With Facebook now the virtual auction market for pedigree bulls and Instagram stories educating the public on the highs and lows of lambing season, our farming industry has taken the countryside to social media for a powerful connection between customers, farm advocates and the community.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or all of the platforms, social media is a great tool to help share your farming story. Our family farm opts to use Facebook as a platform to share some of the main activities that happen on-farm – from the first calf being born in the new calving season to a post advertising pedigree bulls for sale.
One of the main benefits you can gain from setting up a social media page for your farm business is the potential to sell, purchase stock and of course, share your farming story. My partner originally set up what was ‘Deveronside Suffolk’s’ Facebook page to advertise and promote their pedigree Suffolk flock to potential buyers from across the globe, sharing news from sales and events to advertising stock for sale. Since then the page has evolved and with a change in farming policy, the platform has been renamed to ‘Kinnermit Farm’, where we share the whole family farming story – from the pedigree Shorthorn cattle to our pack of very disobedient farm dogs! The posts vary from a picture of the first calf born in the new calving season to advertising surplus silage for sale and from a video of a pet lamb that thinks it’s a dog to pictures of the family putting the ‘fun’ into farming.
People want to see and hear your stories so even if you think you have nothing to share, there are people out their fascinated and eagerly waiting to engage. An example of this is on our @KinnermitFarm page was when we posted a 10-second video of our favourite pet lamb ‘Slim Jim’, only for it to go viral – getting over 5.5 million views, 24,000 shares and 15,000 likes!
Selling and purchasing tool
One of the main benefits you can gain from setting up a social media page for your farm business, it the potential to sell or purchase. From advertising surplus silage bales to purchasing straws of semen for the pedigree Shorthorns, our Facebook platform is somewhere where we have done various farm deals and a great way of free advertising.
Connections and relationships
Social media is global, and you can build relationships and connections with like-minded people from across the globe and with those a little closer to home. It’s important to recognise and thank neighbours, contractors and other businesses from within the sector that perhaps help you out throughout the year and what better way to do this than a quick shout out or thank you post.
Fun and rewarding
Our main aim is to keep our page fun, consistent and rewarding! We enjoy planning the next video, trying to get the calves to stand in a certain way for that ‘star’ picture or capturing the funny moment the pet lamb participates in a sprint race. If we can make someone smile, provide a member of the public with new knowledge or attract a farmer to purchase a bull from our herd then to us, our presence on Facebook is worth it.
Top Tips for keeping your posts fun, engaging but informative
- Consider the 20/80 rule – 20% of your content should be informative with the remaining 80% engaging and fun.
- ALWAYS upload an image or video with a post. Keep videos to a maximum of 1 minute 20 seconds if you can.
- Film different seasons on the farm. Take 10-15 second clips (recorded landscape) during lambing, calving or harvest and then at the end of the season do a short video summarising all the activity. Farmers love to see what other farmers have been up to (even though they will never admit it) and it gives the general public a great insight into the hard work and dedication farmers carry out in their jobs
- Tag other businesses and organisations. If you are talking about a certain breed, auction mart or agricultural event makes sure you tag them in your post. This not only makes them aware of your post but gives you the opportunity for more exposure as they are likely to share on their channel.
- Quality, not quantity – don’t post every day if you don’t have strong enough content to post. Keep it natural but regular (at least one post a week if you can).
- Have fun! Don’t let it become a chore. The more fun and creative you are, the more fun, engaging and informative your posts will be.