Many farms in the state have an incredible presence on Facebook and Instagram. Both social media platforms are a great way to connect with customers. The numbers back up the importance of having an online presence. While there are many social media platforms, most people are pressed for time. Therefore, it makes sense to choose one. The one that is used by the most people, according to Hootsuite, is Facebook and it continues to grow, with nearly 2.41 billion monthly active users. Seventy-one percent of American adults use Facebook and 74 percent of users log in daily and spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the platform. Facebook now owns Instagram and it has become easier to cross post from one platform to the other.
Whether you are relatively new to social media or a veteran user, these tips may give you some ideas on how to optimize your use of social media, increase followers and build your brand.
- Make sure your website and e-mails include a social media button or a link to your Facebook page. Make sure any printed material includes the Facebook icon. If you’re taking advantage of the cross posting capabilities with Instagram, include that icon as well.
- Invite visitors to your farm or business to “like” your page. When you host farm tours or other events, take a moment to ask people to “like” your page and let them know the types of updates they can expect.
- Tag photos. If you host events at your farm, take photos and then tag people or ask farm visitors to tag themselves. This helps expand your page to others.
- Be intentional about posts. At the beginning of each year or season, consider what is going on at the farm and what customers might like to know about. What do you want customers or potential customers to know? Jot down a list of ideas and when to post. This is a start to your social media calendar. Revise it, update, and add to from year to year.
- Use attractive photos to draw attention and engagement to your posts.
- Consider some type of contest or bonus if people visit your farm and mention your Facebook page.
- Realize that a lot of people don’t live on farms but value learning about how their food is grown. What is most important about your farm and how can you convey that? Here are a few ideas:
- Make your farm relatable. Post a photo of you or other family members at the farm doing some aspect of work. For example, a peach farmer might be checking the fruit set on peach trees. Include a short post on how many days til peach harvest. During peach harvest, capture a photo of someone enjoying a sweet, juicy peach just picked from the farm.
- Share the goodness. Food photos are always popular. Beautiful red strawberries, whether just picked and sitting in a bucket in the strawberry field or part of a delectable dessert ready to enjoy will help make people want to purchase nature’s goodness while in season.
- Help educate others about farming. When is planting time? What are you planting? What does it look like after one month? At harvest? What variety of a particular item do you like to plant? If you raise animals, how do you care for them?
- Tell people how to find you. If you are at a farmers market or have a farm stand, provide regular posts with what products you will have available each week. Include a beautiful picture.
- Give ideas on how to use your product. Not everyone is a cook so simple preparation ideas are welcomed by most. If you know a chef or a great home cook that uses your product and likes to capture their culinary skills on video, make sure to share it!
When it comes to Instagram, 1 billion people use it every month and 63 percent of users log in at least once a day. They spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform.
- Make sure your farm Instagram account is set up as a business account. This will allow you to add contact information for your farm. It will also give you access to analytics.
- When setting up your Instagram account, you will be prompted to connect to Facebook. Connect to your Facebook Business page to be able to cross post from one platform to the other. This article explains how to cross-post to Instagram from your Facebook page and how to publish to both Facebook and Instagram simultaneously. It also includes considerations on why posting the same material on both platforms may not be effective due to different audiences on each platform.
- Go to settings to find helpful information such as analytics, which will be at the Insights tab. This provides information on your posts and the reach, which is the number of unique accounts that have seen your posts or stories in the last seven days. Impressions is the total number of times all of your posts and stories have been seen in the last seven days. It includes interactions, such as people who may have clicked on your profile or website. It will include number of followers, where they are from, age range, gender, and the time followers are most active (day and time).
- Instagram stories is a helpful feature when you wish to post short videos or several photos as a slideshow instead of just one photo. You can share Instagram stories to your Facebook business stories, which helps optimize both platforms and your time. Instagram will allow you to change your settings to automatically share all future stories to your Facebook Business page. The stories are available for only 24 hours unless you add it to your highlights section. Go to the story you want to highlight, click on the highlight button which is a heart. Specify where you want to add the highlights. When you click “done” your story will be highlighted beyond the 24-hour period.
- These and other features on how to use Instagram for business are explained in this helpful 6-Step Guide by Hootsuite.
- This helpful webinar on using Instagram, conducted by Kristen Baughman Taber, of Tabletop Media Group, and sponsored by N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and Warren County Economic Development, is well worth your time if you’re getting started with Instagram or want to use more of its features.
This is part of a 4-part series on social media resources. Google My Business, a free tool, helps increase your online presence in Google Search and Google Maps. Facebook now owns Instagram and helps facilitate cross posting. Devine Farms shares their social media strategy. Visit NC Farms is a new app introduced by NCDA&CS.
By Leah Chester-Davis