Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

If you follow along on our Facebook or Instagram accounts, you will know that Mollie (or Muscovy Hen) had her babies last Tuesday.

I predicted then that I would be spending a lot of time just watching and admiring them…. and I have. 🙂

She had 17 babies, each as cute and adorable as the next.

The routine for the first few days was much the same as it would be for any babies….. sleep, eat, have a wash, and sleep again.

On Thursday last all babies were taken over to the pond in the field next door to us.  Guys, you should have seen me!  Talk about a clucking hen!  These little things are tiny.

Ducklings first swim

Ducklings first swim

There are cattle in the field!  What if the cattle decided to have a nosey and see what was going on?  I spent the entire time fretting at the fence until they all arrived home safely.

These guys have to be the most photographed ducklings ever!

We’ve had AirBnB guests during the week who couldn’t resist photographing them either.  And our friend, Daili Perez, was here and took some amazing photographs and this video…. you are going to be totally smitten by them too!  I’m telling you anyone who meets them falls so in love 🙂

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Regular readers here will know that here at Oldfarm use what social media tools we can to promote our pork business.

We have the website, the facebook page, and in fact two twitter accounts.  I’ve set up a YouTube channel – which I need to build on.  I’ve set up Pinterest and Instagram accounts which I am still grappling with, more from the point of view of finding the time to keep all balls in the air!

Without these tools I don’t know how we would promote Oldfarm Pork…. we don’t have a marketing budget!  I have written and spoken before about how we use these tools.

However, yesterday, wearing a different hat to pig farming, I was asked to look at other small businesses in the Midlands and their web presence.

The results, to me anyway, were staggering!

27 companies looked at….. ranging from 1 person to 10/12 employees.

  • 10 had no website, or web presence, of any description
  • 8 didn’t even have an email address
  • 8 had a Facebook page
  • 5 had a Twitter account
  • None were using YouTube or Pinterest
  • Only 4 were using website, facebook and twitter

Now is it me, or is this amazing in 2012 for small businesses not to be using free tools to promote their business?

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We are still in recovery mode from a great day out at Tullamore Show on Sunday last!

Since we moved from Dublin, I have had some involvement with the show in one way or the other almost every year.

Alfie & Claire at Tullamore Show

I have attended as a spectator, I have been an organiser and now this year I was an exhibitor.

The Tullamore Show (fondly known as the ‘show’) is the biggest one-day agricultural show in the country – and I’ve even heard it said that it is the biggest such event in Europe!  I am not sure about that but last Sunday 60,000 people attend – all in just one day!  That is some amount of people.

The amazing thing about the Show is that it is organised entirely by a band of volunteers in Tullamore.  People give of their time and of themselves year, after year.  Many have been on the committee for more years than they care to remember .

When I worked with Offaly Enterprise Board I was part of the organising team for the Artisan Food and the Arts & Craft marquees that they sponsor.  This year, however, I was on the other side of the fence.

Stand at Tullamore Show

We took a stand in the Artisan Food tent.  Our first time to venture into this type of promotion for our free-range pork.  It was different being on a stand, rather than involved in the organisation. But then there were advantages because I knew the organisers too!

We had a great day.



Aching feet!

Aching back!

Fuddled brain!

But a good day!

Over 10 kgs of sausages were cooked up by Sarah (thank you, Sarah!)

It was wonderful to meet so many people who are passionate about food – both others who were exhibiting, and those who were attending.  We met some wonderful people.  We met people who keep their own pigs.  We met people who haven’t eaten pork in years  – we converted them!  We even met people that we had only known via Facebook… so it was wonderful to meet in person.

There was a great camaraderie among the exhibitors – lots of exchanging of tastings!  We got to taste lovely breads from Coolfin Bakery in Banagher, marvelous cheese from Mossfield Organic Cheese, gorgeous cakes from Sweet Creations, and then there were the major ‘pick me ups’ from The Hot Irishman!

If we met you at the show…. we look forward to hearing from you again!

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We have started (since January) to use Facebook as a means of promoting sales of our free-range pork.  I was asked recently to write about the experience as a case study for delivery to tourism providers… so I thought I should share my experiences with everyone.

So here’s the story of our experience on Facebook…

In September 2008, we started with three ‘boy’ pigs.  The initial plan was that we would grow them on for 5 months and then have our own ham and/or bacon to share with friends and family.

In March 2009 we sent our first pig to the abattoir.  The meat was delicious and while we shared some with family and friends we also sold some on.

In the period between September and March we had also bought 4 sows, so we now had a production plant!

In May 2009 we had our first litters.   Some of these piglets/bonhams were sold as weaners, to people who wanted to grow their own food.  The rest we kept to grow-on ourselves.

While initially the pig-rearing was for our own benefit, circumstances changed for us on the employment level in late summer 2009, so Oldfarm Pork has become more of an artisan business.

We now raise rare-breed, free-range pigs, and sell pork/bacon via a ‘box’ system.  Customers order a ‘box’ of 5 kg or 10 kg. in which they get a mix of pork and/or bacon.  We have chosen the box system as the optimum selling instrument for us, in that we are small producers, selling fresh meat.  Our customers receive their meat fresh from the butchers – they can then decide which pieces of meat they want to freeze, or use immediately, themselves.

Our initial ‘marketing’ campaign started with texting and emailing friends and family, and asking them to pass the message on to their contacts.

We were always looking at new ways of promoting the business, attending ‘food’ related conferences and seminars, networking, etc.

I will admit that up to 3 months ago I was not a fan of Facebook.  I perceived it as intrusive and lacking in privacy!  However, I did succumb to Facebook on a personal level as a means to play Scrabble with friends at home and abroad!

I started our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OldfarmPork) on 18th January to promote our free-range pigs and pork. Being a newbie to Facebook I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  It has been an interesting learning curve for me.

Again I used the ‘family and friends’ route to get our initial fan base.  And within a week or two we had c 20 fans.  Since that initial flurry our fan base has built slowly, but consistently.  In just 2 months we now have a fanbase of 94 (as of today 3/4), which may not seem like a lot of fans when compared to the big corporate sites who have thousands of fans.

However, the best part of our fanbase is that it is generating orders!

I can honestly say that we are now receiving orders from people who we don’t know, and who are fans on our Facebook page.  It is probably only a tiny percentage of our sales, but  it is a percentage that we may not have otherwise achieved!

Having a Facebook business page, may not involve a financial commitment but it is a substantial time commitment.  You do need to devote time to it every day.  I am constantly looking at other websites, and using other social media outlets to find things that I consider worth posting on the site.

It is often times a challenge to find something interesting and worthwhile to upload on a daily basis.  You want to keep it ‘business-like’ but you also want to generate, conversation, debate and comments!  There is also the challenge of adding variety to your page… you don’t want to be constantly talking about pork or pigs!

Recognising the ‘right’ time to post is also critical.  You need to know your customers and figure out when they are on line, so that you can post when they are likely to comment!  I am still trying to figure this out!

You also need to devote time to looking at other Facebook business pages, and to comment on them – again just to raise your profile.  This, at the moment, is a little difficult with Facebook as you cannot comment as your ‘business’ page only as your personal profile, but perhaps in time this will change.

I have found a devious way of using the @ symbol to comment on other business pages… but it doesn’t always follow through!

As I have previously said it is a learning curve!

But Facebook in conjunction with other social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging can be useful for a food business.  Our experience is that you can reach your consumer.

I hope this is of help.

Have you been using Facebook for your business?  What has your experience been?

I was asked recently about how social media was working for us…. check out this update.
For fellow nerdy people, I thought you might find the following figures interesting.  A breakdown of where the contact was made for our last three delivery runs.
a.    50% Twitter / 50% other (as in personal contact/newspaper articles, etc)
b.    60% Twitter / 40% other
c.    50% Twitter / 20% Facebook / 30% other
I am probably mad doing analysis like this but I find it interesting…. and in reality it does help us to know where we should focus.
I find it interesting that Twitter far out does the Facebook side of things.  Have you had a similar experience?

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This past weekend I got caught up in a discussion about dining with friends!

This is something I love to do, there is nothing nicer than cooking up something and sitting around the table sharing with friends.

However, this weekend I came across the new phenomenon of a ‘twinner party’.  This believe it or not is a dinner party involving Twitter.  The concept as explained on the Good Mood Food blog is that groups of friends get together, all work to the same menu, shop and cook while tweeting all through the process!

I have listened to various arguments on the subject – the main one being that the ‘Twinner Party’ will at least encourage people to cook at home.  And that’s may be, but really!

Maybe I am old-fashioned but the whole idea of people gathering around and spending the evening on mobiles or computers…. they might as well stay at home and cook for themselves, and then tweet in comfort!

To me a dinner party is about the people, yes the food is important and we will always strive to make it the best, but sometimes it doesn’t work and that’s OK.  The most important thing of all is that it is friends meeting, sharing, laughing, enjoying.  Do we not all spend enough time on computers and phones as it is, they have become a complete intrusion on our lives!

Years ago, when I was a city singleton there was a group of six of us who used to get together every second month for what we euphemistically called the ‘Gourmet Girls’ group.

The rules were very simple…. who ever was the host did the main course and got to decide on the theme (and the themes at times were interesting!), then two others did starter and dessert, and the other three did wine!  The only other rule was that you had to cook something you had never cooked before!  Yes, there were huge successes (I still remember Mary’s Cardamom Icecream – that was an Indian themed night) and there were some disasters too!  Some big challenges… I forget who decided to do Lebanese cuisine, but I was on wine and was determined to get some Lebanese wine… I eventually found a Lebanese restaurant in Ballsbridge and they very kindly sold me a couple of bottles on an ‘off-licence’ basis!  This was all pre-Celtic Tiger and pre all sorts of ethnic restaurants being in Dublin.

In the latter two years of our Gourmet evenings we even produced an end of year recipe book…. I still have those books…. I must try that icecream again!

So is it just me, or has the world gone completely crazy and obsessive with regard to twittering, facebook, etc????

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