Andrew and Jessica Clarkson, pictured with their recent addition, Anna, use Facebook to help market their horse hay.
A group Facebook page built last year to spur hay sales in the Twin Cities’ area has done just that, says John Strohfus, the Hastings, MN, horse-hay grower who started it.
The Twin Cities Hay Exchange, now touting 1,348 members, connects hay buyers with sellers, and sales are made quickly, he reports.
“I don’t have confirmed sales, but people are posting that stuff is sold within a day or two of posting their information,” he says.
The page has also helped Strohfus sell some of his own alfalfa-orchardgrass hay that he grows on 100 acres.
“We’ve sold probably 10 semi loads of hay through this exchange. The purpose for setting up this group wasn’t for me to sell hay, but it seems to be helping everyone get connected.”
Its success is even leading Strohfus to buy a large baler to increase his harvested acres.
Members should post specific information about the hay being offered for sale, Strohfus advises. Prospective buyers want to know the hay type, the price per bale or per ton, whether it has been tested and the test results and what individual bales weigh.
“I’m very vocal about people including all of their information right away,” he says.
About 90% of the posts on the page are from buyers and sellers within 150 miles of the Twin Cities. Strohfus intended that the group cover a specific geographic region rather than have a national or several-state focus.
“I really think it’s done some good for our local market,” he says.
Other regional Facebook pages are the Wisconsin Hay Trading Group (more than 788 members); Hay Exchange Midwest (more than 2,015 members); and Hay For Sale/Wanted in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota (more than 2,248 members)
Andrew Clarkson didn’t get serious about using Facebook as a hay-marketing tool until recently. He and his wife, Jessica, grow 50-60 acres of alfalfa they sell to horse owners near their Oakley, IL, farm.
He’s joined a few large Facebook hay marketing groups and has had some success selling on those. His posts on his Clarkson Farms Facebook page have also started to bring results.
On a few occasions, Clarkson has paid for a Facebook “boost,” which allows more people to see a particular hay post in their news feeds. “It gets the word out to a lot more people.”
He’s convinced that Facebook will be an integral part of his farm’s marketing strategy for years to come as he understands how best to use it.
Twitter likely won’t be as helpful, he says. “I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around that one.”