You might thinking farmers known more about dirt and plows than they do about “clicks” and “tags” but you would be mistaken. In fact, farmers represent the faster growing (no pun intended) sector of the social media market. They have learned that by embracing social media they can rally support for their products and their institution.
Farming happens in rural environments, yes, but that does not mean the people who do it live in a vacuum. In fact, today’s farmers are surrounded by high-tech gadgets designed to make their jobs and their lives easier.
They use GPS systems to guide their tractors and rely on the latest weather satellites to tell them when it is best to plant or harvest. It’s not all up the Farmer’s Almanac the way it used to be.
Social media marketing is not only good for the business up the block, it’s good for the farmer who is growing the soybeans that will be sold on the open market to make the components that will later be used to create the keyboard that will be used by your neighbor to post their next status update on Facebook.
Social media is also a great way to get people to come to their local Farmer’s Market to get fresh rhubarb (which is in season right now!)
“It’s a lot easier for people to just pop off an e-mail real quick or write on the Facebook page,” McKay said. “It’s crazy how quickly things have evolved.”
Last season, the Marker-Miller strawberry crop was ripe a full three weeks early, and McKay said she picked 20 quarts of strawberries in one morning.
“I put it out on Facebook that we had 20 quarts of fresh strawberries available, and almost immediately they were gone. What would I have done before Facebook? Getting the word out quickly has definitely helped our perishable products to move quickly.”
Jay Yankey, co-owner of Yankey Farms in Prince William County, has maintained a website for his operation for nearly four years and began using Facebook two years ago.
Yankey said he and his wife, Sonja, update the homepage of Yankey Farms’ website during the growing season with announcements and information on items currently for sale and special events held at one of their farm stands or pumpkin patch.
“The newest information is always up front, it’s easy to follow and people can receive updates quickly,” Yankey said. “Facebook gives us the ability to let people know what’s going on with the farm. People like to have that personal connection; they just want to know what’s going on.”
Yankey said he doesn’t know how much he will spend on print advertising this year, “because social media marketing doesn’t cost anything and is so much more effective.
“The marketing we do through Facebook gets more people to come out to the farm stand than if we spent $1,000 on an ad in the local paper.”
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