Your business’ story told by you will always resonate with the public if you talk about your family business with transparency, and enthusiasm and give the “how we do it.” Humor helps too.

Content counts (it’s also King) and from the source, it matters the most. Your business personalities that have committed to the “social conversation” garner thousands, even millions, of followers, just ask @TheFarmerJon a farm business owner that has a story to tell.

Steps to Getting to the “Do”

Our family owned and operated an agriculture business up until 2005. I get how hard it is to even conceive of launching a social media channel (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more) with everything else on your plate including running a business, raising a family, and then becoming a volunteer leader. It’s tough dealing with a time-consuming media query. Or, pausing long enough to go into your child’s classroom to read an ag-accurate book (even virtually today).

There is hope and for even the busiest of us, it can be done. I share seven tips to help you become part of Arizona business’ information and engagement solution.

  1. Be original, be you. Your best focus for the context of telling the small business story is your story, small business facts and statistics can come later in the conversation. Begin to accept that even what seems mundane to you is fascinating to someone in the public who has no concept of what it means to run a business or explain your business sector, for example, the restaurant business. Opening the restaurant? Closing time? How do you prep the food? Even the most mundane things about running a restaurant might be interesting to the uninformed (especially on Tok-Tok or Instagram’s Reels).
  2. Pick just one channel in social media: Have you decided if you are more comfortable using Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook? Arizona Farm Bureau is on every channel imaginable. If you have questions, call one of us on staff. The more visual your business the more it can influence the channel you pick. If you owned a restaurant, I’d select Instagram. If I had a consultancy business and provide extensive expertise in an area, I’d consider Twitter, especially if I have a cache of articles on my blog and/or podcasts that I could link to. Of course, if your budget allows, you can hire a third-party marketing firm to help you with your social media. But be careful, don’t lose the originality and organic feel once someone takes over your marketing.
  3. Dedicate a time each day or week or month: One of our winegrower owner members once told me, “Julie, I devote about 15 to 20 minutes early in the morning to my social media channels while having my coffee then I’m done for the day, and I don’t worry about it for the rest of the time.” Most in the retail farming and ranching space get it, but any small business owner should too.
  4. Especially for Retail farmers, make a small sign that you always place next to the produce and/or animal ag when you are on your channel or about to take a photo. Don’t just take a picture of tomatoes. They could be anyone’s tomatoes. But, if you grew them, place the sign with your company logo by your wonderfully grown tomatoes so viewers know for sure they are yours. Marketers will tell you, it’s all about branding.
  5. Engage. So, I can’t convince you to open a Twitter account (or use the one you opened but never post on). Fine. But remember every conversation you have with a supplier, family friend, colleague or new acquaintance might be an opportunity to talk about your business life. Don’t preach, just listen and find that opening to tell your small business story.
  6. Make what you celebrate in your business the key to sharing about the business. New achievements or improvements in your business? Are market prices finally coming up? Anything new or different becomes something to tell. Even if you don’t want to explain it call us at Arizona Farm Bureau and we’ll help you celebrate a win. We need more of those in the business world right now.
  7. Document with photos. If you have a smartphone, you have a way to take pictures. Most small businesses are quite visual. Exploit this fact. Then, send it to us, and with your permission, we’ll post it on our channels telling your story.  

Just can’t tolerate the idea of engaging with the public. Arizona Farm Bureau and your commodity-specific associations will still be here for you to help you. We always want big wins when it comes to connecting with the public but like dating, it’s usually a series of tiny steps that lead up to helping the mutual parties discover something is there, just like falling in love.

Editor’s Note: To get your story told, contact Julie Murphree at outreach@azfb.org. She’ll help you determine a plan of action.