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Social media enables Virginia farmers to leverage business opportunities

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Some Virginia farmers have embraced social media as a means of promoting their businesses and engaging with customers.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok give farmers a way to share their stories far and wide, market their products and spread the word about what they do—all while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Prince William County farmer Jay Yankey didn’t even have a Facebook page a decade ago, but his wife, Sonja, convinced him their Yankey Farms needed one. Today, the farm has over 10,000 followers, and Yankey has become a believer in the power of social media.

“Facebook has been an integral part of us growing our operation,” Yankey noted, adding that he hasn’t invested in any print advertising “for a long time.”

Jay and Sonja are co-owners of the Nokesville farm, which offers U-pick strawberries and pumpkins, provides fruits and vegetables through its Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions, operates a roadside produce stand during the summer and direct-markets beef.

His posts include photos, videos and notices about whether the U-pick patch is open or what types of vegetables customers can find at the roadside stand. The advantage of using social media is that announcements are timely and can keep up with the ever-fluctuating weather affecting the crops.

“What we do changes daily, so the message needs to be changed on a regular basis,” Yankey explained. “We can get information out quickly and let people know what’s going on.”

Lynchburg flower farmer Maggie Moomaw has embraced Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to highlight the 50 different flower varieties grown on Irvington Spring Farm. After taking over operations for her parents, Ben and Kaye, she prioritized building an online presence.

“I want our farm’s social media pages to be a bright light,” she remarked. “Highlighting the beauty of flowers, the beauty of the seasons and the natural world.”

Moomaw spends a few hours each week editing photos and videos, and forming short montages with titles like “A year of flowers in 20 seconds,” and “DoorDash flower delivery now available.”

Posting on Instagram three times a week, she’s garnered nearly 7,000 followers on the platform. And although she’s used TikTok for less than a year, she’s already amassed over 12,000 followers. These fans are learning about the farm’s story, what flowers are in season and how they’re grown.

“It’s good for people to see the whole picture, that there are human hands behind all of these things.”

Moomaw believes that when used well, these platforms are another way to build trust and a connection with customers—a connection that also drives a physical footprint.

“People come to the farm, and they’re like, ‘I didn’t even know you’re in Lynchburg. I saw you on TikTok,’” she said. “In the last two years since I’ve been posting consistently and developing a brand for the farm, we’ve seen a significant increase in our sales, which has been wonderful.”



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