Farm marketing: Using LinkedIn to market your farm business to corporate clients
Most of our farming clients tend to focus their social media efforts on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. This is very effective when you are targeting consumers directly, but many farm businesses overlook the value of corporate clients. Using your farm marketing to target corporate clients could open up a whole new revenue stream for your farm business.
Why might you target corporate clients with your farm marketing?
Not all farm businesses can effectively target corporate clients, but there are two main areas where you might target corporate clients: retail sales and employee rewards/corporate gifting.
Retail sales could include targeting national farm shops, lifestyle businesses and garden centres with your range of products. This would include most food and drink products as well as potentially clothing, homeware items and garden products. If you provide animal feed and/or equestrian products, you may also be able to target large retailers in these sectors.
Alternatively, you may be looking to target corporate clients for the purpose of employee rewards and corporate gifting. This would include farm businesses with produce hampers, seasonal items, events and some food and drink items.
Either way, there could be a lucrative untapped market for your farm business. So how do you target them?
Where to market to corporate clients?
In the ever-evolving world of farm diversification, effective marketing strategies are paramount for success. Marketing to corporate clients will require a different approach to more common direct-to-consumer marketing. For starters, your choice of social media platform is likely to change from Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn offers the ability to target, engage and nurture customers in a way that most social media platforms can’t do.
What makes LinkedIn so effective for marketing to corporate clients?
When targeting corporate clients, your farm marketing will only be effective when you can target the decision-makers needed for your business. This often means targeting business owners, procurement managers, retail managers and maybe even HR professionals. It can also mean targeting marketing managers within businesses you want to be involved with.
When using a personal-professional account through LinkedIn, you have the ability to connect with decision-makers and build an audience that is highly relevant and targeted. You can do this through 2nd-connection prospecting, where you connect with contacts who have one or more contacts in common with you. If you use this method and at the same time target decision makers using key terms and job titles such as “procurement manager”, etc., you can build a large community of contacts fairly quickly.
Alongside this, if you set up a company page for your farm diversification, you can then invite your targeted contacts to follow the page and grow your following much quicker than by using passive methods on Facebook or Instagram.
If you combine this with effective content marketing, you create a highly engaged audience who will see you as an expert in your field and be ready to buy.
What to post on LinkedIn for your farm diversification
As a farm business, you should have access to massive opportunities to create engaging content, from videos on the farm to recipe ideas, and blogs about your farming practices. Much of this content will work extremely well on LinkedIn. If you are a food and drink business, consider creating recipe (or cocktail) ideas and serving suggestions for your products. You can also show your passion for the product by telling stories about how the product came to be.
FAQs are a great resource for content ideas to use on social media, and these will highlight your expertise in the field. You can also create resources that require an email download to grow your email marketing list. This should be a resource that adds value to your customers and benefits them in some way.
Depending on the type of services or products you are offering and who you are targeting, you may need to consider the seasonality of products and also when orders need to be placed, for example, if you are targeting Christmas gifts you will need to be engaging with decision makers as early as August or even before.
You should also post about the experiences of other businesses and, where possible, tag them in your posts. This type of content provides social proof that you are able to provide a good service that is of high value.
If you are looking to target businesses that are ethics conscious, you may wish to include details about your ethical farm practices and the ecology schemes you are involved with to highlight how you are aligned with their brand values.
You should also consider using video content. Video content allows you to show decision-makers how professional and personable you are. This helps them to begin the know-like-trust process, which is important for corporate sales.
Consistency is the key to farm marketing success on LinkedIn
Social media marketing in general relies on consistency and perseverance, so it is not a quick-fix strategy for farm marketing. This is also true of LinkedIn. You must also remember that LinkedIn can be a lurker platform. Lurking is where followers will consistently read or consume your content, but rarely comment or engage. This can make using LinkedIn feel unrewarding as it is hard to track lurkers, but it can lead to fantastic opportunities once these lurkers finally decide to make contact, as they are often well-prepared and ready to buy.
I would highly recommend sitting down and brainstorming some content ideas to create a social media plan and farm marketing strategy. Even if it is a very simple and rough outline of your goals and strategy, it will help you focus on making progress rather than simply going through the motions. This could include planning different content types and doing one of each per week. For example, each week you could do one video, one social proof post, one resource post and one “about the farm” style post.
The time demands of social media and wider farm marketing activities 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 consultation here. Check out our done-for-you packages here, or if you prefer, have a look at our coaching packages here.