Farm Marketing: How to Use Social Media to Market Your Farm Business
More and more farms are diversifying into customer-facing businesses such as meat boxes, farm shops, glamping and so on. But to make these businesses successful, farmers need to consider their farm marketing. For many farm diversifications, social media can play a key role in the farm marketing strategy, and understanding how to use social media strategically for your farm business is central to getting the most out of it.
Why is social media a useful tool for farm marketing?
Social media is used by the vast majority of British consumers, so it provides businesses with an effective method to target their customers. It also allows businesses to create and maintain a digital presence relatively easily, while also offering the opportunity to have two-way communication with your audience. This two-way communication is something that is often overlooked by businesses, but as the name suggests, to get the most out of social media you should be social.
Some of the most successful businesses on social media have achieved this success by engaging with their audience and making their audience feel heard by the business. This not only makes customers feel valued, but also provides the chance to gain insight into customer preferences and behaviours. A simple example of this could be allowing customers to vote on the new flavour of the week for a milk vending machine.
Choosing the right social media platform for your business
There are a whole host of different social media platforms out there, and you can’t effectively market your business on all of them. You need to work out which platforms will be more effective for your business, and there are a few questions you can ask yourself to work this out:
Who is my ideal customer?
The first question you should ask yourself when considering any marketing or business strategy is “who are my ideal customers?”. The same is true for social media.
If you just said ‘’everyone’’, you need to rethink. Digital marketing is only effective when you are targeted in your approach, and if you are trying to market to everyone, you will end up marketing to no one. The more you dig down into who your customers really are, the more effective your marketing will be.
Which social media platforms do my ideal customers use, and why?
It is likely that your ideal customers will use one or two social media platforms far more than others. You can look up the demographics of each social media platform online, and the key is to look for “active users” as these are users who engage with the platform regularly. You might be surprised to learn that 44% of the UK population uses Facebook daily, and the average age of an active user on Instagram is 30.
You will also need to consider why a customer is using a platform, and what mindset are they in while using it. Those on LinkedIn are likely to be in a more “workplace/professional” mindset than the same customer while using Instagram.
Which platforms do I (or someone on the farm) use currently and feel comfortable with?
It is much easier to be consistent with your social media marketing if you choose a platform that you already enjoy using and are comfortable with. It is likely that there is an overlap between the platforms you like and the ones your customers like. But if not, consider whether other family members might be a better fit for dealing with social media for your farm business.
What type of content do I feel comfortable creating?
Much like choosing a platform, creating social media content consistently is much easier if it’s a content type that comes naturally to you. Some people are great at taking pictures, others love doing videos to the camera, and some are good with words. Picking a platform that complements your own skills will make your life easier and your marketing more effective.
And don’t think this means you have to be amazing at creating content right away; you just have to enjoy the process and be willing to practice and develop those skills.
Once you have answered these questions, you will likely have one or two platforms that stand out as good choices for your business. Start with the most ideal platform and, once you feel confident using it, you may like to add one or two more platforms to your farm marketing strategy. Most small–medium businesses should only ever need 1–3 social media platforms.
Planning your farm marketing strategy for social media
Once you have established who you are targeting and where you are targeting, you can start to think about your wider farm marketing strategy. At this stage, it is worth considering what role you are expecting social media to play within your business strategy. For example:
Are you using social media for brand awareness? Or sales and purchases?
How will your social media marketing complement your other marketing channels?
What goals do you have for your social media marketing? And your business?
You will need to use different strategies and tactics within your social media marketing to achieve different goals, so it is important to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
For most businesses who are new to using social media or who don’t yet have a significant following, I would start by focusing on attracting new followers who fit your ideal customer profile. Focus on engaging and educational content that targets your ideal customers, and try to focus on strategies that push your content to non-followers.
For example, on Instagram, Reels are more likely to be watched by non-followers than posts or stories. If you are using Facebook, you may want to consider a paid advertising campaign or engaging in Facebook groups to reach new people. Once someone is following you, then they are a more captive audience where you can start to introduce more sales-focused content.
The time demands of farm marketing can be very draining, particularly if you lack the skills and passion for the tasks. This is where a marketing company can help provide expert guidance or simply manage the farm marketing for you. As farm marketing specialists, we have access to technology, skills and expertise, which means we can be far more efficient in supporting your farm business through its growth journey. To find out more, you can book a consult here. Check out our done-for-you packages here, or if you prefer, have a look at our coaching packages here.