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Trying to figure out how to use social media for your farm business can feel overwhelming, to say the least.
Especially for people who tend to be a natural introverts. The last thing you want to do is feel like you have to spend your “energy coins” posting on the internet.
You might be going strong for several weeks then you start to think things like this.
- Maybe you should just give up now and forget about it.
- You are competing with people who have thousands of followers. How in the world can you gain traction with all of those people who have already grown their following?
Every person feels that way at some point and to be honest. It doesn’t go away. There will always be someone better than you and someone else you “seems” like they have all their junk together. But if you ask them they will likely tell you they have those same thoughts running through their head.
Let me remind you that when you catch yourself starting to feel that way it is time to put blinders on and not sink into the feeling of comparison.
I have been there myself more times than I would like to count. But when I start to look side to side instead of forward its time to stop consuming content and start producing more.
When you stay focused on your own content and seeing what is working for your ideal customer and follower you will grow much faster and gain the RIGHT followers.
The Benefits of Growing A Social Media Platform
You might be like me and to be quite honest. Not be a huge fan of social media or you may not want to be on it at all.
But the cold hard truth is no matter how much we complain or drag our feet about it. That is where people spend their time.
And if you want to grow your backyard farm business and make sales. People have to know you exist. You have to get eyeballs on your farm business somehow. Yes, you can do it in other ways BUT it is the fastest and least expensive way to grow your farm business.
Here are some hard facts about social.
- As social media has become more popular an estimated 81 percent of Americans have a social media account. (nytimes.com)
- But the data shows that 84% of millennials still use Facebook. (blog.hootsuite.com)
- Nearly 90 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 used at least one form of social media. (investopedia.com)
I don’t know about you but even though I would like to delete all of the platforms off of my phone. Social Media is a huge opportunity I can’t ignore if I want a profitable backyard farm business.
Social media is a key piece to my rabbitry earning multiple four figures a year every summer. It is how I communicate with my customers and it also allows me to not have my personal phone number out there for all to see.
So the next time you start to think that social is a bigger pain than it’s worth remind yourself of all the good things it can do for you.
Kick In The Pants Pep Talk Before I Tell You How To Use Social Media For Your Farm Business
So many people love the IDEA of being a blogger or business owner but they don’t want to do the years of work. The saying it took 4-5 years to be an overnight success is not a joke. It takes small steps and lots of failures to reach big heights.
When you are less than two years old don’t expect ANYTHING.
It will save you a lot of heartache and help you come from a place of service rather than desperation. When you are sharing about your farm products from a place of excitement and not an “I HAVE TO sell these things” headspace the whole process becomes easier and you become magnetic to the people who follow you.
When starting your online journey you do not have permission to consider giving up till you have put a solid 12 months into it. 12 months of solid, consistent, action.
If you are seeing a bit of growth even a little bit. You don’t have permission to quit. The number of people who “go viral” and grow quickly is so small. Most people have to claw their way to the business they want no matter the niche.
Look at it like this. It is great to be getting comments or likes on something you post. But getting any kind of income is the icing on the cake for a while ok?
I know that might sound defeating but I want you to know the truth about it. If you go into starting your backyard farm business with the right expectations you won’t give up as quickly.
I want you to succeed and the only way you can do that is by knowing what you are getting into.
It’s a process and does not happen overnight. Ok?
You Need A Foundation Or Homebase for your farm business Even If You Are on Social Media
If you want a successful SUSTAINABLE backyard farm business then you need a place to send your people. OFF of social media. I know I know this sounds counterintuitive but hear me out.
You need a place that is not under the control of someone else to have a sustainable business that does not rely on someone else’s platform.
I know this is not what most people want to hear because social media is the sexy part of business. Glitches happen, accounts get hacked, and accounts can be shut down for “violating terms and conditions” when you have no idea what you did wrong.
But the truth is as farm business owners you are already dancing on sensitive territory if you sell livestock. You are not supposed to “sell” animals on Facebook or Instagram. By being on social media you are promoting your farm business as a whole not “directly selling” anything.
Creating a website or email list will create authority, trust, and a safety net for your farm business.
You need somewhere YOU OWN to send your audience. Think of My Space and Friendster. They came in the heat of popularity and then faded away…
We are almost to the social part so hang with me.
When Should YOu Start A Website
If you are one year old in business and you are confident that you are going to stay with it for the long hull. It is ok to use social media to get an idea of what your customers want for the first year.
But after that, you need to seriously consider starting a website.
You don’t have to start a paid website if you are not quite there yet though. Start with a free wordpress.com website so it will make your life easier when you want to upgrade to a self-hosted website.
How To Use Social Media… Ok, let’s do this.
Let’s start with some key things you need to know about social media in general and then get into the strategies.
Social media is a beast all on its own. And on the whole, each platform wants you to be engaging on the platform and to engage with others.
The more active I am on each platform the better results I see. I block out 15 minutes every day and use that time to engage on the platform I am focusing on growing.
Start with replying to all of your DMs. Then move on to your latest social comments on YOUR POSTS.
With whatever time you have left, for Instagram go to the accounts that follow you and engage on their feed. OR follow hashtags and engage on the most recent content in those feeds.
New On Facebook! – When you comment as your Facebook page on someone else’s post there is a follow button next to your name in the comment. This is a great way to engage and possibly gain followers.
Start With One Social Platform
If you get nothing else. Get this.
Start with one social media platform. It can be tempting to want to spread yourself across all platforms but you will start to get weary and not keep at it.
It is sssoooo hard to build momentum when you spread yourself to thin. Believe me, I’ve tried doing it all and it’s hard. Do yourself a favor and start with one platform and do your best to grow it. If you have a hard time leaving one platform sit if you find out that it isn’t right for you. DON’T start an account on all the platforms like I see it often suggested.
Social Media Platforms Want People To Stay
Social media platforms don’t want you to send people off the platform to go check out your website or get on your email list.
On Facebook, posts with links out to another site will not get seen as much as a post without one. So you might be thinking how do you get people to come to your site?
- Limited sharing of links. (I typically link out to my website once a week unless it’s a launch period.)
- Have an easy-to-spell name for your business (if you are using your name and it s hard to spell then consider using your first name only) and recognizable branding.
The posts that are more “promotional” or encouraging people to take an action with your business are going to get less reaction and in turn less reach. When you are marketing your farm business you need to find unique ways to get people to engage with your promotional posts. The people who really want your animals or the product you are offering will find your links or look up your website.
I will get to this in more detail in a sec but because the special platforms want to keep your followers on their platform and not send them to you. You need to talk about your business all.the.time. without actually selling your business.
Every post in one way or another needs to tie back to what you do or drop a small seed to remind people of what you do or sell in your farm business.
Talk About Your Business, Don’t Sell Your Business On Social Media
We have all ducked down a different aisle to avoid those tables in the grocery store with the cable TV or the “as seen on TV” salesmen right?
Why is that? They immediately jump into a sales pitch and don’t let you come to a conclusion on your own. They don’t let you get to know them first. Some of that is because we already know why they are there so they have to just get at it or lose us for good.
The point is you don’t want people to do that with you online.
You need to talk ABOUT your farm business but don’t outright sell. Meaning don’t let every post be something like “I sell this. My product is the best, you should buy them”. That only happens at specific launch times.
You take the slow easy approach to let people know you. Get them excited that your animals that are going to be born. Let them watch as they grow. Then even as you get them ready to go to their new owners.
It’s a long slow process but it works. And it leaves people feeling good about you. Even if they are not ready to buy from you they might know someone who will.
Now keep in mind that these three platforms work very differently. But all of them can do great things for your site and brand awareness. You just have to know what to expect out of each.
Set An Intention For The Social Platform you choose
Know why you are using the platform (whether you decide to go with Facebook or Instagram) and work towards that goal. Layout a path that will get you to where you want to go.
It is ssssssssoooo easy to get sidetracked when you are on those platforms because that is what they do. They want you to sink all of your time into them.
Without a plan, you have no clear goal for what you’re trying to achieve. That means there’s no way to measure your results.
Take the time to create a social media plan right up front. This will help you stay focused and all your social efforts and make sure they support your specific farm business goals.
Just as much as trying to build too many platforms will burn you out. So will trying to build a social media platform without a clear goal and plan of action.
Followers don’t pay the bills.
Here are some ideas to help you set some goals.
- Sell your farm product.
- Build awareness of your business.
- Make money through affiliate income. – Lear more about affiliates here.
- Make money by getting sponsors for your content.
- Occasionally drive traffic to your site. <– this percentage will be so small this should just be a bonus. Not the focus.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple sticky note with the platform + the reason you are on it is all you need.
I think people get caught up in the tools too much because they think it will make them more successful but the tools don’t matter. Its what you do with those tools that makes all the difference.
How To Choose A Social Media Platform
There are a few things you need to know to help you deiced which platform is right for your business.
- Know what your goals are for making money.
- Where your ideal customer, follower, or reader spends most of their time.
- The mindset of the user when they go onto that platform.
Let me explain what I mean.
How People Use The Platform
I put this one first because this can be the difference between your account growing or not. But even more than that it will affect if you will reach your business goals on the platform.
People go onto Facebook to scroll and be entertained. They really don’t engage much at all these days its a lot more mindless scrolling. Creating content that asks too much of your followers will not get the results you are looking for. For the most part, facebook is meant to inform people about what is going on in your business. Don’t feel bad about
Facebook is still great for selling farm animals and livestock. If there is something they want to buy they will take the action. But you have to warm them up and get them excited for what is to come. You need to “launch” your livestock just like you would any other product.
Instagram is better for building a brand and selling household goods or services. People still engage on the platform but with the push for reels, IG is slowly tipping towards less and less engagement as well.
People go to Pinterest to learn and get ideas for what they are wanting to do. The platform is great for driving traffic to your business website. It’s not like it used to be but it is still second to none in the social category for giving you some traffic.
Know the type of Content to create for the platform
You also need to think about the kind of posts and social media content you want to create.
If you want to go the Instagram route you need to take decent images and even edit them to look clean and have good color. You also need to be open to creating reels for the platform in you want to see any significant growth. You don’t have to do silly ones but being somewhat creative with your videos will help you get more views.
For Facebook, you can be far more relaxed and even get away with not as good of pictures. Video is still a good idea for page growth but not nearly as required like it is on Instagram.
For Pinterest, you need to create a mix of content. Static pins, video pins, and Idea pins. All of these don’t have to have your face on them which makes it a GREAT platform for people who don’t want to be “on” all the time and find social media draining. Pinterest puts you in the position of a teacher instead of putting the focus on your personal life.
Make Sure You Enjoy The Platform
All in all when it comes down to it. You need to like the platform and be comfortable there. Don’t try to build a social media account you hate being on in the first place. Your followers will know it and you will have a hard time sticking to it long-term.
Plus you don’t want to build a business on the back of something you hate doing. That’s not why we build businesses right? We want to love what we do.
Create Your Own Social Strategy
Read that header again. YOUR OWN social strategy. There are hundreds of people selling their content bundles and ideas for dirt cheap and it can be tempting to copy and paste those templates and call it a day.
The problem is your audience is different than theirs. Sure you can use the general strategy and it might work a little bit. But you have to refine what you post on your social platforms and make it better for your audience if you want the best results.
How do you do that? Start with your baseline content even if it means using those templates to get started. Post for two to three months. Look at all the content that you published. What are the trends you see? Which posts got a lot of reach? Which ones got good engagement? Which ones totally flopped? Make notes and change ONE thing. Post that way for a while and repeat the process.
There are three main types of content you need to be posting.
Connection content, educational content, and sales content.
Connection content is how people get to know you and your business. But more than that they learn to TRUST YOU. Things like behind-the-scenes and simple fun content.
Educational content proves you know your stuff but you can also show people how to use your product or WHY they would want to use it. This gets them interested in what you sell and thinking “I want to have that” and eventually want to buy from you.
Sales content is just like it sounds but you also need to keep this content to only about 20% of your content. The reason being is all of your other content is technically sales content as well because you are getting people to want what you are offering. The sales content can still be helpful but with a more direct call to action.
This is a big one. When I think about the accounts or blog I like most. They are all VERY personal and show up as themselves. The accounts that I have followed that are more educational I tend to forget about after a few months. Because there is no connection.
One of the worst mistakes to make on social media is coming off as the faceless corporation with zero personality. In the modern age of transparency, people want to get to know your company on a more personal level. (sproutsocial.com)
Don’t be afraid to show your face and talk to your followers. Write your content as if you are talking to a friend. Don’t sound like a robot, write like you speak.
Take Action On What You Learned
Here is what you should be walking away with. Which platform you are going to be on for your farm business and why. Know your monetization goals. And a content strategy to start implementing.
Think about 3-5 topics, categories, or “things” you can talk about that have something to do with your farm business.
Use those topics and rotate through them. Here is an example of the categories I rotate through.
- Behind the scenes.
- Farm animal care.
- Rabbitry management.
- Farm business.
- About me.
Get the idea? When you have categories thought out it will help you know what to post. You won’t get stuck staring at the blank screen.
Use those content categories and also rotate through the content types. Reels, text and photo, carousel post, ext…
…and PSA. You don’t have to pose in real time. Use a tool like Plann (the one I use) to write your posts ahead of time so you can space them out over a period of time. I have also found that using a scheduler helps me feel less “on” for social media and takes far less of my social energy.
Social media is your story to share with the world. If you are able to share your life and stories without hesitation or trying to attach a filter, you will come through far more authentically. This is your platform. Make it uniquely you.
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