Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 3: Blogging from NAFDMA (Participation Day)

It’s the time to “Get Social.”

That seemed to be main focus of many of the sessions I participated in today’s convention. Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Podcasts, You Tube) to name a few of the social media avenues that many folks might have heard about.

The first “techy” sessions I listened to was on Best Practices in Website. It was an open session where the folks from AKL Maui ( a lavender farm in Maui, Hawaii) presented information about their farm website and store. Then the entire group discussed new ideas for website marketing.

Some of the ideas where:
Have a box on each page of a website that offers visitor to join your mailing list because these names will help you retain clientele.
Include a blog link off your website.
Try adding videos and podcasts to your site so customers can see and get a feeling of your business.
Include seasonal photos and update them often.
Stay in contact with customers all year (not just during season) through a blog or e-newsletter.
Have a language button that can translate your site into another language, for foreign visitors.
Surveys for your customers.
Map link to the farm or market.

The other session I really enjoyed was about Online and Social Media. If you’re a Missouri producer – you’ve heard me say it a million times already – “If you have a business today…you better be online.”

This session was an overview on how direct marketers can incorporate social media into their current marketing campaign. Because let’s face it – social and online media are based on traditional marketing principals.

Ask yourself these questions:
What’s my operation goal?
How can I fit this into my existing communicational goals?
Is there others I can partner with?
Who is the customer I am marketing to?

More and more folks are doing everything online. Yesterday, I posted about culinary tourists – those that are searching for a unique experience they can’t find anywhere else. Those are your customers. Do you know how they are finding information about your farm or farmers’ market? Are they searching online for a market or CSA near them, are they looking for customer reviews about your farm online, are they reading your farm blog and leaving comments…you bet they are!

Technology today can be a little overwhelming with buzz words like (Tweet, Add me as your friend on Facebook, blogging, You Tube Videos….and on and on), but take it slow if you are new to this lingo.

Remember – People are talking everyday about your farm and market. Do you know what they are saying online? Positive word of mouth advertisement is the most powerful marketing of all. By you getting social on the internet you will be able to take part in this new media outlet and stay ahead of the game.

Try creating your own farm or market blog on Blogger or Typepad to start with. Then create a Facebook account. You can always ask other for help as well. I work with many farms, who’s children or grandchildren have helped the farm business get updated into the internet age. Or contact myself or one of your county extension agents as well.

In the meantime- get online and see what others in direct marketing are doing online. You can gather some great starting points from learning from others.

Read more about the NAFDMA Convention events.

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