If you're one of my clients or you've bumped into me at a sale, there's a good chance we've talked about marketing your animals on social media. It's on the list of things I'm weirdly passionate about. With that being said, let me step up on my soapbox...
If you're in the purebred industry and you're not utilizing social media, you're missing out.
Big time. I've said it before and I'll say it again, social media is the cheapest form of advertising available. Use it!
When I recommend using social media, I'm often met with excuses...
"I don't have time to manage a social media page."
It literally takes a matter of seconds and more than likely you're going to look at your phone at some point during the day anyways. If you truly don't have time, it can be extremely affordable and worth the investment to hire someone to manage your page.
"I don't always have content to post." It doesn't always have to be photos of your animals. It doesn't even always have to be directly about your operation. It just needs to relate to your operation. Plus, you can always save content to use later. Feeding cows? Snap a photo and post it sometime. Pretty sunrise? Snap a photo and share it on your page. Driving around checking cows? Snap a photo to post. Thankful for rain? Post it. Loading up to drive to a sale? You guessed it, snap a photo and share it! You have more content than you realize.
"It's not going to make a difference." or "It's not worth my time."
If you do it right, having a social media presence makes a huge difference. Using social media correctly not only grows your brand and builds relationships, but it can also be a great tool in selling animals. A single post can sell an animal private treaty or bring buyers (and bids) to an upcoming sale.
So how do you use social media correctly?
Here are a few DOs and DON'Ts:
DO post frequently. If you can post at least 2-3 times per week you're going to stay much more relevant than the guys who post once a month. Facebook wants people using their app, so they rewards active pages by showing their posts in more news feeds. If you post once a month, only a couple of your followers are going to see your post. But, if you post a few times a week, the majority your followers are going to see your posts.
DO invite people to like your page. You can do this a couple ways. One, invite your friends to like your page. Two, each time you make a post, click on the posts' reactions. You'll see a list of people who either already like your page or have an "Invite" button next to their name. If they liked your post and don't already follow your page, click "Invite."
DO join relevant Facebook groups. Facebook groups can be a great way to grow your page. There are groups dedicated to specific breeds of cattle, commercial cattlemen, cattle equipment, ranch horses, etc.. Find groups that fit your situation and join them. Make sure you observe the groups rules, as some restrict sale posts. Then share your posts from your page to the group. Comment on others' posts in a positive way. Grow your community and make connections outside your page following. You'll end up gaining followers and real life connections.
DO share posts to your personal page. This is easy and let's your close friends keep up with your business.
DO use targeted ads. Targeted ads are amazing and worth discussing at length. More on this in a later post.
DO include a quality graphic with your post. This doesn't mean you need to go to photography school and purchase the most expensive camera in the world. This just means, don't post blurry pixelated photos you took with your cellphone's camera zoomed in as far as it'll go while bouncing across the pasture in the truck. Stop the truck. Don't zoom in. Just get reasonably close to your subject and take the photo. This also means, don't post a picture of an animal in poor condition. Represent your animals and yourself well.
DO link to your website. This is one of those Facebook algorithm things,
posts with links get more traffic. Plus, you should be promoting your website anyways!
DO cautiously share relevant information from other pages. For example, if your breed association posts some cool information about your breed, share it. If you're participating in an upcoming sale share posts about the sale. If someone purchases an animal from you and posts about it, share the post.
DO tag other pages. Much like sharing from other pages, tagging other pages can be a great thing. If someone purchases animals from you, make a post thanking them for doing business with you and tag their ranch page. To tag a page you'll need to type their username, this can be found on their page under the page title. Look for "@usernamehere." If it's a personal page just type "@theirnamehere."
DO check your grammar. I'm amazed by the things people post on Facebook... Check your grammar. Check your spelling. Do your best to look professional. Things happen so if you do manage to post something ad catch an error later, just click the edit button and fix it.
DO make educational posts that well represent agriculture. Don't be afraid to reach out to the non-agricultural world by explaining what you're doing with your animals and why. Be positive. Be informative. And be polite.
DO post animals for sale. Your page can be a great way to sell animals private treaty or promote animals going to a sale. Post a quality photo that well represents the animal (this can be a great time to hire a livestock photographer). Then include relevant information like date of birth, tag number, registration number, bloodlines worth mentioning, EPDs and performance. It's a great idea to create albums with available animals for sale and then share those individual posts over time.
DON'T hit boost post. This is a waste of your money. Hitting boost post without a targeted audience blasts your post to random news feeds. For those marketing cattle, your audience is pretty small. Random people aren't going to want to purchase a good calving ease bull. So target your audience and get real results. Again, more on this in a later post.
DON'T engage in arguments. Discuss, inform, educate, debate, but don't argue. It's not professional. It's not good for business. It's usually not going to change anyone's opinion. Just don't engage. But if you do, be polite and focus on having a beneficial conversation for both sides rather than proving a point.
DON'T share random posts from other pages. Your public ranch page is not the place to post that funny video of the guy punching a kangaroo or the toddler doing a makeup tutorial. It's not the place for memes either. Keep it professional and related to your operation.
DON'T get too personal. Always keep in mind, this is a public platform visible to anyone who has access to the internet. So don't post too much personal information. Be especially careful about sharing information about your children. Absolutely never share details on your children or locations.
DON'T post terrible photos of your animals. I've already mentioned the importance of good photos, but seriously, don't post a photo that doesn't well represent your animal. No photo is better than a bad photo.
DON'T use slang or profanity. I shouldn't need to include this, but some people just don't realize how unprofessional this looks. It's not worth it. Have some class and keep it clean.
DON'T post images that may disturb others or be used to misrepresent agriculture. This is a big one. Any image you post to social media can be screenshot or saved by anyone. Images can also be misunderstood. The last thing you want to do is post something that an activist group will take out of context or use to bash the agricultural industry. If you do post something with an animal in any kind of distress, fully explain the situation, but it's best to just keep these posts off the page entirely.
If there are any topics you'd like me to cover in more detail or you have questions about, please leave a comment. I'd love to visit with you!