How to use Facebook to get more farm sales {part 1}

Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Snapchat…  new social media sites are popping up all the time!

How do you choose where to spend your time? Is it even worth it? Have you ever sat down to work and then an hour later you realized you were sucked into Facebook and you haven’t gotten one thing done?

farming, csa, raw milk, sustainable, start a farm, grassfed, pasture rotation, intense rotational grazing, how to farm, hobby farmer, homesteading, joel salatin, polyface, women who farm, charlotte smith

Been there!

If I were making thousands of dollars on Facebook then the time suck would be worth it. But for most of us, it’s definitely not.

Why is that?

Facebook Misconceptions

Last week in our private FB group, The Profitable Farm, there was a discussion about farmers’ Facebook pages and I wanted to clear up some misconceptions about Facebook.

Facebook is a great place to network, chat, learn, cry, laugh.

If you want to be successful on Facebook then you have to be posting things that fit that description. You need to be instigating and participating in conversations.

Instead, what I see is farmers posting about what they have for sale, like pictures of chicken breasts or daily posts announcing which farmers markets they’ll be at that day.

Facebook is Not a Place to Sell

Facebook is not the place to sell your product. As a matter of fact, Facebook penalizes you for trying to sell or advertise your products on your pages.

Let me give a short history of Facebook.

About 10-12 years ago, before the millions of users there are today, if you posted something on Facebook, everybody who was “friends” with you or “liked” your business page would see that post because the feed just went in chronological order.

Things started changing in 2009 when Facebook realized people had built multi-million dollar businesses selling only through Facebook and its users were unhappy because they were seeing tons of ads, and that’s not the reason their users wanted to be on Facebook.

Remember – Facebook is for conversations. Cry. Laugh. Reminisce. Learn. Be inspired.

People jump on Facebook to chat with friends. They wanted to post pictures of their new puppy. They wanted to see pictures of their friend’s new baby. They want to post their vacation photos. They wanted to gossip.

They did not want to be bombarded with ads (and neither do you!), which is what was happening, so in order for Facebook to keep their users happy they started changing their algorithms to limit sales posts.

Every year since they have gotten stricter and stricter with monitoring your posts and changing those algorithms, so here we are nine years later after they started regulating your news feed, and yet some people still mistakenly believe that you can build your business on Facebook, and it’s a place to market your business and sell your products.

Your Customer Reach is Extremely Limited

When you post on Facebook maybe 3-6% of the people who like your Facebook business page will actually see your post. That means if you have 1000 people who like your page, 30-60 of them will see your post. These are likely people who will never be customers, either.

It’s not that people see all of your posts on Facebook and just aren’t buying from you; rather, Facebook does not show your posts to the people who like your page.

Focusing your efforts on Facebook is giving away control of your business.

You don’t have any way to get in contact with FB “followers” since you don’t have their email.

If you wanted to contact or email everyone who “likes” your business and share a sale or an event coming up on the farm, you can’t do that. On Facebook, you don’t have your customers’ emails. You are limited to creating a post and seeing whom Facebook decides to show it too, which again, is a very small (less than 10%) of the people who like your page.

If instead, you used your email marketing service to automatically email your 1000 customers almost 100% of them would have seen the email and probably half (500) would have opened it vs. the 30-60 who would see the post on FB.

See how this is a problem?  You have no way to consistently reach and connect with your customers on Facebook.

Don’t be mad at Facebook.

Facebook is running their business responsibly and pleasing their customers. It’s not there for you to sell your farm products. That’s not what it’s intended for, and Facebook will not have happy customers if they let that happen.

They are protecting their customers just like you and I need to protect our email list and only email them with important and pertinent info.

Facebook is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and protecting its customers from getting too much sales information and too many ads.

You also have to be very careful about the words you use in your posts because their algorithms are set to look for certain words, and if your ad has anything to do with selling your product, not only will it not be shown to most of the people who liked your Facebook page, you will be penalized for trying to sell something on there.

If you say something like, “Hey, we’re butchering chickens this week, so stop on by and pick up your fresh chicken,” they know you’re trying to sell something, and it won’t be shown to people, so you have to play by Facebook’s rules.

It Is Against FB rules to use Your Personal Page for Selling

Another suggestion from a farmer was to post that on your personal page.  IF you use your personal page for selling Facebook will track you down and shut your page down.

They won’t catch you right away, but eventually, you’ll have your personal page shut down when they figure out you’re selling things on there. We get those emails a lot from people who will email and say, “Help, I’ve sold all my product on Facebook till now, my Facebook account is frozen,” because Facebook finally caught up with them that they’re selling their products on their personal page, and it was shut down or the salesy posts deleted.

Facebook Is NOT a Marketing Plan.

Facebook is not a marketing plan. It could be a small part of a good marketing plan in the future, but that’s now where you want to focus. Instagram, Pinterest, they would all be the same way.

Therefore, your first focus for the next couple years even – is getting a super successful relationship based email marketing plan in place. Then follow that up with posts on Facebook referencing that material and you’ll notice engagement building on Facebook.

It’s a waste of time (and will harm your “reach” to customers) to post on FB without having your email marketing system working consistently, which is why we don’t recommend to just start with Facebook marketing attempts.

If Facebook is Not The Marketing Plan – what is?

When you have an email marketing plan in place you have a way to connect with everyone and it’s under YOUR control (on FB they control it).  You “own” your email list – you can take it anywhere and contact them anytime.

Everyone gets your emails, you can see who opens them so you get instant feedback on if your topic is helping them, and you are able to consistently build relationship with them which is what makes them become a loyal customer (not the random FB posts they may see.)

Make sense?  It’s the way to go.

We’ve created some free trainings for you here which includes a 6 day course on email marketing and a 14-video tech library getting you all set to go.

Click here to sign up for the free training.

And, on the subject of Facebook, if you’re not inside the private FB group “The Profitable Farm” you’ll want to take care of that now.

Facebook Marketing Part 2

This was a huge post, so I split it up into 2 parts. In the next post, you’ll get some tips for how to use Facebook the right way that will actually get you more farm sales, including examples of posts that I use to give you some inspiration.

Click here to read part 2!

farming, csa, raw milk, sustainable, start a farm, grassfed, pasture rotation, intense rotational grazing, how to farm, hobby farmer, homesteading, joel salatin, polyface, women who farm, charlotte smith

xo Charlotte

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Hi, I'm Charlotte Smith!

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