As a small-scale producer, getting the word out about my farm and ultimately my products is crucial to its success.
When there are so many farmers and producers out there doing brilliant things with their marketing, I know how important it is to use the digital age to my advantage; by spreading the news about our farm philosophy, engaging people in healthy debate, and hopefully convincing others about our methods here at Greenway Farm.
Earlier this month I was lucky enough to take the reins at the Twitter account of Farmers of the UK.
It involved me tweeting about my life on the farm for a full week, from the mundane moments to the dramatic elements of keeping livestock. I kept those following up-to-date with the results of a TB test on one of the cows, a worrying time that luckily for me ended happily. Followers were informed of the arrival of new chicks to the farm, and even in one post what we were enjoying for dinner on National Meat Free Day.
I have to admit that tweeting every moment of my fairly solitary life on the farm doesn’t come very naturally to me. Not a born extrovert I find it tricky not just to remember when to tweet, but knowing what to tweet at all!
Facebook is another part of 21st century farming that I understand is crucial to gaining “followers”, who in turn can potentially become customers. And it takes discipline to remember to engage through this platform on a regular basis.
My week at Farmers of the UK reminded me how much time all this social networking can take up, and as enjoyable an experience as it turned out to be, I can honestly say I don’t have the time to tweet every minute of my day.
I like to think that as farmers we need to maintain a healthy balance of doing what really matters – the hard work on the farm and looking after the animals – with the occasional post on Twitter and Facebook to keep the digital element ticking over without becoming boring. I like to post when I have interesting things to say, when I can offer my customers a promotion, and to show images of the animals which always go down well. I also like to use these platforms as an area to share my views, talk about our natural farming methods, the benefits of 100% grass-fed meat and to use this as a way of educating and inspiring.
Digital networking and creating content that promotes the farm is something that I’ve embraced as best as I can. First and foremost though, I’m a farmer, so I’ll keep networking, tweeting and of course blogging, but don’t expect posts about my dinner every night!
Thanks to Farmers of the UK for giving me the opportunity to share with a wider audience our philosophies here at Farm2Fork