How to leverage Facebook groups as part of your farm marketing
Using Facebook groups to increase your farm brand awareness and reach new customers can be a hugely effective farm marketing strategy. However, this strategy only works if you understand how to leverage groups effectively.
Why are Facebook groups a useful farm marketing tool?
In recent years, Facebook has increased their efforts to reduce organic reach for businesses on the platform. This encourages businesses to spend more on advertising with Facebook, which generates them income. Facebook can also argue they are doing it for the benefit of their users, as it reduces business content in the user’s feed in exchange for content from other sources such as friends and groups.
At the same time, Facebook has invested considerable resources into developing Facebook groups and enhancing the group experience. This is because Facebook has recognised that people are inclined to find their tribe on social media and want to engage with others on topics they care about. Facebook groups facilitate this, and by bringing together strangers who have a common interest but may have varied opinions, the groups facilitate discussion and debate which increases the speed and amount of content being added to Facebook. All this benefits Facebook.
One of the more recent updates to groups has been the option to allow business pages to join and interact in groups as the business. This offers an opportunity to incorporate Facebook groups into your farm marketing. Not all groups allow this option, but many do, and it is a fantastic way of engaging with users as your business.
Groups provide an ideal way to reach new potential customers or collaborators within the tribe that suits your farm business. Groups can be seen as a captive audience of your ideal customers, and the key to using Facebook groups effectively for farm marketing is to find the right groups for your farm business.
Once you have found one or more groups that are likely to have a high density of your ideal client, you need to check if you can join them as a business page. If you can then get in there, but if not, you need to consider if you could join as your personal profile or not. If you also have an interest in the topic then it may be worth joining as an individual, but consider if this will look professional enough for your farm business.
If you are a craft-type business, joining as an individual may suit as you are the driver of the business and your business is likely less formal. However, if you are a larger farm business this may be inappropriate. Think about the type of image you are projecting for your farm brand and how this relates to your farm marketing before you jump in and become a member as your personal account.
Make sure, once you join a group, that you clearly understand the rules and check if there are limits on promotion. Some groups are happy for businesses to promote their services, but often this is limited to specific days of the week or a specific number of posts per month, etc. Some groups don’t allow businesses to make a promotional post but are happy for them to comment on other posts with sales information, or to post things which are not directly sales related, such as recipes for a food-based farm business. This doesn’t mean these types of post are not beneficial for your farm marketing, simply that they are not directly asking for sales.
If you are a farm business that provides a reoccurring service, offers training, runs a membership product or has VIP customers of any kind, you may find it useful to start your own group which you can use to bring customers together and improve customer communication. This farm marketing approach doesn’t work for all businesses, but when it does work it can be highly effective, and members of the group will often become brand advocates who can promote you elsewhere on the platform and beyond.
How to use groups for farm marketing without selling
The first thing is to remember is that you are going into this tribe rather than the tribe coming to you. As such, you need to be a member first and a business second. The worst mistake you can make when using Facebook groups for farm marketing is to simply sell, sell, sell.
Engage with the group, comment on posts and reply to questions. You need to highlight your expertise and show that you are a valuable member of the group before you can try to sell to the group. Look for opportunities to share knowledge or develop relationships.
Once you have started to embed yourself in the group, you can look to share farm marketing posts that are not sales focused, for example, share a recipe to the group. Or you could add a post explaining a common mistake people make and how to solve it. Start to position yourself as a group expert: give recommendations to other complementary businesses, for example, if you are a glamping business suggest activities near to you or if the person isn’t staying in your area, recommend another glamping site local to them who you trust.
From this, sales should come naturally, but once you have gained this level of respect and trust in the group you can start to look for opportunities to sell yourself. Maybe it is replying to a post requesting something you do, or maybe it is sharing a deal you have on or offering a specific discount for group members. But always keep sales content limited and focus your farm marketing on relationship building instead.
You can also use Facebook groups to find collaboration opportunities: maybe you are a meat producer in a BBQ group and you team up with an outdoor kitchen or charcoal company to run an offer. Collaborations are a great way to promote your business and help to expand the reach of your farm marketing.