Oxford Farming Conference: Tips for using social media for your farm business

If your farm business isn’t using social media, maybe it’s time that changed. Michelle Carvill and David Taylor, authors of The Business of Being Social, delivered the Frank Parkinson Lecture at the Oxford Farming Conference.

They explained to delegates how Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the like could help their farm business and gave tips on how to begin.

  1. Get started. Regardless of age, your customers and fans are all using social networks, so a business website alone is not necessarily enough.
  2. Don’t try them all at once. From Facebook to Foursquare, there’s a great range but try each one first to see if it fits your business needs.
  3. Plan before jumping in. Pick your platform, draw up some goals and make sure you can manage. A poorly managed account can be as bad as no account.
  4. Talk, don’t shout. Rather than just posting pictures and messages about your products, talk about related issues and post interesting articles.
  5. Join a conversation. Social media is a conversation, so talk to your customers about what they are looking for, listen to feedback and get in touch with similar businesses.
  6. Don’t share everything. For personal accounts pictures of your lunchtime sandwich might be appropriate but not always for your business. Research what your customers are interested in.
  7. Act quickly. If customers contact you on social media for inquiries or support, they expect a quick response. Replying to a tweet should be a matter of minutes, not hours or days.
  8. Secure press coverage. Nearly every journalist and publication is on Twitter. If you want your business to hit the papers, go and speak to them on there.
  9. Keep up to date with the industry. Use Twitter to follow the leading magazines, websites and influential people to create your own personalized news feed.
  10. Listen to your customers. Monitor social media to see what people are saying about your products and brand. Use the free tool Google Alerts to get an email each time you are mentioned online.

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