So if you know that most of today’s U.S. population is disconnected from farming, then giving them an inside view is important. Notice, I didn’t say “educate” them on farming – it’s not what they want and definitely not how they want to hear it.
They want to be insiders on how farming works and they want to know farmers (farmers are still one of the most respected industries in the nation – check out the latest Gallup Poll) so they can ask questions directly.
When you look at it from their point of view, what do you think they would like to know?
How cows are milked? How hay is cut? What do dairy cows eat? Where do they sleep? How long after the milk leaves the farm does it take to get to my house? Are dairy cows treated well?
You can answer these types of questions easily. But instead of just answering, think of showing them and telling them a story around the answer.
If you’ve got your smartphone with you, then think of how you would answer questions on farm life using photos and videos.
Here’s a top ten list of things to post on your Facebook Farm page…
1. Post photos of farm life
Photos are half of all posts on Facebook and are the top shared posts. If you want your status update to be shared a lot, your best shot is with a photo. Table Rock Farm and Hahn-Way Holsteins does a great job of showcasing a photo with insider information.
2. Post videos of farm life
Videos are the next best thing to a photo and you can get more of the story of what you are doing. The only problem with video is that it takes more effort from the user to actually get the story. YouTube is the most shared website on Facebook so if you can put together a short video (2 min) then you’ve got a good shot at getting your message across. Dairygood posted several videos on sustainability and dairy farming.
3. Answer questions without them asking
If you ever want to know what people are searching for answers, simply use the Facebook search or a Google search and read the autocompletes. These are the top searches in your region.
4. Get fans to engage and participate
You can ask people to help name calves, give them insight into how does modern farm equipment works, or just let them know what happened today on the farm.
This post by Dairy Carrie does a great job at getting people involved with naming a calf and showing how calves look when they are born.
5. Give farm tours virtually
LeCows Dairy gives insight into silage, what it is and why they use it along with photos to engage people. This takes time but the engagement is high and people love it.
The Farmer’s Life also gets a question in this picture asking about what these tractors are used for. It’s a great way to answer a question and engage someone not familiar with farming.
6. Ask them what they want to know.
Sometimes all you have to do is ask and people will let you know what they want to know. Now you will always have people that will be distractors. The main thing here is to engage when people really want to know vs. people just trying to get you to fight. If that happens, you can check out this post on arguments and what to do.
7. Share the best photos, videos, status updates from other farm pages.
When Redhead Creamery started its kickstarter campaign, they needed help from everyone – including other farm pages to spread the word. Dairy Carrie stepped up to help and got the word out. I’m sure Redhead Creamery will return the favor. This should be the Golden Rule for all farmers on facebook. Help spread the word and it will come back to you.
8. Treat other pages like your page – post comments and share on their walls.
When Al Roker of the Today Show visited the Hatcher Family Dairy, DairyGood tagged them in the post to let them know that they were talking about them on Facebook. This also encourages the other pages to comment, like or share the post.
9. Be active at least once a day
It’s hard to argue when you are getting information directly from the source.
10. When you share on your page, make sure to share on your profile as well.
So should be a no-brainer, but many people fail to do it. You can easily switch to your page and then back to your profile via the desktop version of facebook. With the Facebook Page Application, you can do it on your phone as well.
Ray Prock of Ray-Lin Dairy is very good at pushing his blog posts through Twitter, his Facebook Page and his personal Facebook profile right after a post.
BONUS TIP – Use hashtags to reach new people
Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy uses the hashtag #dairy to reach people who may be using Facebook’s hashtag search to find out more about what people are talking about when they talk about dairy. Don’t use more than three hashtags per post.
So what are your best practices for posting on your family farm page? I would love to add them here.