As I write this, the Facebook IPO has launched on Wall Street, which means it is now a publically traded company, subject to the whims of speculators, day traders and fiscal gamesmanship. As anticipated, it started high and took a nosedive on day two of trading – prerelease hype and buyer’s remorse, I suppose. As with most IPOs, this one will bounce around quite a lot on early speculation, uncertainty, market changes and all the other factors that come with going public. The anticipation and run-up to Facebook’s IPO release was beyond anything I’ve ever seen or read about, and it’s likely the largest IPO in history by any measurement. It’s important, whether or not you like Facebook or Wall Street.

Regardless of how it fares on the NASDAQ, Facebook has become integral, monolithic and undeniably important – and that includes for your business. The short-term and medium-term outlook for Facebook indicates that it’s not going anywhere, at least for the next few years. Even if you don’t believe the numbers (supposedly over 900 million users, but you can bet that the number is at least half that number of actual people; many estimates edge closer to 150 million real users at most), the audience is undeniable, and if you already use Facebook, you probably recognize how powerful it can be.

Most operations that sell direct to consumers already have a Facebook presence. If you have a farmstand or a farm market, you might have a business page.

Frankly, not having one is a liability.

More people use Facebook’s search feature every day, and if they’re looking for your business (even using a search engine like Google) and they don’t find you on Facebook, they may not only be less likely to connect with you, but also less likely to buy from you. Visitors want to check in at your business; really, they do! When they check in, they’re sharing with their network (and the world) where they are and saying, “Hey, check it out, I’m at this cool place!”

There’s a great old quote that goes, “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true,” and having a Facebook business page is where you can share your operation’s truth. It’s where you share pictures of the harvest, update the public on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, as well as connect with both customers and peers. It’s social networking, of course, and this helps you not only connect but be transparent.

It’s obviously not your only marketing tool; it’s really not even your best marketing tool (producing consistent, high-quality fruits, nuts and vegetables is always your best marketing, which you well know). However, it’s an essential means through which you can build and maintain a loyal and vocal group of supporters.

So, are you connected?

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