Marketing Homestead Products: Social Media and Community Forums

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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Photo by Raw Pixel

TheMarketing Homestead Products seriesoffers market gardeners and homesteaders tailored advice for selling their goods. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of joining up with a CSA, renting a farmer’s market stall, and the various forms of advertising available to your farm-based business.

Social media is the perfect place to market your product, connect with customers and share your business story. There is an immense opportunity for farmers to engage with their consumers through social media platforms. Social media marketing is all about starting a conversation and creating a narrative to share your business with your customers.

Thanks to social media, farmers can now share their daily work with a larger audience. Conversely, consumers now also have a way to connect with their local farmers and learn more about what crops they have to offer. Whether through a business page or community forum, social media marketing can be a huge asset for your business.

People crave transparency. As a small farm or homestead, customers want to see the people behind the product. Whether you are sharing a photo, organizing an event or conducting a poll, social media can be the perfect platform to engage with your audience and reach potential customers. Here are some guidelines on utilizing social media for farmers.

6 Ways to Use Social Media for Your Farm or Homestead

1. Share Your Story

Social media is a great place to share what makes your farm business unique. Whether it’s the products you offer or your growing practices, potential customers will appreciate learning more about the “who” behind the product. This is especially helpful when you are trying to reach an audience that cannot physically visit your farm or if you are not open to the public.

For example, if your farm operates in a rural area, but the majority of your customers are in the city, they will appreciate seeing what your day looks like as well as updates on how the crops are growing. The great thing about social media is that you can use it in whatever way works best for you. You do not need to be a people person to run a successful social media platform. As long as you are sharing genuine content that helps your customers engage with your brand, you’re on the right track!

2. Accessibility

Information is powerful. For local farmers, letting your customers know about availability before a market or event can make the difference in whether they are willing to buy from you. People are more likely to make an in-person purchase if they learn about your product online first.

In advertising, the so-called rule of seven suggests that a consumer must see your product an average of seven times before they remember it. Having a social media platform where you can share information such as product offerings, availability and cost allows your consumers to decide if they are interested.

As other industries increasingly rely on online platforms to update consumers and share the details of their business, so too should farmers take advantage of social media to better reach their customers.

3. Real-Time Updates

Social media and community forums are a great way to communicate time-sensitive information. For example, if your farm stand is going to close early due to rain, or you cannot make a CSA delivery due to a broken-down delivery truck, social media is a great place to share these updates in real-time. People will appreciate that you are proactive. You are also more likely to gain repeat customers if you are able to update your availability in advance so that customers know exactly what you have to offer.

Providing real-time updates is only one piece of running a well-managed social media account. If you are interested in learning more about social media for farmers, there’s additional in-depth information out there on the importance of posting consistently.

4. Share Knowledge

No market exists alone on an island. To improve your selling capabilities, you need to be aware of current trends in the market. When it comes to social media marketing for your farm or homestead, you want to be aware of the challenges faced by other local producers.

Social media and community forums are also a great place to connect with other farmers and your community at large. There are thousands of online groups dedicated to individuals in the agricultural community sharing advice on how best to market particular crops, or how to advertise items that people may be less likely to buy at the grocery store.

Engaging in an online conversation with other growers in your community not only fosters collaboration, but it also improves your own social media marketing strategy.

5. Build an Online Community

Social media is a great way for local farmers to connect with their current customers while also advertising to potential customers. With tools such as boosted posts, you can be sure to share pertinent information with your current audience while still promoting your business to new customers.

Additionally, social media is a great way to collect meaningful data. Utilizing the many functions of social media can improve your marketing strategy so you can tailor your messaging to the right customer.

6. Receive Helpful Feedback

Social media is an ongoing conversation between you and your customer. Not only can social media help you make a sale, but it’s also a platform for your consumer to provide feedback on your product.

For example, if a customer tries a product for the first time and loves it, they may comment on your page about how thankful they are to know about your farm business. Alternatively, if someone is displeased or disappointed, they can share this criticism with you so that you can improve upon it in the future.

Either way, being able to receive feedback on how your consumer feels about your product is essential to better marketing your business.

Social Media Success for Farmers

Farmers — especially small farms, homesteads and specialty markets — are having a renaissance due to social media. Sharing beautiful pictures of freshly picked vegetables, abundant bouquets of flowers or a field of happy chickens is a great way to not only introduce the consumer to your product but also educate them on what makes your farm unique.

Regardless of what you are selling, you can learn to use social media to increase sales and target a more precise demographic. By utilizing the techniques above, you can feel confident that your social media marketing is positively impacting your consumer base.

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living, sustainable consumption, eco-friendly practices and green energy. In the past, her work has also been featured on GRIT, Mother Earth Living, Blue And Green Tomorrow, Dwell and Houzz. To read more from Kayla, follow her productivity and lifestyle blog, Productivity Theory, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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