By Marcia Shannon
Women livestock farmers can help build their business through Facebook in a few minutes each day, says Amber Henry of Henry Meat Co. of De Soto. She also serves on the Jefferson County University of Missouri Extension Council.
Henry showed women at MU Extension's recent Pearls of Production workshop how to build a following of loyal customers.
Facebook is "a vitally important marketplace," she says. And it does not take much time daily.
Henry recommends that women livestock producers also use social media to promote farm life in general. "Farmers need to promote themselves, as well as each other," she says.
Post photos of everyday life on the farm to connect consumers with producers. That's important to consumers who want to know the source of their food, Henry says. Brand your farm by telling what makes you different. Know your niche and know your competition.
Henry recommends no more than three to four posts a week. "Don't overdo it," she says. Viewers tune out posts when they become too frequent.
She suggests a few short, well-designed and engaging posts each week. "People should be interested in what you're posting, not immune to it," she says.
Short videos draw traffic to your Facebook page or website. Another way to engage viewers is to ask a question such as, "What is your favorite way to prepare ham for the holidays?"
Link your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts together. Be a good "friend" on Facebook, she says. "Like" other farmers' posts and share them. They will do the same. Leave negativity, controversy and opinions off your page.
Henry says she also uses Facebook ads or "boosts" to promote her business to targeted audiences. "Creating an ad can be extremely useful and inexpensive," she says. Start small with $5 to $10 for a promotion to gauge its effectiveness. Facebook provides analytics to help users decide if the "boost" works.