Tweak Your Biz » Growth » Facebook Case Study: Oldfarm Pork Proves It’s Not About Numbers

Facebook Case Study: Oldfarm Pork Proves It’s Not About Numbers



When it comes to talking about social media, It’s unfortunate that so much focus remains on big brands and is concentrated around the numbers. Numbers (fans, followers etc) are by themselves a poor indicator of social media success.

So when I came accross a small business called Oldfarm Pork really proving this point – I knew I had to share their story. Here’s Margaret O’Farrell on how social media is helping her to grow their wonderful business:

Oldfarm Pork

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

Clarence, one of our orginal three pigs.

My husband Alfie had grown to enjoy his three pigs so much that he could not resist, so between the following September and March that year he bought 4 sows. We now had a production plant, as not long after we had 42 baby pigs!  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.

A business is born

In March 2009 we sent our first pig to the abattoir.  The meat was delicious and while we shared most of it with our family and friends we also sold some on, and got great feedback on the meat. While initially the pig-rearing was for our own benefit. Our employment circumstances changed in late summerof 2009, which meant that Oldfarm Pork has now become more of an artisan business.

  • We raise rare-breed, free-range pigs, and sell pork/bacon via a ‘box’ system.
  • Customers order a ‘box’ of €50 or €100 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, killing only when we have sufficient orders.

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

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

Starting out on Facebook

I will admit that I did not come to Facebook easily, I perceived it as intrusive and lacking in privacy! Eventually, I had to succumb to Facebook.  I am still skeptical and only use it on a personal level as a means to play Scrabble with friends at home and abroad!

Dobby, who is a grandson of Clarance above

I started the Facebook page on 18th January 2010 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 since.

  • Again I used the ‘family and friends’ route to get our initial fan base, within a week or two we had c 20 fans.
  • Since that initial flurry our fan base has built slowly, but consistently.
  • At this stage we have 394 fans, 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!

In January this year (2011) I started a Twitter account. We have 280 followers on twitter. There is very little overlap on the Facebook and Twitter fans, so these are almost 700 people that I would not have been able to target otherwise.

It’s not about the numbers

I know other small businesses that get obsessed with the ‘numbers’ of fans.  However, I would rather have a lower number and have fans that engage and of course, order!  I have had a marketing expert tell me that I should stick to only posting about the pork  and not anything else that happens around us, but I find that people do engage on a variety of topics.

50% of all orders now coming via social media

I can honestly say that we are now receiving orders from people who we don’t know, and who are fans on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

  • I would estimate that on most delivery runs now 50% of orders are coming through both these media.
  • On a recent run, we delivered to someone who has been a fan on Facebook for over a year, and he finally got around to ordering now!

What I’ve learnt so far:

  1. Having a Facebook/Twitter business page, is a time commitment. You do need to devote time to it every day.
  2. It is a challenge to find something interesting and worthwhile to upload on a daily basis. I am constantly looking at other websites, and using other social media outlets to find things that I consider worth posting on the site.
  3. You want to keep it ‘business-like’ but you also want to generate, conversation, debate and comments!
  4. Recognising the ‘right’ time to post is 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!
  5. You also need to devote time to looking at other Facebook business pages, and to comment on them – again just to raise your profile.

As I have previously said it has been a learning curve! But Facebook in conjunction with other social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging can be useful for a food business….. you can reach your consumer and have a conversation.  I can only recommend social media as a good marketing tool especially for food producers.

Are you a small business using social media?

Please share your experience in the comments below

 



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The Author:

Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (TweakYourBiz.com, BizSugar.com & MyKidsTime.ie) to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care. http://tweakyourbiz.com/

Add Your Comment

  • Anonymous

    Great post Niall and one very relevant to a discussion we’re both involved in at the moment. Are there any examples or case studies highlighting real life examples of where businesses or organisations have been seriously affected. It would be great to be able to share these stories with people who just don’t get it.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    There are and I’ve heard them! Unfortunately people and businesses refuse to share them because of the embarrassment involved. I would actively encourage them to, because they would actually be performing a service to others?

  • http://twitter.com/ConSkinn Conor Skinnader

    Facebook obviously don’t police it very heavily or we’d hear more about businesses with profile’s having their profile removed. I imagine it will happen more in the future, but this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of TOS violations as many businesses are running Facebook competitions on the walls of their business pages which also violates their TOS.

  • http://www.jabit.com John

    Nice post Niall. You are, I feel, missing one very important point and that is “how many people did NOT become friends with the business because it is set up as a personal profile as opposed to a business page?”. I for one NEVER accept friend requests from businesses using personal profiles because if I do the business, who would now be my facebook friend, could see my family pics, my conversations with my ‘real’ friends, tag me, etc. That’s WAY too much information I want to share with any business.

  • Anonymous

    there must be case studies out there, where the names have been changed or removed to protect identity.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Great point John, You are right of course. In saying that, many people are still prepared to become friends with businesses and they shouldn’t because of the reasons you’ve outlined. I heard one story last week where a business refused to change because they didn’t want to give up being able to e-mail their friends directly with offers etc. In other words, they wanted to be able to SPAM.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    You are absolutely right! TOS violations are epidemic at the moment. It’s a pity because it a great tool for biz if used properly, rather than the lazy way that many people and businesses currently are. If you don’t want to built community on Facebook, well don’t be on there!

  • Tori Hawthorne

    Brilliant post Niall, its a very wide area with so many variables too.. I have never clicked that I have read terms of service without first reading the TOS, for anything… I look for the TOS or T&C’s for everything. Some people may think I am a stickler for rules but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. the wrong way maybe easier but it usually causes more problems in the long run.nTori

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks Tori, Right also happens to be far the smartest way here :)

  • Paul Brugger

    Hi Niall,nnI recently did a local survey on Cork Business on Facebook (http://on.fb.me/fqvOrv) out of 50 businesses I think there is 2 with a profile (and one of those has 4,500 friends so will soon have to create a page!). So hopefully the message is getting through. Some great points above.nnCheers,nnPaul

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    Brilliant post Niall, and with your permission I’d like to use it in my upcoming Social Media for Business course in Clane after Easter. nnI’ve often messaged profiles who sent friend request to let them know why I would NOT accept their request and included links to the T&Cs and the Help Centre so that they would then have the knowledge to do it themselves if they so wished.nnI’ve been accused of “causing” profiles to be shut down by some of them when they have lost over 1500 “friends” because FB has caught up with them.nnThe other thing in question here is: if they are bending the rules with this, where else in their business are they doing it?

  • http://www.fb.com/CalypsoIT Karen

    I feel really strongly about this Niall. I have a 14 y.o. daughter, she now knows about good facebook practice but many of her friends have added local businesses, shops, clubs etc. as friends and don’t know how to restrict their privacy. The people behind these profiles can then see all their status updates and maybe photos. I have pointed this out to certain businesses/organisations and they have reacted badly telling me to mind my own business and refuse to give their name.nI set up this page to help people to be aware of this problem: http://www.facebook.com/UnfriendFakeProfiles – but it has been laughed at by some :-(

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks Karen, This is ultimately and seriously the significant point in all of this and most businesses are missing it?

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Paul, here’s how they can do without losing their friends: nhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate

  • Guest

    When it comes to people privacy and possibly safety, you can’t be too careful!

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Niall,nThank you for putting this into the public domain, again. Yes, some people will not listen (there is a person behind EVERY business page) and there is little we can do after being blue in the face trying to share best practice with them, but this issue goes beyond best practice.nI agree with the sentiments below about children connecting to businesses, willy nilly, without thought. I have checked all the profiles of all children I am connected with and not one of them have any security on their pages.nSo much for education. Horrible things will happen before young people are protected and informed. And I mean as young as 6-7 yrs.nHonestly, we just have to keep trying, in our own capacity to educate young people, and educate others about best practice.nnWell done!

  • Derbhile

    That’s it, Niall, hit them where they live. As the new page layouts kick in on March 10th, this is a timely post about the importance of embracing pages and above all to use FB to build relationships, not just collect friends like accessories. n

  • Agove

    Great read, Niall.

  • http://www.teethingsos.com Ailish Gray

    The problem is that if you are new to Facebook, you don’t know this and plough on with just getting the job done. If you are not familiar with Facebook, it is a bit daunting and the information they give in their help sections is brief and unhelpful. New business could to with a step by step ‘how to’ guide to Facebook.

  • Matthew Goldsbrough

    Everything you said about Facebook, Niall, applies to LinkedIn too. Companies should be setting up a company page, but instead set up a profile or group for the company, neither of which makes sense.

  • Karen101

    a quick google search “facebook for business” brought up this: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=721 The information is there, if people want to look for it…… if in doubt, google it.

  • Paul Brugger

    Excellent Niall – I thought you had to contact FB to do that (and that is wasn’t very sucessful).

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you Elaine, you said what I was afraid to and I admire you for it!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    You are right of course, Matthew, however as Elaine points out, there are many children on FB which makes it a more serious error in my opinion. Thanks for your comments!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    I take your point Aisling and Facebook need to take a more active role in this, in saying that however, the info is there as Karen points out below.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks Karen and I completely agree!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Derbhile, I knew you would be on my side :)

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Paul, you are right of course, privacy and online are difficult bed fellows, however I think it reasonable to expect businesses in particular to play by the rules?

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you Mairead and keep fighting the good fight! Please feel free to use the post.

  • http://www.perfectplansforlife.com/ Breda Stackpool

    Brilliant Points Niall. This is a topic that I try to push home in a course I present, Social Media: The Starting Point.nI find “The what we donu2019t know wonu2019t hurt us syndrome” , to be the most frequent response. I believe that if you are going to use social media platforms for your buisness then you should take some time to educate yourself on the “terms and conditions”. At the end of the day its a business decision to put a page up so should be taken as seriously as any other decision.n

  • http://www.cgonlinemarketing.com/ Christina Giliberti

    Hi Niall,nnOn trend as usual ; 0 )nThis is a huge debate subject and has come up in conversations quite a bit of late.nnIts easy for businesses to set up a profile as opposed to a page. FB don’t check before accepting and they don’t patrol information as well as they should. So businesses are opting for a profile page and getting away with it.nnI’ve had discussions with clients and companies on the reasons why, as I’m a firm believer in understanding the reasons before coming up with a solution.n1) Businesses like the fact that friends can easily message them. This increases ROI for last minute sales.n2) They are more familiar with profiles as opposed to Business pages (you mentioned this above). Too many options on offer. Should be Are you a business? Set up a page.n3) Friends sounds better than fans (yep, thats a reason!)nnSo how can we persuade them to change? Can we first look at migrating pages and listing the benefiting of using a business page? Should we undertake a survey to gain wider feedback of qualitative data?n

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Christina, nThanks for your comments, here’s my response to:n1) Some businesses also like the fact that they easily message friends, in other words, they like that they can spam people?n2) They are more familiar with profiles because they haven’t used pages, which is what they should be doing if they are a businessn3) Friends sounds better than fans, A business is not a person, it can’t have friends.nThere is lots of information as to the benefits, for instance every successful FB business case study out there is from a page, not a profile. You can find this info inside of a few seconds by simply searching for it? This is not a choice, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that it is. Businesses shouldn’t need be persuaded to use a page, using a profile is not an alternative.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    “At the end of the day its a business decision to put a page up so should be taken as seriously as any other decision” nnThis is the point exactly!nnThank you Breda

  • Sssmithhh1

    Karen, I’m interested in learning more about this as a non-business user. I tried to frind your : http://www.facebook.com/Unfrie… on facebook but there are a lot of “Unfriend” pages – and I couldn’t see yours. could you please post the full address?

  • Davidfitzgerald

    Niallnnvery informative post and one to take to heart. nnAcknowledging that ignorance is “”not bliss” I would also suggest that many business do not really understand the social media culture and frequently aren’t aware of the full implications of adopting social media strategies.nnUntil enduring the humiliation /aggrevation of having a site banned the stakes may not be immediately visable to the unsuspecting business.(like catastrophic data loss)nnI think there is a very strong case for professional management of social media, or at least strategic planning for users who are naieve in these matters (me being a major example). nnIt seems there is alot of buzz /emperors clothes phemonena around the social media topic but self directed dabbling would appear to be a dangerous business.nnAs a fan of process diagrams I think it would be very helpful for those involved with local enterprise/ business consultancy to demonstrate these aspects ane for naieve users to see it laid out bare. nI also think it would be a great marketing tool for anyone who produced it (unsubtle hint!).BTWnnThanks for the tips NiallnnCheersnnDavid

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks David, great comment! nnThere are a set of rules that all businesses must play by, examples: If business chooses to use Facebook, they must use a page. Use pull rather than traditional push strategies online etc. However, to really leverage the power of new media will ultimately mean that your strategy and process should ultimately be as unique as your business and products, It’s like an extension of your U.S.P. nnBusinesses who are naturally great at social media are already social businesses to begin with, it’s not something that you can really fake, consumers are too smart! nnI think getting someone who knows to guide you makes sense, they can act almost like a translator but the seeds for the ideas, strategies and processes should remain in the ownership of the business and it’s people. I usually find, it’s more a case taking what’s already there and extending it. Sometimes this starts by simply reminding a business of their reasons for starting the business. nnWhat was your vision? How can we share it? How can we make it resonate? And how can we use your online presence to identify and support people, internally and externally who might share that vision?

  • http://profiles.google.com/101.mccarthy Karen McCarthy

    Hi Sssmithh1 – if you click on the link, it will bring you there. Here it is again:nwww.facebook.com/UnfriendFakeProfile

  • Declan Gray

    NiallnnI hadn’t seen this particular post before but it’s refreshing to see somebody with a bit of passion that talks SENSE. Ireland is still in the dark ages when it comes to the benefits for businesses on Social Media platforms. As you said ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ or is it just a fear of the unknown . . . .

  • http://twitter.com/DIYMarketers Ivana Taylor

    I wish there were more stories just like this one.  I can’t tell you how many times companies I work with say that social media isn’t for them.  Of course it’s not for every business, but I applaud Oldfarm Pork for being open to the possibility and not letting the standard measurement of success drive their business success.

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairéad Kelly

    It is great to see a business doing well on Social Media without a huge following.  Even better to hear that at first Oldham Pork resisted both mediums to grow their business, but they now see the positive results of it.

    I’ve been talking to somebody on Linked In recently who said both Facebook and Twitter are a waste of time, he dislikes them.  My belief is he just still doesn’t “get” them yet.  That and the fact that for a lot of his business Facebook might well be a waste of time but Twitter certainly wouldn’t, if he’d give it a chance.

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Niall, well
    done for getting Margaret to share her story. It’s easy to get 1000’s of
    followers on twitter if you work the system and you can buy Facebook
    “likes” through advertising. For some, these numbers are merely
    vanity, it’s not contributing to their business profitability at all, in fact I’d
    call it a social bubble. There’s a lot of nonsense talked by some social media
    and digital marketing “experts”, as there are only 2 business numbers
    that really matter, cash flow and profits. Big social media followings often
    bear no relationship to profit.

    Small can be
    profitable, bring it on Margaret. Thanks for sharing a great story!
    ~ Helen

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Niall, well
    done for getting Margaret to share her story. It’s easy to get 1000’s of
    followers on twitter if you work the system and you can buy Facebook
    “likes” through advertising. For some, these numbers are merely
    vanity, it’s not contributing to their business profitability at all, in fact I’d
    call it a social bubble. There’s a lot of nonsense talked by some social media
    and digital marketing “experts”, as there are only 2 business numbers
    that really matter, cash flow and profits. Big social media followings often
    bear no relationship to profit.

    Small can be
    profitable, bring it on Margaret. Thanks for sharing a great story!
    ~ Helen

  • http://www.garrendennylane.ie/blog Lorna

    Great post and case study Niall, there is so much I can empathise with here and it was lovely to see Margaret featured in the Farmers Journal this week too. From my own experiences it is from getting the word out there slowly and steadily that reaps the rewards and it is great to see them doing so well.

  • Margaret O’Farrell

    Thank you everyone for such kind comments!  It is so difficult at times to get the right balance on it all… what I consider mundane is of such interest to others looking in.  Sometimes I post a comment and think… that won’t generate any interest and next thing you have loads of comments!  It is always a balancing act.  Thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    Great stuff Niall.  My sister has a Bridal Shop and has been using Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/beautifuldaybrides) for business purposes for a long time (thankfully she switched from a Profile to a Page some time ago).  She doesn’t have a huge number of fans/likes, however I know she also gets a huge amount of benefit out of it.  I’ll see if I can get her to share some thoughts with me and I’ll submit it as a future blog post.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you, Ivana, If you are to consider customers to fans ratios, I reckon it’s one of the most effective Facebook pages that I have come across. 

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Helen, I loved your comment on Twitter:

     “likes are for vanity, sales are for sanity!”

    I might borrow that one, if it’s OK with you? 

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Helen, I loved your comment on Twitter:

     “likes are for vanity, sales are for sanity!”

    I might borrow that one, if it’s OK with you? 

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Lorna, I know you are another who believes in really engaging with your community on Facebook.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Lorna, I know you are another who believes in really engaging with your community on Facebook.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Lorna, I know you are another who believes in really engaging with your community on Facebook.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Lorna, I know you are another who believes in really engaging with your community on Facebook.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Mairead, I’m not sure If I understand you correctly? A lot of people/businesses waste their time on Facebook, but I don’t agree that Facebook is a waste of time for a lot of businesses.  

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Mairead, I’m not sure If I understand you correctly? A lot of people/businesses waste their time on Facebook, but I don’t agree that Facebook is a waste of time for a lot of businesses.  

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    That would be super, Frank. The more examples we can share of small businesses getting real results, the better!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    That would be super, Frank. The more examples we can share of small businesses getting real results, the better!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    That would be super, Frank. The more examples we can share of small businesses getting real results, the better!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, Margaret!

    I’ve already had a lot of positive feedback from people, saying that they learnt a lot from you so, well done and may I wish you and Oldfarm continued success. 

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairéad Kelly

    Facebook is not suitable for all businesses (my Linked In contact being one), his is more suited to Linked In as his clients don’t use Facebook.

    It also doesn’t help that he has a very negative and dismissive attitude to both Facebook and Twitter, so from the get-go he would not get the best from them.

    I also meant that a lot of people waste their time on Facebook by not using it properly, that and the fact that they don’t really know what they are doing on it, what outcomes they want.  They go on because “everyone” says its a great way to get business, but they don’t devise a proper strategy for it.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    49% of the Irish population over 15 yrs of age are on Facebook. Does he actually know that don’t include his clients or is that just an assumption on his behalf?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marky.burrows Marky Boy Burrows

    Hi

    I love your article as we too keep pigs but it is our Chicken business that has a similar story to you.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg, well for us it
    was definitely the chicken. We got our first chickens from a garden centre over
    20 years ago and have been keeping them ever since.

     

    9 years ago we took the huge decision to move from our
    nice little council house where we had lived for 14 years to a smallholding in
    rural Lincolnshire to follow our dream and have a go at living the good life.

     

    We took 6 chickens with us and quickly added to this number,
    now we had more room for them. It has been a great experience and I have no
    regrets about doing it.

     

    Our front paddock borders the main road so it has been
    easy to sell the surplus eggs which in turn pays for the chicken feed and with
    over 50 chickens that’s quite a lot of eggs.

     

    However events would happen that would literally change
    our lives. A couple of years ago a big national company took over the local
    rest home where my wife worked part time, she had worked there for over 4 years
    and as well as getting her out the house so to speak it gave her her own little
    bit of money. Within 2 months of the takeover nearly half the staff had been
    sacked for one reason or another and they made life so unbearable for the
    remainder that Sharon said enough is enough and reluctantly left.

     

    The problem was she missed her own bit of money but as
    the nearest town is 9 miles away it would be nigh on impossible to find another
    part time job.

     

    From time to time people would call because they had seen
    the chickens in the front field and would ask if we had any chickens for sale
    but of course we use to say that we only sell the eggs, however a while after
    Sharon had become a lady of leisure I suddenly had a thought why not start a
    small business selling a few chickens that would enable Sharon to have her own
    pocket money again and she would be doing something we both really loved.

     

    As there was no real competition locally we felt sure it
    would be a success so we decided to go for it. We bought some breeding stock of
    rare and pure breeds and set about setting things up.

     

    I made a huge sign and put it up by the road side and as
    the chickens became ready they sold as quick as we could breed them but it was
    a slow process, as word spread it became harder to keep up with demand, however
    it was only a hobby business so we just left it to tick over.

     

    Fast forward to about 9 months ago when because of the
    increasing demand we began to see the huge possibilities with the business and
    decided to expand it. I said it would be good if we supplied birds that wernt
    available locally and instead of doing the rare and pure breeds we wanted to do
    hybrid (cross breeds) chickens that were friendly, good egg layers, and lived a
    long life. After about 50-60 phone calls we found a reputable supplier who
    would deliver the chickens at 16 weeks old ready to sell, they were fully
    vaccinated and there were 12 different types to choose from so could cater for
    everyones taste.

     

    The chickens proved very popular and so with the help of
    my son in law we built a website showing all the chickens we sold and it became
    very popular and got us a lot of enquiries.

     

    However it was when we started using social media that
    the business really started to take off, in particular the use of Facebook. In
    January this year I did a Facebook Fanpage or Like Page as they are now called
    and called it I Really Love Keeping Chickens. Within only 4 weeks and a lot of
    hard work we had nearly 1000 fans on the page. As well as engaging with all our
    fans we have recently started using it as a marketing tool and we encourage
    everyone who buys chickens here to post pictures and testimonials of their new
    chickens, also we have added a Special Offers section with paypal buttons for a
    couple of products and are now making sales straight off the fanpage. Everyone
    loves the page and it now has a fan base of nearly 2300 and rising.

     

    What is interesting is that other people are now taking
    notice of the page and are saying if he can do that with chickens then surely
    we could do that with our business.

     

    Facebook is great for promoting your businesss and I am
    now known as “The Chicken Guy” but we are now looking at other forms
    of social media such as Twitter, Squidoo, stumbleupon and others.

     

    It has been a great journey for us and we are now
    generating nearly a full time income.We are currently working on a shopping
    cart for all things chicken

     

    We now really want to take the whole thing to the next
    level using the internet and social media.

     

    Our main site which sits happily on the first page of
    google out of 13.9 million competing pages is http://www.chickens-for-sale.com

     

    Our very popular Blog also on the first page of google is
    http://www.ilovekeepingchickens.com

     

    Our Facebook Fanpage http://www.facebook.com/ilovekeepingchickens

     

    Our shoppng cart is http://ilovekeepingchickens.com/shop-online/

     

    So hopefully a bright future for me Sharon and Chicken
    House Poultry

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairéad Kelly

    It’s the TYPE of business he is in that is not suitable for Facebook and his business is global, not national.  He’s done his research, he knows the stats.  Not all businesses are suitable for Facebook or Twitter and for that matter not all businesses are suitable for Linked In.  Some mediums that work really well for one type of business won’t with another.  He knows his market really really well and uses the mediums that work for him. 

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Marky, I’m Niall, the community manager here at Bloggertone. Yours is a another great story that I would love to publish, if you are interested? Please e-mail at niall(at)bloggerttone.com or @nialldevitt:twitter on Twitter. 

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Niall, I paraphrased The Bankers Mantra on twitter. The Bankers Mantra is:”Turnover is Vanity. Profit is Sanity. Cash is Reality.”
    I wrote a blog post about this last year, http://www.xbs.ie/insights/56-insights/175-business-numbers-that-matter as I am concerned at the number of businesses that lose the profit focus. They chase numbers that don’t contribute to profit at the expense of profit – social media provides a perfect example of this. I am planning a blog post on  “likes are for vanity, sales are for sanity”, probably for here.But fire ahead and use the phrase by all means – I probably use too many puns anyway!Well done on the case study – a post of a pig, not a pig of a post.~Helen

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    lol, love it! :)

    Please write that post?

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    What a great Case Study Niall. One day I plan to travel to Old Farm and see the carry on with Clarence (or his successor) It is a fantastic story and Margaret and Alfie are perfect examples of how innovative people are getting with farming in Ireland, and of course extra ways to make income.

    A friend of mine does web site deign, only for the farming community, as it is indeed a special arena and heritage of countries like ours. But to take on social media whilst being skeptical was the best move ever! Well done to Margaret and Alfie.

    Margaret’s commented below ~ “what I consider mundane is of such interest to others looking in” can be a huge issue with people starting with social media. It can often feel like no-one is listening, and yet, the things we consider irrelevant, mundane or uninteresting, can often spark the best interaction.

    I think Social Media should be renamed “Social Interaction”

  • http://www.teamwoodcraft.com Aislinghurley

    It’s so great to read about another SME who is focused on doing business rather than playing the numbers game.  Well done Margaret and well done on spreading the good word Niall.  Great post.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you, Aisling. I’m glad you liked the post :)

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Great point about renaming it to “Social Interaction”, which I think would give people a much more accurate description as to where they need to start.  Thanks for the great comment, Elaine.  

  • Margaret Oldfarm

    Hi Folks,

    Thank you all again for your kind comments on our story.

    Just thought I’d update you on how things are going especially now which is a really busy time for us.  Here are the breakdown figures for our last 3 delivery runs – makes interesting reading!

    a.  50% Twitter/50% Other (newspaper/personal contact)
    b.  50% Twitter, 20% Facebook, 50% Other
    c.  60% Twitter, 40% Other

    Twitter is winning out all the time!

    Happy Christmas all.

    Margaret

  • Maya Hanley

    Great post, Niall. I spend ages explaining to clients and other businesses why they should have a PAGE not a PROFILE. Some of them get it. I also do as the others mention and send a message to businesses who want to be my friend, to explain why what they’re doing is not a good idea. It’s a dark art to a lot of people out there.  I shared this on my business page too.

  • http://tweakyourbiz.com/ Niall Devitt

    Great point, Elish. And nice to see how well you are handling the very unusal situation of a TYB list with you not appearing near the top….only joking of course! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/elish.bulgodley Elish Bul-Godley

    You just couldn’t help yourself there could you ! ; ) you and me both huh?

  • http://tweakyourbiz.com/ Niall Devitt

    lol, Ouch! what a come back! ;-)

  • http://www.ahaingroup.com/ Niall Devitt

    Hi Mariciel, I noticed that and the traffic has kept coming in ever since. That said, it needed to be a good post in the first instance to get those thumbs up so congratulaions again.