Invest in Your Farm’s Reputation with Social Media

    While these marketing stories are optional now, some, including Halverson, speculate telling your farm story will one day be essential. (Black Gold Farms, Peterson Farms)

    From attracting landlords to honoring employees to sharing a behind-the-scene view of a modern farm, social media can be a vital tool for your operation.

    Consider what passersby think when they see your headquarters or machinery on the highway. Do you want them to draw their own conclusions, or do you want to be the one telling the story?

    Be Proactive

    Fourth-generation farmer Leah Halverson can remember the exact moment she told her family they needed to get their operation, Black Gold Farms, on social media.

    “My dad said, ‘But then everybody’s going to know what we’re doing!’” she recalls. “This led to what we call a drive by; we decided if you can drive by and see what we’re doing on the farm, then we should be able to talk about it.”

    Have a Gameplan

    Through her business, Ten Acre Marketing, Halverson and her team help growers communicate their farms’ stories through social media. The first steps, she says, are to define your goals, best tools and a plan for action. Halverson suggests a marketing plan checklist:

    1. Ask yourself what you’re looking to achieve. Some examples include attracting employees or developing new buyer relationships.

    2. Set an investment plan. This includes time, money and resources.

    In 2012, Madeline Peterson, social media strategist at Peterson Farms in Loretto, Ky., and 2016 Top Producer of the Year winner, kickstarted her farm’s social presence with a similar checklist in mind.

    “We’re most interested in creating meaningful content for the community while weaving in the narrative of Peterson Farms’ legacy that we want to leave behind,” Peterson says. “Sometimes it’s thought-provoking content, other days it’s feel-good content, such as a sunset.”

    For years, Peterson has posted weekly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. She recently joined TikTok since video content is becoming more relevant.

    Power of a Brand

    While these marketing stories are optional now, some, including Halverson, speculate telling your farm story will one day be essential.

    “I don’t think you should be worried about getting asked about your operation’s practices, but I think you should be expecting that it’ll be part of your checklist each year in the future,” she says. “If that time comes, we have to make sure we have messaging and branding in place, and that we’re following through with it.”

    The bottom line, according to Halverson and Peterson: Don’t be bashful in learning new skills and promoting your operation — it just might pay off.

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