How to friend someone on Facebook (and put them in a list) Facebook 101 – Part 3

When it comes to communicating with multiple friends in one location, it doesn’t get much easier than Facebook.

You can add family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, your church and people you meet at events and conferences. But the problem you’ll run into is that a lot of times you don’t want to communicate with all of them at the same time with the same message.

In this way, Facebook really sucks.  Everyone is lumped together and their algorithm for sorting who my good friends are vs. my occasion friends vs. my co-workers ain’t the best way to determine who’s important in my life.  But there’s a way to fix Facebook so it is really useful to you and your farm or business.

Setting up your “friends” on Facebook requires some thought but you’ll get the most benefit out of Facebook if you use these simple tips on when “friending” people on Facebook.

1. Search for friends on Facebook

facebook-friend-search

Using the search box at the top of your Facebook newsfeed, simple type in their name and click the magnifying glass.

Now if your friend you are looking for doesn’t come up, there are ways to search for people. If you have the email address or phone number, you can also look up people (if they didn’t change their privacy settings).

You can type “People I know.”

facebook-search-people-you-may-know

And use the advanced search that will come up on the side. It looks like this.

facebook-advanced-search

2. Add Friends

facebook-add-friend-from-search

You can add a friend from search by clicking the Add Friend button

Once you find your potential friend, you can request the friend by clicking “Add Friend”. You should then get a message that says “Friend Request Sent.”

facebook-friend-request

Or if you are on their profile page, you can add a friend by clicking this button.

You’ll have to wait until they approve friendship before you’ll be able to see their status updates in your newsfeed, check out their full timeline or see other things that they may have blocked from the public.

3. Put them into a list

This is very important and it will make Facebook a much better communication tool and resource for yourself (now I know you are thinking I have a “Schindler’s List” but I don’t. But ha, ha, it’s very funny. Feel free to put me on a Schindler’s List if you want to.)

After they have approved your Friend Request, simply go to their profile and select the “Friends” button. A drop down menu should appear.

There are many different choices here.

facebook-dropdown-close-friends

If the “friend” is a good friend and you want to keep close tabs on their activity on Facebook, you will want to select “Close Friends”. This will then add “Get Notifications” – you’ll be notified of most of their posting activity (Status Updates and Shares).

If the “friend” isn’t that close, then I recommend putting them in a list that you will create.

These lists will help you keep track of your friends instead of letting just the newsfeed do with with all your “friends”.

facebook-add-to-list

You can add someone to a list simply by clicking the “Add to another list” in the drop down.

facebook-add-a-1-list

With people that are good friends but not a “close friend”, then I would recommend creating an A-1 list. You can see how I added a friend to my A-1 list.

But if you don’t have an A-1 list, you can easily create one.

facebook-create-new-list

Just scroll to the bottom of the list and create a new list.

Or you can use the “FRIENDS” navigation on the left hand side of the page (it should be near the bottom of our newsfeed page left hand side navigation.

facebook-friends-nav-section

Click on “More” next to “FRIENDS” and you’ll be taken to the Friends page. On this page, you can create a list as well and start adding members.

facebook-create-a-list-page

You’ll see I created an A-1 list and then started adding members.

facebook-create-a-list-members

TIP – Now Facebook will still use its algorithm to determine who your friends are in the the custom list newsfeed but at least you’ll have a better chance of seeing your friends in a smaller list.

facebook-add-to-favorites

After you’ve created your custom lists (like the A-1), then you can click on the pencil to the right of the list and add it to your Favorites section to the top of your left hand navigation. This way you don’t have to search for custom lists. BTW, I know this says remove but it’s because my A-1 is already in my Favorites.

facebook-friends-list-newsfeed

If you notice I have an Interests List called (Farmer Pages), an Interest List allows you to add both Pages and Profiles to the same list and follow it. We’ll discuss that more in a future post.

The lists will also show up on your Facebook phone app as well.  To find a list, just pull your newsfeed down (just like you do when you are refreshing the news) and you’ll see the custom lists there.  The more you use the lists, it will remember to keep those lists near the top.

facebook-mobile-app-lists

Next post we’ll go over how to post and what to post on Facebook.

If you have any tricks on using lists in Facebook just let me know and I’ll add them here.

How Should You Change Your Facebook Security and Privacy Settings? – Facebook 101 Part 2

person-of-interest-facebook

Image courtesy of CBS “Person of Interest” Facebook Pgae

There are plenty of concerns about Facebook privacy – and rightly so, you are probably going to share more information about yourself and your family, friends, coworkers, and your farm, then on any other platform.

I love the show, “Person of Interest” on CBS. It tells the story of a man who’s built a machine that spies on every person in the U.S. looking for terrorists. But after the man turned the machine over to the govt., he is now resolved to try and save the people that the machine predicts are going to die but the govt. doesn’t care about. Loss of privacy is the basis of the show.

With Facebook, you are giving it a lot of privacy if you choose to engage but if you understand a few basics then you shouldn’t have a problem with privacy.

I get asked this a lot but identity theft (as far as I understand it) happens mostly via banks and credit card companies than Facebook – they may find some information on you but all they really want is your username/password to your financials (which usually isn’t found on Facebook).

If you are worried about groups targeting you and your farm, I would also say that I have not heard of a single case of the group using their social media profiles to target physical addresses. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen – but what I would say is that if you have a large social media presence you are actually more of a threat to them because you will have so many people come to your (online – defending and promoting) aid if you have a issue on the farm.

First things first.

All the privacy and security settings in the world will not protect you if you say bad things on the internet. In fact, Facebook is one of the worst for keeping these things to yourself.

As my friend Katie Pinke of The Pinke Post  loves to say, “I don’t say anything on the internet that I wouldn’t want my grandmother to see.”

I completely agree with this statement.
Don’t go there.
Don’t argue with people.
Don’t flame others.
Be nice.
Be helpful.
You can voice your opinion about injustice without berating and crucifying others.

Remember you are in front of your audience, their audience and the entire Facebook public. And you can always walk away if it isn’t going well.

Facebook-101-step1-drpodownSo let’s get into the Security and Privacy Settings so change a few things that will help protect your privacy but not completely cut you off from the rest of the world that may benefit quite a bit from hearing your wisdom about farming.

1. Click on the Gear to get to your Settings

2. Select Account Settings

3. Select Username

Facebook-101-step3-select-username

Change the username to something more appropriate than what Facebook gave you – if they gave you a long list of numbers (back in the day they did this).

4. Change Your Primary Email

Facebook gives you an email address like don.schindler (at) Facebook.com. I switch to the email that makes most sense to me.

That should be it for this screen unless you have an email address associated with a university. If so, you can set up one of their networks.

5. Go back to the left navigation and click Security

facebook-101-security-settings

6. Click “Secure Browsing” and make it “Enabled”

This will help protect you when you are using an open network like a coffee shop or airport. It helps keep people from hacking your account.

7. Click “Login Notifications” and make sure you set it to “Email” or “Text/Push Notifications”.

facebook-101-login-notifications

This way you’ll be notified if someone is trying to log into your account from a different browser, phone, tablet, etc…

8. Recognized Devices and Active Sessions

These two areas will help you understand what has logged into your account last and where. If you have any active sessions from areas that you are unfamiliar then you should delete the sessions.

The other areas you can look into and Facebook does a good job of explaining them so I won’t do it here.

9. Click on Privacy

facebook-101-privacy-settings

10. Who can see your future posts?

This should be public. You can always change this on a specific post if you want only a certain list of friends or a specific friend/s or just yourself.

11. Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in.

This will link you to the activity log where you can review everything that you have done on Facebook – all your posts, likes, shares, comments, etc…

12. Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or public?

This feature was developed so people could limit all of their old posts from “friends of friends” and “public” to switch “friends”. In other words, hid their past from anyone that wasn’t already a friend. I don’t recommend this unless you have damaging images and posts out there and you want them all invisible to the public.

13. Who can send you friend requests?

I marked this as everyone because I want to be able to be “friended” even if someone isn’t connected to one of my friends. This will not keep you out of search results – people just won’t be able to friend you if they aren’t a friend of one of your friends.

14. Whose messages do I want filtered into my Inbox?

I would recommend the “basic filtering” which means that most Facebook email messages will get to you.

15. Who can look you up using the email address you provided?

Now I give out my email address a lot for people to connect so I have this marked to public. If you want just “friends of friends” or just “friends” to be ale to do this you can.

TIP: Sometimes young people don’t want to be found by their parents on Facebook – they use an alias – but if you have their email and they haven’t changed this setting, you can find them on Facebook using this tool.

16. Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?

Same answer as the email address.

17. Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?

Now this one is going to be different for me vs. you. I’m open on the internet and I want the search engines to find my information. You might not want that. So if you are worried about Google finding your information, then you might want to uncheck the box.

Next blog post – Timeline and Tagging (Facebook 101 – Part 3) Coming soon.

How do you sign up for Facebook? Facebook 101 Social Media Training

First, what is Facebook and why would you care to use it?

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking website – it connects over 1 billion people (1.26 billion October 2013). In the US, the numbers are smaller but daily active users are at 128 million people or 36.5% of the US.

Facebook makes it easy for you to connect with family and friends as well as your customers. You don’t need to know how to code to put up photos and videos or just tell everyone what you are doing or how you are feeling.

Facebook is another way to be found online as people search for you and your business. Having an active profile (your digital representative online) can keep you connected, feed you the news that you think is important as well as what your friends think is important, and let you learn what others think about farming, agriculture, your business and their food.

There are other great features like joining topic groups, chatting with friends, emailing with customers and playing games or using applications.

So are you ready to set up a profile for yourself?

facebook-sign-up

0. Sign Up Page

You can create an account for free. All you need is your email address and a digital photo or two of yourself. It’s going to take a few minutes to do but it’s really easy.

Step-1-facebook-profile-info

1. Fill Out Info

This is pretty self-explanatory. Facebook would like you to fill in your schooling. Why do they do this? This helps them find people that you may know already.

So if you say you went to school like me at St. Vincent High School from 1984-88 then they will find people in Facebook already that have that on their profile. Same with college or the Armed Forces.

Step-2-facebook-choose-interests

2. Choose Interests

This is how you can begin to build your newsfeed. Now I would recommend skipping this step. Why? Because these Facebook Pages will definitely fill your newsfeed up fast.

I would rather skip this and then go back and add Facebook Pages (after I teach you how to set up Interest Lists for these pages vs. your Newsfeed). So skip it. Or not. Your choice.

Step-3-facebook-add-profile-pic

3. Add Your Profile Pic

I always recommend using your face to start off with. Now there’s no reason you can’t have fun with your profile picture down the road but to start off with it, it should be you and you should be able to be recognizable.

You’ll be able to crop the picture if need be using Facebook’s tool. The size is 180 by 180 pixels but it will shrink up quite a bit in the comment section of the newsfeed – I believe that it will be around 25 by 25.

If you would like to manipulate your photo, there are several free photo tools like picmonkey.com or autreplanete’s social media image maker.

facebook-newsfeed-account

4. The Welcome Screen

This is not what you’ll see when you come back into Facebook. Essentially they are just trying to show you how to find friends, privacy settings (which will we go over in detail in another part of Facebook 101, how to update your profile, etc…

1. Facebook Logo – this will get you back to the newsfeed.

2. Search Box – this will help you find Facebook friends (people), Pages (places or things), Groups (people hanging together on topics) or Events (events you may have signed up for or want to sign up for). This is also a Search Graph which allows you to search for multiple things at once like “People who like” etc…

3. Friend Notification – this will have a number by it if you have Friend Request.

4. Email Notification – this will have a number by it if you have emails waiting that you need to read.

5. Newsfeed Notification – this will have a number by it if you have newsfeed notifications. A newsfeed notification is if you posted something and someone commented on it or if you have tagged people to be notified if they have posted on their wall or if you’ve been tagged in another person’s post. Notification try to keep you aware of activity within Facebook.

6. Home button – same as the Facebook logo on the left side.

7. Find Friends – this is available only in newer profiles. Once you add friends, this will disappear over time.

8. Your Name – This will take you to your profile page.

9. Privacy Shortcuts – this will take you to a quick FAQ drop down of privacy and security issues.

10. Gear – This will drop down will allow you to do several things like change from your profile to a Facebook page (if you control one). You can see how to create and manage advertising on Facebook. This will allow you to create and manage applications (if you have that set up). Then it gets you to your Account and Privacy Settings. We will go through those in detail in another post. You can also Log Out, get Help or Report a Problem.

11. Profile Pic, Name – this will take you to your Profile Page. Edit Profile link will allow you to edit your profile page.

12. Navigation Bar – This navigation will allow you to do many things in Facebook.
This bar will change over time as you start to use different application and products within Facebook.

Under Favorites

Facebook Tip – if you want to add or remove a navigation link under the favorites section – just roll over the link and you’ll see a little pencil pop up to the left. Click on the pencil and it will ask you if you want to remove from Favorites or just Rearrange the Order.

  • Welcome – this link will take you to the page you see here. This will disappear after you’ve been using Facebook for a while.
  • Newsfeed – this link will take you to your main newsfeed where you will see what your friends and liked pages will be posting.
  • Messages – this link will take you to your Facebook email system. There will be a number here of how many messages you have in your inbox.
  • Events – this link will take you to the Events page. It will show if you have any Invites from other Facebook Friends and also display a calendar of Events that you and your Facebook Friends are attending. It will also show you all the upcoming birthdays of your Facebook friends. A number will appear next to the link to showcase the number of invites you need to respond to.
  • Photos – this link will take you to your photo section.
  • Browse – This link will take you to search and allow you to find more friends. Mine took me to a search of friends who are from my hometown and now live near by me in Chicago.

That’s it for now.  In the next post (Part 2), I’ll go through the Privacy and Account Settings.

Did I miss anything? Do you need more explanation about a specific part?

Creating Your Digital Legacy For Future Generations

Grandpa Les Schindler 1938-1939

Grandpa “Les” Schindler on the farm around 1938-39

My grandfather (Leslie “Les” J. Schindler) was born January 1, 1918 and passed while I was in grad school – Nov 16, 1998.

He was a farmer and mechanic. On the farm, we had a dairy cow, about 40 head of cattle and we planted corn and soy beans.

Growing up I spent a lot of time on back fender of his tractor until I was old enough to drive one (I think around 6 or 7).

Then we would spend the days following each other around the fields. He would be cutting hay. I would be conditioning. He would be baling. I would be stacking.  He would be picking. I would be unloading the corn.

I learned a ton from him – about hard work, perseverance, and a few mechanical skills. I miss him a lot. Especially now that I have a family of my own. It would be great to understand what he thought about his situation and how he dealt with life’s ups and downs.

But he didn’t leave a lot of things behind. Great memories for sure, but nothing really written down.

If he had I would go back to those writings quite a bit.

I would look to what he said and how he said it. I have just a few of those grandpa quotes I remember – one of my favorites that he would say to grandma at the end of night when company had overstayed their welcome.

“Come on, Mother. Let’s go to bed so these people can go home.”

He had a twisted sense of humor.

I wonder if he had the ability to write down his everyday thoughts, would he?

Would he have been a blogger?
Would he had tweeted about the farm?
Would he had shared about the house and barns he built by hand?
Or the animals he cared for?

Probably not. But if he would have created the text, the pictures, the video, the vines, whatever it was – I would read it all, over and over. I respected the man quite a bit but I don’t remember much about what he thought. I just have a few pictures and a bunch of hazy memories of my childhood.

When I think of the opportunity that social media has given me, it kinda blows my mind. You have any opportunity to share with generations that only a handful of people have done in the past.

You can give you minute-by-minute updates of your life in real time. You can follow and learn as much as you want from others.  It’s amazing how connected and documented we are now. We all have audiences – and these audiences actually care about what we are writing.

Facebook as Digital Diary

What do you think about these digital tools documenting your life?

But it’s more than that.

We are essentially writing the books of our lives with ongoing commentary of friends and family and, maybe some detractors as well. That’s a lot different than a normal diary.

Yes, I keep in mind very well the people that are in my social networks when I’m sharing information. I want them to respond to me and I want to be a value add to their days. But I also need to keep in mind my future generations. The sons of my son, the daughters of my daughter’s daughter.

They will be influenced by what I say here because this will be my only voice after I’m gone.

I say all of this not because I want to scare you into deleting your Facebook account. We have all probably vented a few times too many, gone off on a rant or posted photos that could be taken out of context.

No, I say this, because I want you to keep sharing. I want you to pass along your wisdom to future generations and share with them what it was like to live at this day and age.

The stuff you do daily is actually very important.  If you are farming and sharing that information, there’s a good chance that the people who stumble across your blog or Facebook page or twitter profile aren’t connected to that lifestyle.  The daily stuff is new to them and very interesting. It’s not something they experience everyday.

And when generations look back like we do at the 1800’s when people were documenting their lives to share with others via mail but our future will definitely want to look into the past for insights. The sunrises you saw, the work you were passion about, the people you spent time with, the adventures you have are all part of this crazy social media world and it will be available forever to them.

So maybe this post is a little too sentimental. And maybe it’s not “real” enough because I edit out of social media some things that might be a bit too controversial for my future generations and my audience. That’s ok – I’m not and you aren’t – being graded on this.  You can share the controversial – sometimes that makes for lots of discussion – but just remember to be civil and kind.  It’s ok to disagree. It’s not ok to be a jerk.

I just want the future gens to trust me (even if all they know about me is what they have seen when I’m an old man who couldn’t have possibly been young at one time) and know that I thought about them when I was creating. I shared because I cared about them.

So I’m hoping that grandpa would have blogged had he been given the chance.  This way I could go back and visit with him even after he’s gone.

What do you think about future generation viewing our digital profiles? Any issues with it? Does it change how you think about social media?

How social media savvy are your employees? How to do a social media audit of your team.

don-schindler-klout

Have you ever measured yourself on Klout?

“How experienced is my staff at using social media?”

I get this a lot from senior marketers and communication folks. They want to know how experienced the staff is at using social media tools.

It’s tough for senior staff to gauge this because they don’t use social media as much as the younger staff. So they just have to trust the staff when they say they know how to use it.

But do they really know how to use it?

I built this questionnaire after running into an issue with a communications person (previous job a long time ago) who swore they were experienced at using Facebook. They were adamant that they knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t need any training.

So I set up a Facebook page and gave them access to the admin.

Then the first question came almost immediately:

“I accidentally put up the wrong link in a post. How do I change it?”

“I can’t post anymore because I want to keep this post at the top of our page.” – This was before Facebook had pinned posts.

“How do I friend other people with our page?”

Needless to say, that was when I really checked out the new admin’s profile. She had less than 30 friends, she was very active but didn’t even understand how to write on another person’s wall to wish them a happy birthday. So that was when I decided I’m done “trusting” people when they say they understand how to use social media.  Now I make sure to visit their digital profiles and read their posts.

I created these social media survey questions for employees. I would ask these questions in order to determine how strong an employee is at using social media and if they have any influence in the social media realm.

Now these are just base questions for generic social media. While some people may be very good and deep on one platform, they may not use or understand how another platform works.  If that is the case,  then I would not consider them to be at an advanced level.

I use these questions to also help with social media training – to see what level people are at so I can base the training by their needs. I normally drop the questions into a survey using surveymonkey.com and go through the results – one by one.

Here are some of the questions I use:

1. How comfortable are you using social media for personal use?

Very comfortable
Comfortable
OK
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

If they answer with “Not comfortable” or “Very uncomfortable”, I recommend that they don’t take the class. If their position requires it, (they are in communications or marketing) then they may want to think of a new career path because this social media stuff isn’t going away and if anything is becoming the way we all communicate both internal and external.

2. How comfortable would you be using social media for a business?

Very comfortable
Comfortable
OK
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

Any answer here is fine. You can teach people who are on the “uncomfortable” side of the equation as long as they are willing to learn (see question one). It just may take them longer. But you also need to be careful of the “very comfortable” people, because they may think they know everything and set in their ways.

3. Which social networks are you on?

Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
YouTube
Instagram
Pinterest
Quora
MySpace
Google+
Ning
Foursquare
Tumblr
Reddit
Stumbleupon
Path
GetGlue
Other…

If they check:

– All 16 – whoa.
– 10-16 – they get it.
– 5-10 – much better than the average bear.
– 2-5 – they probably have the standard networks.
– Less than two – they are probably uncomfortable about the digital lifestyle.

4. If you have Facebook, how many friends do you have?

100 or less
101-400
401-700
701-1000
1001+

The average person has about 200 or so friends on Facebook. And recently I’ve noticed many people have been deleting “friends” that were just acquaintances (instead of using friend’s lists). I would say the more savvy people have between 500-1000 friends.

5. If you have Facebook, how often do you visit the site or mobile application?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

A couple of times a week or less is a pattern of someone who is not really engaged in social media. They can be trained and right now just don’t get the benefit of using social media for business.

6. If you have Facebook, how often do you post, share, comment or like?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

7. If you have Linkedin, how many connections do you have?

100 or less
101-400
401-700
701-1000
1001+

Most professionals still don’t understand the strength of a highly networked Linkedin profile so less than 400 is pretty normal. More training about the reasons to use it is needed but once they get it, they can usually add people quickly.

8. If you have Linkedin, how often do you update your profile/resume?

Once a month
Once in a while
Once a year
I don’t remember the last time I visited

Updating your profile once a month is someone that really gets the benefits of Linkedin. Most people are not like this. The answer “I don’t remember the last time I visited” means I’m going to have to work harder to convince them of the benefits – and see if it matches to the “uncomfortable” position from the first survey question.

9. If you have Twitter, how often do you visit the site or a mobile application for Twitter?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Twitter really requires you to be engaged at a high level to get the most out of it so anything less shows me that they are beginners.

10. If you have Twitter, how often do you tweet?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

11. Are you a blogger?

Yes
No
I have a blog but I haven’t posted to it in a while.

If you answered yes, then please put in your website URL.

If you ask someone if they are a blogger and they say “yes” then I’m pretty certain they blog. Most bloggers are happy to let you know they blog and will give you their URL at the drop of a hat.  That’s a good thing.

12. Have you read the social media policy that your company has in place? Do you understand what it says?

Yes
No
I did but I don’t remember the specifics.

This just lets me know if they even know about their being a social media policy with the company. Part of training should be going over the current social media policy.

If you don’t want to ask any questions, you can just level your employees yourself if you have access to their profiles.

With each person in training, check their digital profile or footprint for the following stats.

Social Media Beginner:
– 300 or less friends on Facebook
– 1000 or less tweets on Twitter
– 200 or less connections on Linkedin

Beginners might be on the network a lot but if you haven’t built a large network then you are probably not using it like an Intermediate and definitely not like a professional.

Intermediate:
– Have a blog or at least set one up at one time
– Manages at least one facebook page (not just a profile)
– More than 300 friends on Facebook (more like 800-1200 range)
– 500+ connections on Linkedin
– 1001-5000 tweets / 1000-5000 followers
– Google+ profile
– Is on other networks like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc…

Intermediates are usually pretty social savvy but aren’t fully engaged all the time in social media. They are off and on the networks and don’t need a lot of assistance in setting up profiles or pages. They need more help when it comes to managing their professional brand and how to link the networks together.  I would also use other tools like Klout and Peerindex to see if where they fall on the influence scale.

Professional:
– Weekly blogger
– Advanced applications to manage multiple social profiles
– Manages a community / comments regularly
– More than 1500 friends and probably have many subscribers
– More than 5000 tweets and 5000 followers
– Manages company pages and profiles on different networks
– Is hyper connected 24/7

So what questions do you ask your staff when it comes to understanding how well they know social media and how they use it?

What should you be posting on Facebook Farm Page? Top ten tips on what you should post to Facebook.

dairygood-2-percent-farmers

What does the other 98% think about farming?

So if you know that most of today’s U.S. population is disconnected from farming, then giving them an inside view is important. Notice, I didn’t say “educate” them on farming – it’s not what they want and definitely not how they want to hear it.

They want to be insiders on how farming works and they want to know farmers (farmers are still one of the most respected industries in the nation – check out the latest Gallup Poll) so they can ask questions directly.

When you look at it from their point of view, what do you think they would like to know?

How cows are milked? How hay is cut? What do dairy cows eat? Where do they sleep? How long after the milk leaves the farm does it take to get to my house? Are dairy cows treated well?

You can answer these types of questions easily. But instead of just answering, think of showing them and telling them a story around the answer.

If you’ve got your smartphone with you, then think of how you would answer questions on farm life using photos and videos.

Here’s a top ten list of things to post on your Facebook Farm page…

1. Post photos of farm life

Photos are half of all posts on Facebook and are the top shared posts. If you want your status update to be shared a lot, your best shot is with a photo.  Table Rock Farm and Hahn-Way Holsteins does a great job of showcasing a photo with insider information.

table-rock-defacer

Top Tip – use a photo program like picmonkey.com or Over app for your phone to put text or your farm’s logo on the picture. This keeps it from being misused or stolen and it helps your brand.

hahn-way-holsteins-text-photo

2. Post videos of farm life

Videos are the next best thing to a photo and you can get more of the story of what you are doing. The only problem with video is that it takes more effort from the user to actually get the story. YouTube is the most shared website on Facebook so if you can put together a short video (2 min) then you’ve got a good shot at getting your message across.  Dairygood posted several videos on sustainability and dairy farming.

dairygood-sustainability-video

3. Answer questions without them asking

If you ever want to know what people are searching for answers, simply use the Facebook search or a Google search and read the autocompletes. These are the top searches in your region.

google-search-autocomplete

Type in your search and see what Google displays for you – make sure you log out of Google.

4. Get fans to engage and participate

You can ask people to help name calves, give them insight into how does modern farm equipment works, or just let them know what happened today on the farm.

This post by Dairy Carrie does a great job at getting people involved with naming a calf and showing how calves look when they are born.

dairycarrie-calf-naming

5. Give farm tours virtually

LeCows Dairy gives insight into silage, what it is and why they use it along with photos to engage people.  This takes time but the engagement is high and people love it.

lecows-dairy-silage

thefarmerslife-tractor

The Farmer’s Life also gets a question in this picture asking about what these tractors are used for.  It’s a great way to answer a question and engage someone not familiar with farming.

6. Ask them what they want to know.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask and people will let you know what they want to know.  Now you will always have people that will be distractors.  The main thing here is to engage when people really want to know vs. people just trying to get you to fight.  If that happens, you can check out this post on arguments and what to do.

americas-farmers-facebook-questions

7. Share the best photos, videos, status updates from other farm pages.

When Redhead Creamery started its kickstarter campaign, they needed help from everyone – including other farm pages to spread the word.  Dairy Carrie stepped up to help and got the word out.  I’m sure Redhead Creamery will return the favor.  This should be the Golden Rule for all farmers on facebook.  Help spread the word and it will come back to you.

dairycarrie-redhead-creamery

8. Treat other pages like your page – post comments and share on their walls.

When Al Roker of the Today Show visited the Hatcher Family Dairy,  DairyGood tagged them in the post to let them know that they were talking about them on Facebook.  This also encourages the other pages to comment, like or share the post.

dairygood-at-post-hatcher-family-dairy

Tagging other pages lets them know that you are talking about them.

9. Be active at least once a day

It’s hard to argue when you are getting information directly from the source.

facebook-best-practices

If you can post more than that, it’s ok. Just don’t go too crazy.

10. When you share on your page, make sure to share on your profile as well.

So should be a no-brainer, but many people fail to do it.  You can easily switch to your page and then back to your profile via the desktop version of facebook.  With the Facebook Page Application, you can do it on your phone as well.

Ray Prock of Ray-Lin Dairy is very good at pushing his blog posts through Twitter, his Facebook Page and his personal Facebook profile right after a post.

raylin-dairy-where-do-cows-sleep

BONUS TIP – Use hashtags to reach new people

Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy uses the hashtag #dairy to reach people who may be using Facebook’s hashtag search to find out more about what people are talking about when they talk about dairy.  Don’t use more than three hashtags per post.

gilmer-dairy-hashtags

So what are your best practices for posting on your family farm page?  I would love to add them here.

How do you set up your Facebook Page for your family farm?

So why in the world do you need a Facebook page for your farm? You probably already have a website. Isn’t that good enough?

Well, a website is still very important. The most important thing in my book because it’s your home on the internet but a Facebook page for your farm is an easy way to get in front of people who might not even know your farm exists.

Millions of people are logging into Facebook all the time – just to see what is going on – and if your farm is there then they have a better chance to see it, maybe even pass along your great photos and videos of farm life (which they probably don’t know much about).

But if you’ve never set up a Facebook page before you might be worried that it’s a lot more complicated than setting up a profile. Actually, it’s not. If you’ve got your own profile page, then you’ll be very familiar with setting up a page.

So let’s begin.

1. Log into Facebook with your profile

Dairy MAX Facebook Page

Go to any Facebook Page in Search

I don’t recommend setting up a Facebook page without having a profile. You can do it, but I’m not a fan. I don’t think you’ll use it if you don’t have a profile, too. Plus you are probably going to need more than one administrator so you’ll need Facebook “friends” (wife, kids, husband, etc…) to control it.

Search for any Page on Facebook and then in the top right hand corner you’ll see, “Create A Page“.  Click it.

facebook-create-a-farm-page

Select either Local Business (regional) or Company.

2. Choose “Farming/Agriculture” from the drop down

facebook-business-category-farming

Select Farming/Agriculture from the dropdown

You need to make sure you do this, because it will help with Graph Search. Then put in the company name – Schindler Farms – for me.

3. Add Your About Information

facebook-business-about-page1

Fill in the description and add your website. Then select your easy to remember URL.

The About Page allows you to add great information about your farm. This description is crucial for their graph search and will help the page rank in search. Use keywords that will help your farm be found like “dairy farm producing milk from dairy cows”. Seems silly but these keywords are what people type into search to find you. Make sure you add your farm website. The Facebook web address is very important and it will be what you putting on all your flyers and business cards so choose wisely. Once it is set, it can’t be changed. If you don’t have the name you want, really review the different options.

After you set your name, they will ask you questions about your farm being a real organization, school or government? You can say “Yes” and then it will ask you about being authorized and official representation of this organization, school or government on Facebook? This is legally binding statement regarding the authenticity and representation of this Page. Click “Yes” on this as well.

4. Add a profile picture

facebook-business-profile-pic-selection

Add your profile pic – this doesn’t have to be your logo but it will show up very small in everyone else’s newsfeed

Images help people to see what the business is that they are visiting. Having good photos helps a ton but you don’t need to wait until you have only perfect photos. What people are looking for with farms is authenticity and scenery. Remember that their lives are probably well removed from the farming lifestyle so animals and landscapes are normal for you but not for them. Good photos get shared a lot and you’ll be wanting to add and change them out all the time.

Also this photo is going to be very, very small on many other people’s feeds.  It can get as small as 25 x 25 so if it’s your logo – be prepared that people might not even see it.  It might be better to use cows or faces.

5. Add your Farm Page to your Favorites

facebook-favorites-add

Add to your favorite’s so you don’t have to hunt for the page later

This way it’s easy to access via the Facebook navigation. You don’t want to have to be constantly scrolling down the page and looking under the Pages tab to find your farm page.

6. Don’t add a Payment Method

You don’t need to do this right now – maybe down the road – but you can “Skip” this for now.

7. This is your Farm Page

It looks a little scary with the Admin Panel showing right now but you don’t need to concern yourself here. The main thing is understanding what you are looking at.

facebook-business-page-insights

Facebook page with Admin Panel Open

  1. Notifications on top left – this is what you’ll be paying attention to once the page is running and you are getting shares, comments and likes.
  2. Messages is top right – these are from people reaching out to the farm via Facebook. Other people will not be able to see these messages – just you and the people on the message.
  3. Get More likes in the bottom left – just advertising. No worries there right now.
  4. Insights in the center – these are your analytics for how the page is performing. How many people are seeing what you are posting and the demographics of the people who “liked” your page.
  5. Invite Friends in the bottom right – this is to get you to invite the people you are already connected to on Facebook to “like” your page.

With all this open, it’s kinda hard to see what is going on, so let’s close this panel by click the “Hide” button on the top right.

8. Add a cover photo

Facebook Cover Photo

Add a large photo. You can also have text here.

Again, like I said before, photos are very important in Facebook. Over half of all posts are photos. So let’s change out the cover photo with a large horizontal photo of the farm – get some cows in there or something along those lines.

9. Edit Page – Update Page Info

schindler-farm-about-page

Add in as much information as you can as this will help you in search.

This will get all of your pertinent farm information on the page. Even though it’s a long page, you’ve already gotten a lot of information filled out.

10. Change the Settings

facebook-business-settings

You can change your settings and notifications.

If you want to unpublished the page until you are ready to display, you can do that here. Things that I would bring to your attention are the Profanity Filter (you should turn that on to at least medium) and you turn off other people’s posts but that would limit your reach if people can’t talk on your page.

11. Add one more than admin

facebook-business-admin-roles

Add another admin besides yourself.

While it’s great that you are committing to doing this, you’ll want a back-up.  The only people you can add are people you are friends with and make sure you trust them – this is a highly visible communication vehicle.

12. Now you can start adding content!

I would keep the page unpublished until you have a couple of posts in and are really ready to add this page to your daily marketing.  In a future post, I’ll talk about the different things you’ll want to be posting on and then how to handle comments from fans and others.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.