for social media marketing. And, they may not know the ins and outs of it, because they haven’t spent many hours there.

Do you enjoy social media? Do you have a good understanding of how to write posts and share photos? I think you can do this.

The photo below is unrealistic, frankly:

farmsocialmediamanager

No farmer would be out in the field, holding an iPad, a cell phone, and running a farm successfully. The truth is, farming takes more hours than exist in a day! Really. Farmers are going to bed after the sun goes down, and many times, rising before it goes up. Farmers are working hard.

Tell a farmer that he or she needs to add social media marketing to the many things they do all day?

Yeah, right.

But it’s important. It’s an effective way to get communication out to customers about what the farm is offering. It’s a great way to connect with the community. This day and age, it’s pretty much an essential part of running a business, big or small.

This is where you come in.

Ask a local farmer if he would like you to manage a Facebook page for his farm (or something like that…keep reading for more information). I suggest volunteering to help a farm in this way. You can turn it into a paid position, if you’d like….but I love to help small farms, because I know that they struggle and many times barely make ends meet. Besides, many farmers may be unwilling to pay for such a service, because they don’t recognize the value of it–yet. Volunteer your time in this way, and the farmer may be happily surprised by the results. 🙂

What exactly is a Social Media Manager?

Basically, a Social Media Manager is somebody who adds content to social media pages, asks questions, stirs up conversations, filters comments, and responds. That’s all.

You’re already doing this, aren’t you? One of the problems with modern social media is that it can become very narcissistic. “Look at me.” “Look at my children.” “Look at my fuzzy white kitty chase a flash light.” “Look at my new sports car.” Ok, maybe not. But you get the point. It’s self-centered. I’m not saying we should all ditch Facebook because it makes us  self-centered. I’m saying, re-think it. Use it differently. Use it to make a difference. You can do this by helping a local, small, farm promote their business.

How much time does it take to be a Social Media Manager?

For a small farm, I suggest around 2 hours or more per week. If you’d like to see what the day of a full-time Social Media Manager looks like, check out this post. You won’t be spending full days marketing a small farm, though.

What, exactly, does a Social Media Manager do?

Post to social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc. I suggest starting with 1 or 2. Think about the customer base of the farm. How old are they? What kind of lifestyle do they live? Which social media channels are they most likely participating in? Start there.

Create a page for the farm (unless they already have one). Start inviting friends to like it. Encourage them to invite their friends to like it.

I suggest posting two to three times per day. You don’t have to be at the computer 2-3 different times per day to do this. You can make use of social media apps like Hootsuite (paid) or SlackSocial (free). You can also schedule posts on Facebook without using an app. When you’re on a Facebook Page, click on the arrow next to “Post” and click on “Schedule Post.”

schedulepost

 

I spend a couple of hours every week scheduling posts for all of my blogs. Then, once or twice per day I check comments and respond.

Comment, ask questions, filter comments. You want to engage customers and get them talking. You want to build a community. 

Connect with the Farmer once per week. Find out what they are offering right now. If the farmer is tech savvy, have him or her send you photos of the farm. If the farmer is not tech savvy, visit the farm at least once per month, if not weekly, to gather photos. If you need to edit images, re-size them, or add text, I recommend using PicMonkey. Spread these photos through the week (schedule them). If the farmer is offering sales, make sure to share these as well. If it’s time to pre-order grass-fed beef, let people know.

What kind of content should a Social Media Manager be posting?

Like I said, post photos of the farm, and upcoming sales or items to order. Link to the farmer’s website (hopefully they have a website…otherwise, maybe there’s another volunteer job for somebody!). 🙂 Also, I have found that asking questions on Facebook encourages the most interaction and the biggest sense of community. Ask questions! I have spent some time making a list of 100+ questions that might resonate with my readers. I keep them on a spreadsheet and go down my list, asking 4-5 questions per week. When I need to think of more questions, I sit down and think of more. I suggest doing this. And ask the farmer what kinds of questions they might want to ask their customers. I ask questions like:

“Do you drink raw milk?”
“Are you eating a farm-raised turkey this Thanksgiving?”
“Does anyone have backyard chickens? How many?”
etc.

You can get creative. People like these questions. Again, people are on Facebook and other social media channels, primarily to talk about themselves–draw them in by asking things about them.

Share relevant posts about local news and events. The key word is relevant. You only want to post things that the customers of the farm would be interested in. You really have to put yourself in their shoes.

Share relevant posts from other blogs, like this one. 🙂 No, really, share posts from other blogs about nutrition, about the importance of eating grass-fed beef, etc. Don’t post information about other local farms that may be competing for the same customers. 

Share medical studies that prove the importance of real food, or how healthy a particular food is. Search PubMed or Google Scholar in your free-time if you enjoy this kind of thing. This is what I do, anyways. 😉

Share funny images, or, memes. People like these. They really like these. You will get a lot of shares from funny images. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. You can make your own at this website (and there are lots more sites like this). If you’re not feeling very creative or funny, you can share memes created by other people–just make sure to link back to them and give them credit.

Set a Schedule of Posts

Here’s an example of what I might post (giving away more secrets! It’s your lucky day ;)):

Monday

  • afternoon: blog post (link to farmer’s website about something)
  • evening: question

Tuesday

  • morning: photo from farmer
  • afternoon: a post from another blog

Wednesday

  • morning: meme
  • evening: something about the farm or a blog post

Thursday

  • morning: question
  • afternoon: something about the farm or a blog post

Friday

  • afternoon: a post from another blog
  • evening: question

Saturday

  • morning: something about the farm or a blog post
  • evening: a post from another blog

Sunday

  • I don’t post or even schedule posts on Sunday, we celebrate the Sabbath this day and I don’t want to worry about responding to comments this day. You can choose to post this day if you want to. 🙂

This is just an example. You can change it up however you like. (Or, however the farmer likes–make sure to ask him or her what their preference is about all of this. You do not want to represent their farm inappropriately). I spend a couple of hours every Monday scheduling posts (for multiple blogs) for the week. You can totally do this! I think for a farm, you’ll maybe spend 1 hour scheduling posts + 1 hour throughout the week responding to comments. It isn’t that difficult. You can do it, right? Do it while you watch TV at night. Do it while you wait for an appointment, on your smart phone. Your time will be so helpful to your farmer!!!

Lastly,

I would ask you to remember this point–you are representing the farm.

What you say and what you share will impact the business of the farm. Please do whatever you can to put the farm in a positive light and to generate community and a large customer base. This kind of work can bless a farm (and their ability to make income) tremendously!!! You might get some free produce or a discount by doing something like this (because most farmers are just that nice!), but don’t expect it. Do this out of the goodness of your heart, knowing that it is difficult for a farmer to manage something like this.

What do you think? Do you think you can take on something like this to bless a local farm?

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