Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Linkedin etc etc. The number of social media platforms ‘out there’ seems to be growing daily and yes – it can seem very overwhelming for small scale operators wanting to use social media to tell a story and build a community.
So let me give you a reprieve – unless you have a spare four to five hours every day to spend on social media – it’s impossible (and unsustainable) to do all the different platforms well.
The key is to decide on one (maybe two) and really do it well. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – zero in on one platform and make it work for you.
The same goes with the amount of content you are sharing. Make time to produce and share really good content rather than spreading yourself too thin putting up rushed, sub-standard posts more often just because you feel you should. A really strong post that offers your audience value or inspiration once a week will do your brand more favours than two flimsy posts a day.
So. How do you decide which social media platform is right for you? Firstly, keep in mind that social media is a conversation so you need to ‘want’ to be there to really build engagement. And because the whole point is to create networks of people with shared values and ideals who will ‘get’ you and what you do, it’s likely that the place you enjoy spending time online is where your audience will be too.
Also, think about where your talents lie and leverage them – so for example, if you have a knack for taking great pictures or just love a more visual medium, then Instagram is probably the place for you. If you like short, sharp bursts of news and feel comfortable sharing your views in 140 characters then you should consider Twitter.
Most people reading this column will be using – or planning to use – social media to tell a story about something they are farming, doing or making, and to connect with new audiences and build engagement with existing ones. In this case, I recommend you try Instagram first. Communities build fast and strong particularly around farmers and foodies here, plus Instagram is very visual and allows us to tell our stories quickly and effectively through photos and short videos.
Facebook will always be an incredibly powerful platform too but with the algorithm changes and sheer volume of content you are competing with, it is more difficult, some would say impossible, to achieve any kind of organic growth here. I feel like you need to work that much harder to get traction on Facebook these days. Twitter is a great platform too but in my experience, isn’t so much a marketing tool but better for networking and staying up to date with news and research relevant to your industry.
Whichever platform you choose, please do these three things….
- Be a resource – Be a place people go for inspiration, information and/or entertainment. Post helpful information that you know your audience will benefit from.
- Be friendly and interested.
- Be chatty – join in the conversation, start some too.
For more ideas and inspiration on growing your social media skills and audience, sign up for our next My Open Kitchen ecourse which starts in February and/or listen to the podcast!
Smart Farmer is a monthly magazine published by the Land newspaper. It comes in the Land Newspaper on the third Thursday of the month and if full of great ideas, articles and people who all care about smart farming. So I’m thrilled to be contributing a regular column to the mag, with a few bite-sized nuggets of social media goodness from My Open Kitchen every month. This article was published there recently.