Alpaca Knitter's Yarns & The Magic of Unicorn Yarn

02/20/2020
by Michelle Just

Alpaca Knitter’s Yarns
& The Magic of Unicorn Yarn

Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but we LOVE Alpaca Knitter’s yarns, and we especially love working with our dyed Unicorn Yarns. Every batch of Unicorn Yarn is unique, and each new colorway inspires heaps of new project ideas.


Why Alpaca Yarn?

Alpaca yarns are strong, yet soft. Like other alpaca products, the fiber used in Alpaca Knitter’s Yarns is a great insulator, meaning that hats, mittens, and afghans made out of alpaca yarn will keep you warmer in cold weather, than synthetic fibers and many other natural fibers. Don’t discount alpaca in warmer weather, either, as alpaca yarns make for breathable lightweight garments as well. A sportweight alpaca yarn could be the best choice for your next fluttery spring shawl. Our current blend of Knitter’s Yarns (70% US Alpaca and 30% US Merino Wool) is a much more sustainable, renewable choice when compared to yarns made out synthetics like acrylic! 
 

While everyone’s preferences differ, we’ve put together a table that will jumpstart your Alpaca Knitter’s Yarn know-how!

Sportweight Alpaca Yarn in natural and unicorn colors is suitable for a variety of projects. We've used sportweight yarn to make accessories like lightweight beanies and scarves, but sportweight yarn is also the perfect weight for craft projects like amigurumi!

DK Weight Alpaca Yarn is an incredibly versatile yarn, with just a bit more weight than Sportweight. The go-to yarn for our resident crocheter, DK yarn promises to make a warm and cozy hat, and works up quickly for larger projects like blankets.

Bulky Weight Alpaca Yarn more than lives up to its name. It glides across your knitting needles or crochet hooks like butter! Think thick cables and oversized cowls. Some chunky knit stockings are on our crafting to-do list for this year!


Unicorn-spiration

If you're trying to think of a project to keep you busy on the cold and dreary days of winter, take some inspiration from our past projects! We love all our knitter's yarns, but as you can see, we REALLY love working with Unicorn Yarn!

Article: Mike and Sean's Adventures in Retail

02/20/2020
by Michelle Just

Mike and Sean's Adventures in Retail

Carolina Alpaca Celebration 2020 Edition

 

Mike and I spent last weekend attending and vending at the Carolina Alpaca Celebration in Concord, North Carolina. This year thousands upon thousands of alpaca enthusiasts attended the show to see the alpacas, watch some judging, and check out the latest and greatest alpaca product offerings. In my 15 years of attending and vending at alpaca shows, this was by far the most general public I’ve seen in attendance. Hats off to the Carolina Alpaca Celebration show committee for getting the word out to the general public!

Normally 99% of our time spent at shows is talking with new alpaca farmers, showcasing our latest alpaca products to existing members, and running the fiber collection. With an overwhelming amount of general public, we spent much more time than usual hanging out with end consumers on the retail level.

Here are our main takeaways from working a more retail focused alpaca show.

The demand for the “Alpaca Brand” has never been higher!

Over 40% of our retail customers bought at least 1 item that did not contain any alpaca fiber. T-Shirts, our new Insulated Alpaca Tumblers, Keychains, and Mandala Magnets all were great add-on purchases and sold in high volume alongside our Socks, Inserts, Textured Slouch Beanies, and Fingerless Gloves. The Gift and Accessory Alpaca branded products did particularly well with retail customers under 40, and extremely well with customers under 25.

 

 

With over 250 retail transactions throughout the weekend, the add-on gift and accessory items really helped bring our average checkout amount up, boosting overall retail sales for the show.

When we asked the retail customers if they had heard of alpacas before attending the show, over 80% of them were at least a little familiar with alpacas!

Educational Signage and Banners Helped Sell!

From 9am until 4pm on Saturday we had anywhere between 5 and 12 people inside our booth browsing and shopping our alpaca wares. One thing we noticed quickly was that having good signage that quickly conveyed the benefits of alpaca, the story behind our business, and what makes our alpaca products stand out in a crowd, allowed us to close more sales without individually guiding each customer through the process.

This proved hugely beneficial with the amount of foot traffic walking through the show and our booth, allowing us to answer specific questions while checking out customers.

Signage that proactively answers the most common questions about our products put in prime spots throughout the booth really helped us sell more throughout the weekend.

Repeat Customers are a Testament to Good Products!

This was our 5th year attending the Carolina Alpaca Celebration Show and it was great to reconnect with retail customers from the area who we had previously encountered in years past. Many people came up to the booth, some even wearing what they bought last year, proclaiming to us how great the product was and they were back to buy more for themselves, family and friends. That type of repeat business can’t be beat, and it’s a testament to the great properties of alpaca fiber and the quality products it goes into producing.

The biggest repeat product sales for this particular show came in Socks, Inserts, and Knitters Yarns.

Our highest volume alpaca product sellers to all retail customers were: Survival Socks, Backpaca Hikers, Textured Slouch Beanies, Knitters Yarns (led by DK Weight and Unicorn Yarn), Boot Inserts, and Fingerless Gloves.

The Story Behind the Product is so Important!

One thing we consistently heard from retail customers is that they loved that our products were Made in the USA with U.S. Grown Alpaca. By walking through the animal pens, watching the alpacas in the show ring, and then checking out the finished goods, they all felt a bit more connected to what they were purchasing and exactly who and what they were supporting. North Carolina in particular seems very interested in supporting U.S. Grown, U.S Made agricultural and textile products. We repeatedly heard retail customers asking each vendor "Where is this made?" throughout the entire weekend.

When we are at shows, we’re there to service our farms who contribute fiber and retail our finished alpaca products. It was a nice change of pace to put on our alpaca retailer hats over the weekend and get some first hand experience on things we’ve already been hearing from all of you over the years!

NEW Product Add-On: Big Cable Alpaca Blanket

02/14/2020
by Michelle Just

Last February, we spotlighted our warm and cozy Big Cable Blanket as the perfect gift to give someone you love. This Valentine's Day, we're revisiting the Big Cable Blanket as we're excited to announce a new product Add-on. 


Not only does The Big Cable Blanket now ship with a free accompanying insert that highlights the blanket's journey from farm, to fiber, to a special someone in your life, we are also offering a special add-on Gift Tag to make your blanket even more memorable. 

NEW ADD-ON: Make your gift even more special by purchasing a wooden Gift Tag. Gift Tags are made in-house out of Alder wood and measure 5 3/8" x 1 7/8". Each tag can be attached to 1 1/2" wide ribbon for easy gift wrapping!

To have a Gift Tag added to your Big Cable Blanket, simply select the Add:On - Gift Tag ($5.00) option when placing your order.
 


February is a month for romance, hot cocoa by the fire, and cozy afternoons with a good book. Treat yourself, or someone you love to the luxury of our Big Cable Alpaca Blanket, made out of Mother Nature’s Finest U.S.A. Alpaca Fiber.
 
For our Big Cable Alpaca Blanket, we started with the warmest, softest, most comfortable all natural fiber grown in the country, U.S. Alpaca.
 
The natural breathability and moisture wicking properties of the alpaca combined with the loft of the oversized cable knit pattern make a blanket that will keep you warm and comfy year round. Hearkening to throws found in the finest of hotels, its generous size, hefty weight, and lush texture, make it perfect for layering over a bed, or draping over a loveseat or sectional.
 

 
The alpaca fiber in this blanket is grown across the U.S. on alpaca farms and spun into yarn in a century old spinning mill in Massachusetts. The alpaca yarn is knit into fabric in a 3rd generation knitting mill in New Jersey. Once knit, the blankets head back to us here in the Spindle City, Fall River, MA, where we cut, sew, and finish these beautiful blankets.
 
The evident quality and finesse of this heirloom blanket truly adds more “home” to your house, making it the perfect gift for someone who has it all and appreciates the best. The Big Cable Alpaca Blanket is available in a beautiful natural white and a rich fawn, both sure to complement any decor. The only problem? You may find that you want to keep the Big Cable Alpaca Blanket all for yourself!
 

 

 

NEW Downloadable Content: February Coloring Page!

01/29/2020
by Michelle Just

Love is in the Air...

Cupid's alpaca arrow has struck these two alpacas! If you're a romantic at heart, you'll love our February coloring page!

 

Winter markets and open houses continue into the new year!... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?
We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!
 


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - February Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - February Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

January NEAFP Note: 2020 and Beyond, 23 Years of US Alpaca

01/23/2020
by NEAFP Co

 

Our January 2020 NEAFP Note Newsletter is officially out!

Topics include:

2020 and Beyond, 23 Years of US Alpaca

Harnessing Sales Momentum in the New Year

RSVP for Carolina Alpaca Celebration

2020 Spring Show Lineup

January's Winter Coloring Page

Back in Stock: Textured Slouch Beanies and Kids Mittens, & more!

Read it in full here: https://mailchi.mp/neafp/2020-january-neafp-note

2020 Spring Alpaca Shows

01/08/2020
by Michelle Just

Each year NEAFP participates as a vendor in many alpaca shows scattered across the country. We are happy to haul your fiber back to our mill for free (RSVP with the links below!) We also deliver orders for free to shows we are attending as a vendor, just place your order at least a week before the event and save on shipping costs both ways!

Please note that Third Grade Fiber is NOT Eligible for Event Collections.

 

Carolina Alpaca Celebration

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

February 15th - 16th, 2020

Concord, NC

show website

 

PAOBA Breeder's Showcase

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

March 20 - 22nd, 2020

Centre Hall, PA

show website

 

North American Alpaca Show - Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

April 4th-5th, 2020

Springfield, MA

show website

 

MAPACA Jubilee

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

April 24th - 26th, 2020

Harrisburg, PA

show website
 

Stay tuned as more shows are added throughout the year!

Article: Harnessing Holiday Sales Momentum in the New Year

01/07/2020
by Michelle Just


Alpaca farm stores across the nation report that 2019 was a record year for sales of alpaca goods, and it’s no surprise that the holidays were a huge sales driver. However, many business owners find that sales fall flat after the holiday season. The fall festivals and Christmas markets that are a touchstone of the season certainly make it easier to find customers and connect them to the gifts they are searching for. Though it may require some extra legwork, the diligent alpaca farmer can find ways to harness their holiday sales momentum into the New Year.

 

Remember What You're Selling


Unlike some holiday gifts, alpaca products go hand-in-hand with cold weather. Don’t forget that winter only officially began on December 21st! It will be a long winter, and it’s bound to get colder and snowier. Alpaca socks, gloves, and hats, among other products, are naturally soft, strong and warm, making them great winter insulators! Warm, cozy alpaca clothing and accessories are a no brainer, but cold winters spent inside are also great times to knit. Alpaca yarns are a great item to market during the winter to your crafty customers.

Communicating the benefits of alpaca with potential customers can make or break a sale. Perhaps your customer received a pair of new snow boots for Christmas. Make their boots last longer and feel even warmer with a pair of alpaca boot inserts, by stressing alpaca’s moisture wicking and odor resistant properties!
 

Using clear marketing collateral at your farm or market booth can really help communicate the benefits of alpaca to your customer base. You can find a number of such posters in the Marketing & Collateral section of our website (which can be viewed when signed into your shopping account).

 

Market to the "New Year" Mentality



 

“New Year, New You!” so the saying goes! Even before the holiday decor comes down, stores begin stocking up on cleaning products, exercise equipment, and health foods. For many, the New Year is synonymous with a lifestyle change, and resolutions mean a fresh start focusing on self-care. All-natural alpaca fiber is a healthy choice for clothing and accessories, as it’s naturally hypo-allergenic and odor resistant without the use of treatments and finishes. U.S. grown and made alpaca is renewable, sustainable, and beneficial for the climate at every stage of its life cycle. This makes it a perfect fit for customers hoping to to support slow, feel-good fashion and local small businesses as part of an overall lifestyle change.  As an alpaca farmer and local business owner, it's your job to educate your customers on the power of their dollar and the meaningful story behind U.S. Grown, U.S. Made Alpaca.

 

 

 

Reward Your Biggest Fans

 


For those who have received cash under the tree or in their stockings, a pair of alpaca socks could be the perfect gift. Incentivize post-holiday sales by offering a promotion to your customers. Even the most shopped-out shopper may not be able to resist a good deal! Utilize your growing email list and social media fanbase to market directly to your best customers and supporters. This could be through offering free shipping, a storewide sale, or a free gift with purchase. Even better? Take account of your inventory and discount your slower moving products with your own New Year's clean sweep. Not only will your customers appreciate the markdown, but you'll be able to make room in your inventory for the essentials in the upcoming year.

 

Plan for Upcoming Holidays

 


Now is the time to start planning for smaller holidays like Valentine's Day, and even events like the Superbowl. The National Retail Federation found that in 2019, planned celebrations of Valentine’s Day were down, but spending was up. If trends for 2020 compare to those of 2019, an increasing number of shoppers will search for experiential gifts, rather than a bouquet of flowers or boxes of candy. As we noted in a previous article, farmers have found agritourism to be widely successful source of income. Your farm could host a one-on-one meeting with an alpaca on Valentine's Day, or be the backdrop for a wine tasting, paint night, or other romantic event.


 

Reflect on 2019 and Prepare for the New Year

 


Even though sales may be down in comparison to November or December, it’s not the time to go silent. Be sure to continue marketing your products on social media, which is reportedly surpassing email marketing to become the most powerful marketing channel available. If possible, follow up and thank holiday shoppers, and ask them for a review on social media! Positive reviews can help drive business in your slow season, and you may simultaneously remind previous customers that they need to reorder something from you in the new year!

Remember, a dip in sales is to be expected after the holiday season, especially as the NRF reports that holiday sales represent about 20-30% of annual sales for most retailers. Use your downtime to plan for the following year. This may be through budgeting, or by creating new content for your social media page with the help of a social media calendar.

Consider what did well for you in the previous year, and what you could improve on. Think about the pop-up markets and events you attended - how were their sales compared to previous years? Make a list of pros and cons of each and start planning your calendar for the upcoming show season. Were there certain products that did well, or months that sales fell flat? If possible, find a way to highlight what you did well and troubleshoot what went wrong before things pick up again next fall... and don't forget to congratulate yourself for the job well done in 2019!

Cheers to 2020!
 



We hope that these Business Resource Blog Posts have been helpful. Is there a topic you'd like us to cover in a future post? Write to us at support@neafp.com

 

NEW Downloadable Content: January Coloring Page!

01/06/2020
by Michelle Just

Although the holidays are over... the cold and snow are here to stay!

The alpacas are itching to get out and play. Even if there's no snow on the ground, the January coloring page will give you the chance to play by putting the finishing touches on the alpaca's snowman!

 

Winter markets and open houses continue into the new year!... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?
We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!
 


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - January Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - January Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

U.S. Alpaca Holiday Gift Guide

12/12/2019
by Michelle Just

Still Searching for the Perfect Holiday Gift?

If you're like us, you might have put off some (or all) of your holiday shopping. We've put together a gift guide to make giving a little more joyous! Take a look at these top picks for all the people on your list. 

All these U.S. Alpaca items are available at a farm store near you, just use our

store locator here: http://bit.ly/alpacafarmstores

 

 

 

 

 

NEAFP's Holiday Shipping Time Tables

12/11/2019
by NEAFP Co

Need it for the Holidays?

Believe it or not 2019 is winding down and the Holidays are just around the corner.

Here is all the most important info needed to plan ahead for those last minute orders!

NEAFP will be closed for our annual Holiday break Tuesday Dec. 24th through Thursday December 26th.

We will be back to work Friday December 27th.

Our last shipping day before our Holiday break is Monday December 23rd!

Any order that needs to ship out that day needs to be placed by 8am Monday morning to ensure shipment.

Through the holiday season, we recommend choosing UPS Ground or better for all your time sensitive orders. USPS starts to slow down in certain parts of the country and timely delivery is not guaranteed. Watch major weather patterns / snow storms as these may effect delivery times.

NEW Downloadable Content: Christmas Coloring Page!

12/05/2019
by Michelle Just

We have officially entered the holiday season...

Between sending off socks, hats, and gloves to good little boys and girls, the NEAFP elves were busy creating the December coloring page!

You're sure to be hosting open houses and participating in holiday markets, fairs, and festivals this month... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?

We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - Christmas Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - Christmas Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

Thanksgiving Shipping Schedule

11/22/2019
by NEAFP Co

NEAFP's mill and office will be closed Thursday the 28th and Friday the 29th for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

All orders placed by the end of the day on Tuesday the 26th will ship Wednesday before we close.

Any order placed after then will ship when we return to the mill starting Monday December 2nd.

Thank you and we hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Our 2019 U.S. Alpaca Holiday Ornament is here!

11/14/2019
by NEAFP Co

 

2019 Limited Edition

U.S. Alpaca Holiday Ornament

We are excited to release our 2019 U.S. Alpaca Holiday Ornament! Designed, Cut and Engraved in house by NEAFP, these ornaments are great little keepsakes to share with your customers during the holiday season.

2019 was truly the year of U.S. Alpaca so we wanted to make the alpaca take center stage in this unique one of a kind snowflake designed holiday ornament.

The snowflake patterned ornament is cut from sustainably sourced 1/4" Bamboo hardwood with the year engraved below a white acrylic alpaca inlaid into the bamboo.

We are producing them in a limited small run, once they are sold out they are gone for the 2019 holiday season! Our 2018 U.S. Alpaca ornament sold out within 4 weeks of being announced!

The 2019 U.S. Alpaca Holiday Ornament is made from sustainable Bamboo hardwood, left in its natural unfinished beauty. This ornament measures approximately 4” wide by 4” high.

Get one for yourself, a few as stocking stuffers,

or take advantage of quantity discounts and offer them to your biggest alpaca loving fans!

Available now in our Gift and Accessories category!

NEW Downloadable Content: Thanksgiving Coloring Page!

11/12/2019
by Michelle Just

We loved seeing completed Halloween coloring pages from your latest events, so we're following up with a Thanksgiving coloring page for the month of November!

You're sure to be hosting open houses and participating in holiday markets, fairs, and festivals this month... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?

We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - Thanksgiving Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - Thanksgiving Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

Free Resources: Support your Local Alpaca Farm on Small Business Saturday!

11/01/2019
by Michelle Just

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, we’ve all been inundated with marketing for the hottest deals and steals of the season. Let’s face it: as an alpaca farmer, your morning chores may prevent you from standing in line at 3am, and while the internet has allowed you to reach new customers, local community support has always been the key to your success. There’s no need to say “Bah Humbug,” however, as Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on the after-Thanksgiving shopping rush.
 


Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as a joint venture between American Express and a number of other parties, though it has since evolved and taken on a life of its own. The shopping holiday, which falls on the last Saturday of November, is now in its 10th year. Held this year on November 30th, Small Business Saturday urges consumers to shop at locally owned small and independent businesses.

Last year, the holiday drove record sales to small businesses, while also illustrating the joys of shopping small, as “96% of consumers who reported shopping on Small Business Saturday said the day makes them want to Shop Small all year long, not just during the holiday season.”1

Why Does Small Business Saturday Matter?

  • In 2018, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high of an estimated $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.
  • Small businesses comprise 99.9% of all United States businesses. 
  • Small businesses employ over 58.9 million people in the U.S.A.
  • Small businesses invest more of their revenue into the local economy, community, and employees, and are more likely to be socially and civically engaged in the community.
  • Locally owned businesses are often more invested in the financial wellbeing of their employees, while shopping at big box companies drives income inequality.2
     

As an alpaca farmer, you are already in your prime sales season, so seize the day and host an event, join a market, or have an open house on Small Business Saturday! Be sure to let your customers know the benefits of shopping local!

Free Resources:

Click Here --> Downloadable Shop Small Alpaca Banner

Click Here --> Downloadable Shop Small Alpaca Infographic

Click Here --> Downloadable Shop Small Alpaca Logo

 


The American Express Website has some free resources available for businesses to gear up for Small Business Saturday:

Customizable Marketing Materials: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/studio?intlink=us-mer-sbrc-sbs-studio
Shop Small Map: https://merchant-global.americanexpress.com/login/public-profile

 

1,2. Statistics from https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/about?linknav=us-loy-homepage-learnmore & https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/2018-Small-Business-Profiles-US.pdf

Happy Halloween from everyone here at NEAFP!

10/30/2019
by NEAFP Co

Happy Halloween!

BOLD Cable Beanie is new and improved!

10/18/2019
by NEAFP Co

**2019 Update**

This classic alpaca hat just got better. We've completely overhauled the design of the Cable Knit Beanie to make it softer, warmer, and more comfortable to wear. The fit has been improved so it wears like a typical beanie style hat and an inner headband lining has been added. The lining helps block the wind and keep your ears and neck warm while the top of the hat still breaths so you don't over heat. Soft, warm, and stylish!

 

Available in Black, Denim Blue, Mulberry, Slate Grey, & Royal Purple

Article: Tools and Topics for Implementing Healthy Soil Agriculture

10/17/2019
by NEAFP Co

Healthy Soil
 
For the past year I have been implementing Healthy Soil Practices on my farm with exciting results including lower feed costs and healthier animals.  I am most excited to see a clear roll for alpacas in the climate battle we are currently facing.  Alpacas among other things are grazers that help maintain pasture while producing a number of climate friendly products.  It is my belief that every farm should consider a herd of alpaca not only for  the revenue they generate but the climate friendly benefits they provide.  I've written a whitepaper that discusses the benefits of Healthy Soil and the barriers to entry.  Please take the time to read the paper and email your thoughts to me.  I would be very interested in them.
 
Thank you for your time,
Chris Riley
chris@neafp.com
President
New England Alpaca Fiber Pool
 

 

NEW Downloadable Content: Halloween Coloring Page!

10/11/2019
by Michelle Just

As the weather gets cooler, you're sure to be hosting open houses and participating in markets, fairs, and festivals. Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?

We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - Halloween Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - Halloween Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

Article: Successful Social Media Marketing for Alpaca Farms

10/09/2019
by Michelle Just

Do you have a Facebook or Instagram page for your farm or farm store? If you don't, you could be missing out on new avenues to sell your products! Perhaps you already have one but you aren't getting the traffic you were hoping for. It may seem daunting to manage multiple social media pages on top of the work you do as a farmer on a daily basis, so we've put together some tips to help you be more successful!
 

Start with a Goal or Plan in Mind
   

As you begin exploring social media marketing, take a moment to decide what you want to gain out of the experience. Your business pages on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms can serve you and your customers in a number of capacities, so it is easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities.

You may decide to:

  • Use your social media presence to bring more physical traffic to your farm and farm store
  • Use social media as an avenue to advertise or sell product directly to your consumers
  • Advertise your own public events and find other relevant ones in which you can sell your products
  • Curate a library of media (video and photography) that establishes an identity for your brand
  • Connect with your existing client base to establish an ongoing relationship
  • Discover new and untapped avenues to market your alpaca products beyond your local community
   
Understand your Audience

 

There are many active social media platforms, but which one will get you the response you’re looking for? A 2019 Pew Survey of US Adults points to YouTube and Facebook being the most popular social media platforms, but that doesn't mean you should discount the others. Take into account factors like the intended age and gender of your prospective customers. Facebook is consistently popular with both younger and older adults, while others like Instagram and Snapchat attract young adults almost exclusively. On the other hand, Pinterest users are more than 3 times more likely to be women. 

Take into consideration the intended purpose of each platform as well. While it may behoove you to create a personal LinkedIn page as a business professional, you will be hard pressed to find customers there! Instagram and Pinterest tend to focus on the visual while Twitter is textual. Knowing the difference between each platform can help you cater your content to your intended audiences.

Be sure to utilize the various analytics pages available to monitor your page performance. Facebook and Instagram analytics provide useful information, including when people visiti your page or posts, what is most popular, and who your audience is based on their age and location. Use this information to hone your social media marketing skills!

 

Be Responsive
   
Think of social media as another avenue for conversation. Customers will use it to chat with you, ask questions, and review your products and services. Become an active participant by "liking" comments, responding to questions in a timely fashion, and regularly posting updates about your business. You may receive negative comments or critiques regarding your services, products, or animals. If this happens, always keep a level head to prevent escalating the issue. It may be helpful to think of possible responses ahead of time. For example, if a social media follower accuses you of cruelty for shearing your animals, have a thoughtful response ready to explain why alpacas need to be sheared on an annual basis.
 
   
Rely on Visuals

 

Social media marketers find that they rely heavily on visual media when reaching out to their customers. Data on visual content marketing from the past few years illustrates that captivating visual media is necessary for high levels of customer engagement with your pages.

There are a number of ways to incorporate video and images into your social media marketing. Original content in the form of videos, shared content like related graphics and memes, as well as product, animal, and lifestyle photography are all great ways to go visual. Videos should be short enough to keep the attention of your viewers and photographs and images should be at a high enough resolution to be viewable!

Don't think that visuals are that important? They certainly are if you're hoping to create a paid ad for Facebook. If you plan to promote your business through a paid Facebook News Feed ad, only 20% of the image can have text on it, or it will not pass through Facebook's filters!

 

Stay on Schedule
   
Timing is important when it comes to social media for many reasons. Regularly posting keeps your followers interested and engaged, while platforms like Facebook have a number of built in features like post scheduling and event hosting that can help you reach your intended audiences. Here are a few ways to stay organized.

1. Create a social media calendar to keep track of when and how often you should post to social media.

Monday: Post a candid barn photo or video of an alpaca

Wednesdays: Post a photo of one of your products and a link to where it can be purchased.

Friday:  Remind your followers where you'll be selling products that weekend (ex: "Stop by the farm tomorrow from 10am-2pm!")

2. Schedule Posts in Advance during Peak Viewing Times

Did you know that people tend to check social media at certain times, and it differs between platforms? Different businesses have greater success depending on the time of day as evidenced by this chart on prime Instagram posting times.

Hootsuite found in their research that the best time to post to Facebook for Business to Consumer brands is 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Take advantage of Facebook's ability to schedule posts in advance through Publishing Tools. That way, you can make sure your content gets out there and better yet-- you don't forget to post it on your busiest days!

3. Schedule and Share Facebook Events

If you're planning a farm event, be sure to create a Facebook event to organize all the pertinent information that an event-goer, potential farm visitor, or shopper may need. This includes a clear event title, thorough description, concrete location, and exact start and end times. The event can then be shared easily by both you and your followers. When setting up your event, use tags for relevant keywords. Interested parties may decide to stop by when searching for things to do using Facebook's calendar.

   

Social media is constantly evolving, and while it can be hard to keep up, understanding the ways that these platforms can work for you can make your business more successful in the long run!

We hope that these Business Resource Blog Posts have been helpful. Is there a topic you'd like us to cover in a future post? Write to us at support@neafp.com