A competitor threw shade at me saying I cater to the “mom & pops” businesses. My response? Why, yes I do.
I’m not gonna lie. That comment irritated me. Irritated me beyond measure.
Small business is the backbone of any community. It’s those friends and neighbors who help define the culture of area. Having worked at a Chamber of Commerce for a decade, my days were spent talking to and helping Mom & Pops. By working with them, I learned of the challenge of being a sole proprietor, yet also of the pride. My position allowed me to visit the majority of the area businesses and learn about their services, their inventory and their message. All were unique and quite proud of their work.
So, let’s celebrate all of those MOM & POPS out there the next time we think about ordering online or heading out of town to shop. What goes around comes around, so spend a few extra bucks locally and THINK SMALL. And don’t throw shade. Roll your eyes, sigh and get on with your awesomeness!
This morning I had the pleasure of talking to a farmer, named Steve. As we shared farm stories and experiences, it reminded me of a regal Angus cow. One of my dad and brother’s “broke mouth” cows (farm slang for OLD) was around 20-years of age and spent this past summer with her last calf resting under the shade of a tree in my dad’s pasture.
Having driven by her more than two dozen times this year, there she was always under the tree, her calf frolicking nearby. My dad said he should have sold her, but she’d given him 19 calves and had paid her dues. And under that tree she died this fall. She went on her own terms, thanks to the compassion of my dad and brother.
Farming is a lifestyle, that’s for sure. You see Mother Nature at her absolute best, and you feel her wrath. Each spring you see calves born, some making it and some succumbing to the elements or health issues. You go long stretches without seeing your dad as he works ground, plants, cultivates, sprays and then harvests. You worry when they work cattle if they’ll get hurt dealing with a 1,200 pound animal and you worry about them checking the animals before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down.
Paying your dues is just part of life. When I think of my dad, he’s helped to feed the world. He’s not only an agronomist, he’s a mechanic, a veterinarian, an accountant, a chemist, a truck driver, a construction worker, a plumber…he’s all that it takes to be a FARMER. He’s also compassionate, so that day my dad let that old cow die in peace under a shade tree versus selling her, it told me all I needed to know about my dad.
Rest easy old cow. You’ve helped to feed the world.
And yes, that’s her in the photo with her last calf.
Many of us get caught up in the day-to-day operations of our business that we become, well shall we say, a little self-centered. What we should all do is take a few steps back and remember that social media is also social NETWORKING.
What we do for recreation, where we enjoying dining and the other local small businesses that we frequent can result in a bumper crop of engagements, new likes to your platforms and social media reach if you begin sharing. Consider it “crop rotation” as people will tend to get bored with your posts if you’re not switching it up.
This is “The Rule of Thirds” at work.
1/3 about YOU
1/3 about YOUR passion, likes, interests
1/3 networking with your community and letting your audience know that you’re “in the know”
If you haven’t “bin” sharing, try cross-posting something as simple as your favorite coffee shop and tag both the business and a few employees. Write a glowing review and let them know that you appreciate the fact they’re in business. NETWORK!
Are you always looking forward with your social media? You should be! People are constantly on their devices in search of the latest and greatest when it comes to food, fun and fashion. People are staying OFF social media due to what seems to be a constant barrage of negativity. Businesses and organizations taking the high road with their posts by celebrating their services, acknowledging clients, cross-promoting with peers and sharing bits and pieces of their own personality are the ones expanding their reach, getting the “likes” in droves and being re-Tweeted like wildfire.
Keep on that high road and and let’s leave the negativity in the rearview.
And here’s my daughter, Lolo, checking our a donkey from the rearview! Enjoy.
One may think of social media as simply a means to “sell” your products, yet a heightened and consistent social media presence also puts you at the forefront of the minds of those talented people looking for a new role in life. You’re also promoting yourself as an employer, as well as your work environment.
A full-service salon client informed me that attracting new clients wasn’t at the top of their goal list, rather recruiting new, innovative and customer-service oriented stylists. By sharing the services offered at the salon, as well as the professional & warm nature of the owner, we’re reaching an entirely new audience, developing a reputation by showcasing visuals of makeovers, increasing product sales AND attracting the attention of stylists relocating to our area and/or graduating from beauty school.
Flexible hours and a casual workplace are attractive to once stay-at-home parents who require a flexible schedule to take kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. Face it, if you know you can be comfortable while at work, that’s an enormous selling point to many of us! By posting photos of casually dressed and smiling staffers, she has been able to attract a new crew of staffers who want to contribute to the household income while still being able to spend quality time with their family.
And keep in mind, people will “creep” on your personal page, so be sure you’re posting tidbits about who YOU are not only as a business person, yet as a human being. Show pics of your dogs, showcase your volunteer efforts, celebrate your family and be sure you are also engaging with those businesses you respect and do business with, also.
Make your social media presence more “I WANT TO WORK THERE” versus “NOW HIRING”.
Farm Girl Social Media Management can assist you in conveying that message. Give me a call or drop me a line. We’ll cultivate on online image for you, your organization and your business.
I Don’t See Your Car, Therefore You’re Not Working.
More than one client has spoken of this misconception. “If they don’t see my vehicle parked at my office/store, snide comments are made about my lack of work ethic.” That’s actually far from the truth.
These clients are actually out in their community making deliveries, on service calls, networking with clients, photographing, showing properties, strategizing and checking out the competition. They’re enjoying lunch with business partners at your restaurant, delivering items to your office, repairing your computer, driving 3 hours north to pick up a t-shirt order to save you shipping costs…they’re working, trust me!
A board member at a nonprofit informed me that if I was an effective manager, my car should only be in the lot half of my work day. To fund and friend raise, being present in the community and sharing our organization’s story face-to-face was much more valuable that sitting at my desk, he said. Was he ever right!
So, the next time you don’t see someone’s car at their workplace, imagine all of the great work they are doing.
A client approached me to help with her direct sales business. What are direct sales? You’ve undoubtedly been invited to parties where essential oils, candles and kitchen gadgets are peddled by your friends, right? That would be direct sales.
Without a store front, how does one market the direct salesperson’s products? I thought long and hard about that and devised a two-fold approach:
Social media as the store front (obviously)
Take the products to an actual store front
The first approach was already taking place, yet without cross-marketing with some heavier hitters on the social media scene, those products and that brand would still go unknown to countless potential clients. By partnering with businesses and organizations, and tying those products in to what they sell and how it correlates to their mission statement we were able to sell Posh pampering products to an entirely new group of people in our community.
Cross marketing with People for Pets, a local animal shelter, allowed both Posh’s exisiting clientele to learn about the plight of homeless pets in NW Iowa, and in turn allowed all of those area animal lovers to learn that Posh never tests on animals and that a portion of their purchase would benefit the cuddly cats and dandy dogs awaiting adoption. People for Pets has a Facebook following of over 7k. Who wouldn’t want that? The name Posh and its independent consultant are now known to the People for Pets followers.
Taking the products to an actual store front proved both fun & profitable. We partnered with other direct sales representative and invited women to an after-hours party at Hey, Good Cookies, a local coffee/lunch/dessert shop with the fantastic energy and clientele who would love the exquisite Posh products. Two hours of shopping, dining, socializing and it was a win-win for both Hey, Good Cookies as well as the direct sales reps who work part-time to add to their family’s income.
We also brought the Posh products to popular attractions, businesses and landmarks within the Iowa Great Lakes. Tagging Arnolds Park Amusement Park as Waxela is posed by the Queen II made for both a powerful and profitable patriotic post this past 4th of July!
Thinking outside of the box, cross-marketing with businesses that, on the surface, have no connection to you…that is how you reach new clients, generate leads and network. Plant the seeds, cultivate your fields and harvest those rewards by cross-marketing and taking products to the people via unconventional methods!