2020 Social Media Update

We’ve written before about the importance of social media in your farm or small batch food business’s marketing strategy.  As with all things technology, shifts are taking place in the social media landscape.  Consumer behavior is changing.  Application popularity is shifting. We thought an update was in order.

Social media remains relevant in most people’s lives.  In 2019 79% of the US population engaged with social media, down slightly from a peak in 2017 at 80%.  And what’s important to you as a farmer or food business owner is more people are turning to social media to research products.

Below we’ve summarized the top 3 social media trends.  We have also included our thoughts on how you can modify your social media strategy to make the most of your marketing time and energy.  Our sources for this article include both Global Web Index’s Flagship 2019 Report: Social, and Edison Research: The Infinite Dial.

Facebook is losing steam but still relevant.

One of the most significant trends in the US is that less people are using Facebook. In the US alone, Facebook has lost almost 15 million users since 2017.  For those who have maintained their Facebook account (61% of social media users), there is a marked shift away from using Facebook to broadcast information and toward more voyeuristic behavior.  This behavior includes turning to Facebook for news, entertainment and product research.

The rise of entertainment instead of connection.

Instead of posting content to their broader social network, users are more likely to turn to social media for entertainment. Video is taking off as a form of entertainment on all platforms. Instagram, which some may not know is owned by Facebook, is one of the platforms gaining users. With Instagram focused on image and video rich content, it is easy to understand why Instagram is one of the faster growing social media platforms.

Interestingly, YouTube is the #2 social media platform as measured by membership. However, YouTube is unique in that it does not require a user to be logged in as a member in order to view content on the platform.  If we look at the platform that has the most use in a one month period, YouTube rises to the top (ahead of Facebook), likely because of its high entertainment factor.

People are increasingly using social media to find and research products and brands, but are hesitant to purchase within social media platforms.

A growing number (34%) of social media users in the US will “follow” brands they like on social media. But when it comes to purchasing, only 6% are motivated to buy through a social media platform if a “buy now” button is present.  A vast majority of consumers prefer to go to the businesses website to complete the purchase.  Social media is used as a research tool in a consumer’s buying journey, but is not the endpoint.  The endpoint is your business website.

Make the most of your marketing time

Social media should continue to be a part of your marketing strategy.  The shift toward social media as entertainment is significant.  However, this shift can benefit you as a farm or food business interested in selling to your local community.   Here are a few takeaways that may help as you are planning your marketing for the coming season:

Keep up your Facebook page.

Prospective customers expect your business will be on Facebook, as it’s the bread and butter of social media.  Post content at least once a week.

When posting, take the pressure off by posting, commenting and attributing third party content.

Content from other attributed sources, such as articles, video or images, can take the pressure off of needing to constantly come up with original content.  Add your personal comments on why you think the article, image or video is funny, interesting, and/or relevant.  This strategy will further your relationship with your buying audience by providing a broader sense of your brand personality.  Aim for a 4:1 ratio of third party content to original content.

Your social media account should always link to your business website (ideal), or a personalized shopping page if your business does not have a website.

The fact that 94% of social media users are NOT likely to make a purchase within a social media platform is evidence that your business needs an online presence and ecommerce capabilities outside of social media.

Social media audiences are looking for entertainment!

Curating original content that is entertaining and furthers your brand will take work.  Consider using Facebook as a place to tell your story with words and some images, but flip that on Instagram.  Use Instagram to post photos and videos, with limited comments.

Post on Instagram.

Here are a couple of articles to help you get started on Instagram: Instagram for small business. 7 steps to master Instagram for business.

If you have the time, energy and are a bit of a character, consider creating your own YouTube channel.

YouTube is an interesting mix of highly produced slick videos with big budget production companies and charming, if somewhat unpolished, videos for target niche areas.  Successfully building a following doesn’t take big bucks, but it does take time and a thoughtful content plan.  Here are a couple of resources to help you get off the ground:    How to edit your YouTube videos on a shoestring budget; How to optimize your videos for YouTube search.

Good luck with your posting!