Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: business

Why should you use Instagram for your farm or business?

Are you kidding me, Don? Another social network I have to pay attention to.

Yep, sorry. But actually this social network is pretty easy to use and is actually fun.

And definitely doesn’t have as much drama as Facebook.

There are lots of good reasons to join.

1. Instagram focuses on photos and videos.

Let’s face it. People love farm animals and landscapes. You have that in abundance so why not give the people what they want. Cows, cows and more cows. In fact, make sure you tag your cows – #cowsofinstagram

lesaclark-new-heifer-calf-instagram

Lesa Clark’s New Heifer

2. Instagram’s not controlled by an algorithm like other networks.

When you post something, it’s seen by those that follow you (if they are on the network). They can easily go back an review your old photos as well so you get a lot more power from past posts.

dairyfarmer4life-driving-tractor-instagram

Love seeing the road from a farmer’s POV

3. Instagram is mobile first.

Instagram was built as a mobile app and then made for the desktop. You don’t have to go back and use your computer to do anything if you don’t want to. Just download the app, follow your friends or new people, and just post pictures.

moefarms-elsie-borden-cow-instagram

Chuck Moellendick from Moes Farm hanging with Elsie the Borden Cow.

4. Instagram is where the younger people are.

You know that you don’t see a lot of millennials or Gen Z cruising around Facebook. Why is that? Because you are out there and they would rather not be posting where Grandma can give them a hard time about what they are posting. They are using Instagram to converse and share their lives.

ryangoodman-irrigation-system

Ryan Goodman using Instagram to engage and answer questions about farming.

5. Instagram has no ads…yet. (NOT TRUE ANYMORE – BUT THE ADS ARE SPARSE AND TRUE TO THE NETWORK)

At least for right now, which means you have just as much a chance at being followed and given some love and comments. Businesses and people are treated the same by the network. BTW, Facebook owns Instagram.

cabot-cheese-farm-landscape-instagram

Cabot Cheese isn’t trying to sell products but showcase where their products come from.

6. Instagram allows you to post directly to Facebook and other social networks.

Instagram allows you to easily post to several networks at once. Every time I post, I almost always post directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr but there are over 50 networks you can post directly to. That’s a lot and it can save you some time.

indymilkmaid-cow-caption

A great place to show personality and have fun.

So how do you join Instagram? It’s pretty simple and I’ve got a How-To in the next post.

Why did you join Instagram? Do you have another good reason to join?

How do you set up your Facebook Page for your family farm?

So why in the world do you need a Facebook page for your farm? You probably already have a website. Isn’t that good enough?

Well, a website is still very important. The most important thing in my book because it’s your home on the internet but a Facebook page for your farm is an easy way to get in front of people who might not even know your farm exists.

Millions of people are logging into Facebook all the time – just to see what is going on – and if your farm is there then they have a better chance to see it, maybe even pass along your great photos and videos of farm life (which they probably don’t know much about).

But if you’ve never set up a Facebook page before you might be worried that it’s a lot more complicated than setting up a profile. Actually, it’s not. If you’ve got your own profile page, then you’ll be very familiar with setting up a page.

So let’s begin.

1. Log into Facebook with your profile

Dairy MAX Facebook Page

Go to any Facebook Page in Search

I don’t recommend setting up a Facebook page without having a profile. You can do it, but I’m not a fan. I don’t think you’ll use it if you don’t have a profile, too. Plus you are probably going to need more than one administrator so you’ll need Facebook “friends” (wife, kids, husband, etc…) to control it.

Search for any Page on Facebook and then in the top right hand corner you’ll see, “Create A Page“.  Click it.

facebook-create-a-farm-page

Select either Local Business (regional) or Company.

2. Choose “Farming/Agriculture” from the drop down

facebook-business-category-farming

Select Farming/Agriculture from the dropdown

You need to make sure you do this, because it will help with Graph Search. Then put in the company name – Schindler Farms – for me.

3. Add Your About Information

facebook-business-about-page1

Fill in the description and add your website. Then select your easy to remember URL.

The About Page allows you to add great information about your farm. This description is crucial for their graph search and will help the page rank in search. Use keywords that will help your farm be found like “dairy farm producing milk from dairy cows”. Seems silly but these keywords are what people type into search to find you. Make sure you add your farm website. The Facebook web address is very important and it will be what you putting on all your flyers and business cards so choose wisely. Once it is set, it can’t be changed. If you don’t have the name you want, really review the different options.

After you set your name, they will ask you questions about your farm being a real organization, school or government? You can say “Yes” and then it will ask you about being authorized and official representation of this organization, school or government on Facebook? This is legally binding statement regarding the authenticity and representation of this Page. Click “Yes” on this as well.

4. Add a profile picture

facebook-business-profile-pic-selection

Add your profile pic – this doesn’t have to be your logo but it will show up very small in everyone else’s newsfeed

Images help people to see what the business is that they are visiting. Having good photos helps a ton but you don’t need to wait until you have only perfect photos. What people are looking for with farms is authenticity and scenery. Remember that their lives are probably well removed from the farming lifestyle so animals and landscapes are normal for you but not for them. Good photos get shared a lot and you’ll be wanting to add and change them out all the time.

Also this photo is going to be very, very small on many other people’s feeds.  It can get as small as 25 x 25 so if it’s your logo – be prepared that people might not even see it.  It might be better to use cows or faces.

5. Add your Farm Page to your Favorites

facebook-favorites-add

Add to your favorite’s so you don’t have to hunt for the page later

This way it’s easy to access via the Facebook navigation. You don’t want to have to be constantly scrolling down the page and looking under the Pages tab to find your farm page.

6. Don’t add a Payment Method

You don’t need to do this right now – maybe down the road – but you can “Skip” this for now.

7. This is your Farm Page

It looks a little scary with the Admin Panel showing right now but you don’t need to concern yourself here. The main thing is understanding what you are looking at.

facebook-business-page-insights

Facebook page with Admin Panel Open

  1. Notifications on top left – this is what you’ll be paying attention to once the page is running and you are getting shares, comments and likes.
  2. Messages is top right – these are from people reaching out to the farm via Facebook. Other people will not be able to see these messages – just you and the people on the message.
  3. Get More likes in the bottom left – just advertising. No worries there right now.
  4. Insights in the center – these are your analytics for how the page is performing. How many people are seeing what you are posting and the demographics of the people who “liked” your page.
  5. Invite Friends in the bottom right – this is to get you to invite the people you are already connected to on Facebook to “like” your page.

With all this open, it’s kinda hard to see what is going on, so let’s close this panel by click the “Hide” button on the top right.

8. Add a cover photo

Facebook Cover Photo

Add a large photo. You can also have text here.

Again, like I said before, photos are very important in Facebook. Over half of all posts are photos. So let’s change out the cover photo with a large horizontal photo of the farm – get some cows in there or something along those lines.

9. Edit Page – Update Page Info

schindler-farm-about-page

Add in as much information as you can as this will help you in search.

This will get all of your pertinent farm information on the page. Even though it’s a long page, you’ve already gotten a lot of information filled out.

10. Change the Settings

facebook-business-settings

You can change your settings and notifications.

If you want to unpublished the page until you are ready to display, you can do that here. Things that I would bring to your attention are the Profanity Filter (you should turn that on to at least medium) and you turn off other people’s posts but that would limit your reach if people can’t talk on your page.

11. Add one more than admin

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Add another admin besides yourself.

While it’s great that you are committing to doing this, you’ll want a back-up.  The only people you can add are people you are friends with and make sure you trust them – this is a highly visible communication vehicle.

12. Now you can start adding content!

I would keep the page unpublished until you have a couple of posts in and are really ready to add this page to your daily marketing.  In a future post, I’ll talk about the different things you’ll want to be posting on and then how to handle comments from fans and others.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

Internet Marketing 101: Figuring Out Your Business Goals

Back on Feburary 20th, I began a series on Internet Marketing 101:  How Do I Start Marketing on the Web?

vein-skincare-institute-webI’m using a friend’s business as an example.  It’s a vein treatment center located in St. Louis called Vein Skincare Institute.  She is answering the first of my four questions.  This is not how many questions we ask during an investigation of a company.  It’s just used for her as an example.

With her four answers, we’ll start working a strategy online that can help transform her business.  Instead of surviving, she’ll thrive and grow and, eventually, change the world.  Or at least, the world of vein treatment.

1. What are your business goals? This can be a lot of different answers but to me I really try and get them to tell me the obvious. It’s funny how many people talk about branding and awareness and all of that – which is important but more important is “I want to sell my product or service this many times.” You should know that number. It will drive everything that you do. Write it down in big letters.

Here’s her answer.

We are a full service vein treatment facility (phlebology) for problematic veins on the legs primarily; but we treat had, face and truncal veins as well.

We have a rather large tool box of treatment options, including injections, laser, intense pulsed light, and surgery.

While we have many other skin deep beautification services (laser hair removal, fotofacial rejuvenation, skin peels, permanent cosmetics, laser removal of tattoos, brown spots, birthmarks, etc), our main focus and that which drives our business is the treatment of problematic and unwanted veins.

In other words, if we grow our vein business, then the other services will grow thru cross-sales after confidence is gained after vein treatment, or patients see and hear about other services while in our building or webspace.

Our business works by attracting patients to our expertise, where they will receive a no charge consultation from a medical expert, followed by a summary meeting with a sales/marketing specialist, hopefully an appointment made, treatment to follow usually in multiple visits over several months, then after successfully addressing the initial concern, maintenance future regular visits…with multiple opportunities at various points to market to this population for cross-sales and referrals.

We mostly run with one full time physician and a very part-time physician, a nurse and an ultrasonographer.  The business was designed to be a 2.5 fte physician, and 2.5 nurse/laser tech facility, ie lots of room for growth.

Optimally I would like to see 3-5 new consults for veins a day, and “close” about 70% of them for treatment.  I would like to generate about 25 surgeries per month (some patients need injections only, and some need surgery and then injections).

So this is a long winded answer to your question:  basically we would like to average about 4 new consults a day.

This number would generate a cascade that with consult/sales/treatment and follow-up  including marketing, would give us very successful numbers!
I’m glad that she followed my advice about a specific number in mind.  So I immediately wanted to know what they averaged in the past.  Sometimes you’ll find a client that wants to jump from zero to max right away.  So I wanted to know what the reality is compared to the expectations.

She got back to me with this answer.  246 consults last year.

So let’s guess that there are 260 work days in a year and minus out vacation and holidays so that would probably take out 30-40 days.

On the low side 220 work days at 246 consults.  That’s a little more than 1 a day.

She wants me to quadruple that?  Wow, that’s ambitious.  I asked her how that breaks down and she replied with this.

We have our peak periods we call it “vein christmas” (that’s kinda creepy) that runs from Feb thru May so we tend to get the greatest # of consults around that time.

Here is the brk down since 1/2/08 to 2/26/09

jan 16 consults, Feb – 10, March – 36, April – 36, May – 27, June – 27, July – 12, August – 12, Sept – 15, Oct – 2, Nov – 13, Dec – 11, Jan – 12, Feb – 17.  Yes pls quadruple the number!

If we go on the basis of last year, we need to move quickly right now because “vein christmas” is just starting.

Next we’ll go over Question 2. What is your current marketing strategy and how is it doing? What are your tactics to complete that strategy. You should have a record of what you are spending and how you are spending it and what it is bringing in. ROI is very important for each individual piece but don’t kill something just because it’s not performing as an individual (you should know how it is integrated with all of your marketing efforts).
I love strategy and tactics – so this will be a fun one.

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