How To Sell Beef Online with
Ranch Wives Beef Co.
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One of the biggest “small business” avenues for cattle operations looking to diversify their operations is generally in the direct beef sales department. It allows you to use a product that you already have and disperse it in a different way - sometimes a more lucrative way.
Generally referred to as FREEZER BEEF, the process of DIRECT MARKETING BEEF has been a more local process up until recent time. You would set up a store front, go door-to-door, word-of-mouth, or friends and family to sell your product.
Unless you were considered one of the ‘Big Boys’ your market was fairly limited.
That all changes now.
Through the advent of social media your marketing opportunity has gone nationwide my friends. These amazing ladies below are blazing the social sales trail for beef producers.
I know there have been some before them, but the way they have positioned themselves and the content they create around their product is next to none. Keep reading below to learn from some real cattle boss babes!
Today, we’re going to learn more about How To Sell Beef Online
Howdy Ladies! It’s so great to have you on the blog. Go ahead and tell us about yourselves…
We are JaTanna Williams and Natalie Kovarik, the best friend duo behind Ranch Wives Beef Company. We were both born and raised in the same small town in rural Montana so we’ve known each other since we were 7 years old. We went through the elementary school together, graduated high school together and later went on to graduate with our doctorates in pharmacy together. We currently both help our husbands out on the ranch while maintaining in town employment as part time (Natalie) and full time (JaTanna) pharmacists. While we value being pharmacists and entrepreneurs, our most coveted and cherished roles are being wives and mothers. We’re both married to two hardworking ranchers and both raising ever growing families. I guess you could say we do pretty much everything in conjunction ha!
As mentioned previously we were both born and raised in the same small town in Montana. Natalie grew up on a registered Hereford ranch, so she’s been involved and grown up around ranching/agriculture since birth. JaTanna was as much of a “city girl” as one can be in rural MT. But she dated Tyler (her now husband) since high school so while her house may have been located within city limits she definitely clocked many hours out on both the Cooper and Williams ranches.
Ranches are definitely family operations, so since marriage we’ve both worked alongside our husbands helping them when and where we can. Natalie and her husband Luke have a cow/calf operation in central Nebraska and are in the beginning stages of starting their own registered Angus herd. Luke is also an area beef representative for Genex and runs a heifer development program, so Natalie helps him manage both of those operations as well.
JaTanna and her husband Tyler, a 6th generation rancher, work alongside his father and grandfather on their Angus ranch in Southwest Montana. The ranch, originally homesteaded in 1865, produces registered calves through their embryo transplant program which they started in the 1980's.
In the fall of 2017 we collectively created Ranch Wives Beef Company. The idea for it really stemmed from both of our mutual desire to be further involved in agriculture. We believe agriculture is the backbone of America and wanted to do something that brought added value to our existing operations but also helped further progress and protect the industry we love so dearly. Our mission is to deliver our customers the same trusted, home grown beef our families have been enjoying for generations.
Unfortunately, in today’s society the disconnect between the rancher/farmer and the consumer is greater than ever. We knew, in order to bridge this gap, and truly connect with our customers we would have to implement a way to tell our personal story. So, we opted to use Instagram as a means to do this.
Where did Ranch Wives Beef Co. come from and why did you choose to use social media?
The idea of Ranch Wives was formed in Fall '17, but we wouldn’t have animals ready to harvest until the spring/summer of '18. This time delay actually worked in our favor because despite lack of product, we used the extra months to create our website and build our brand. We did this via social media in an effort to build relationships as well as a solid foundation of trust. This way, when the time came and RW beef was available for purchase, people would know exactly where their “ranch direct” beef was coming from and exactly who the rancher was that cared for it.
We also started using social media to help give people who are not familiar with agriculture a glimpse of the love and care ranchers put into raising cattle day in and day out. There’s a lot of humanity behind ranching operations which we don’t feel is always conveyed to the general public. It’s important that as a younger generation we take the initiative to change the narrative that's currently being written about agriculture to reflect a more accurate portrayal of ranching and farming in America. The disconnect that the average consumer has with agriculture, especially the cattle industry, has created a wedge of misinformation. We'd like to change that!
We believe Beef is the healthiest and most beneficial form of protein to feed our families/loved ones and has gotten an inappropriate “bad rap” in recent years.
Instagram has allowed us to directly connect with consumers which helps cultivate relationships and most importantly build trust between us and our customers. This is important to do because that’s what sets Ranch Wives Beef and other ranch direct beef producers apart from their grocery store competitors.
We need to take advantage of any tools we have that help us highlight the benefits to buying direct.
For example, we use the “stories" on Instagram to give our community a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the daily happenings of our ranches. People seem to really love and connect with the authenticity this brings to our business. It’s a unique aspect for one to see how a product they consume is raised.
Another benefit is the relationships we’ve made through social media with other like minded individuals and business owners. We’ve had a lot of opportunities come our way simply from connections we’ve made on social media platforms.
Being small business owners it’s also important to get your product out in front of as many people as you can and a single post can reach thousands of people if it gets enough interest. Although the reach of Instagram posts are getting more frustrating with algorithms we believe if we stay true to our message and consistently show what we are about we can surpass the struggles the social media shuffle presents.
We have also found that social media is a great way to learn about different trade shows and events you can attend. Montana in particular has a great community within it’s Montana Made Program and we have met many of the small business owners and makers of goods through this program. The support these groups provide is unmeasurable.
Lastly, social media reach is FREE ha. As a start up with limited funds, we’ve had to be very particular in where and what we choose to invest. Anytime you can advertise your product for free is a definite win in our book.
Our main social media outlet is Instagram. We chose that platform because we both had private accounts and thus were very familiar with operating it. We also saw a lot of other business accounts across all backgrounds successfully using Instagram to advertise and sell their products.
It’s very conducive to promoting products through a feed of curated images while simultaneously using videos to shoot behind the scene stuff. It’s very straight forward to use and also fun. We see it as a creative outlet for us. It’s also easy to use as co-authors.
One of us can log in and run the account for 7 days and then simply log off and allow the other partner to log on.
We alternate weeks like this to give us a “rest” period and also allow our community to see both ranches in action. With the addition of Instagram stories we can connect to our audience in a way no other advertisement can. And as we mentioned before, we appreciate the community the app has created for us.
Not all our “followers” are customers, many are ranch wives themselves and we appreciate the support these women have provided us and the relationships we have created.
Have you seen a difference in your bottom line directly from using social media?
Most definitely. Being a new business with limited funds we decided not invest any money into marketing or advertising outside of social media. So currently, any and all sales we’ve had are directly contributed from social media or word of mouth. Promoting our product through giveaways has cost only product and shipping but has reached a greater audience. We are selective with our participation and love to get together with brands we feel compliment our own with missions like ours. We have done giveaways with local friends as well as producers of goods across America. The range at which your message spreads through a simple and well curated giveaway is unreal.
What’s your biggest piece of advice you wish you knew when you were a “newb”?
To learn to better balance time on the platform with time off of it. In order to do this we would have started using the apps such as Planoly or Plann much sooner than we did.
These are two free apps that help you set up time released photos in the future so you can schedule out posts ahead of time and not have to actively be on social media all hours of the day. Another important factor that goes into devoting limited time to “posting” is organization, so we would have started organizing our photos better.
Once you hit 10,000 photos on your iPhone it's hard to turn back!
Another thing we’d like to tell ourselves is not get caught up in the numbers. There’s a very big difference between 300 likes on your photo and 300 clicks into your website. While engagement is important it does not directly reflective the bottom line of your company. There’s a lot of businesses that have limited followers and are cash flowing much better than some companies that have thousands of followers. This is one reason we feel Pinterest is an important App for companies to promote their goods to. Pinterest does a much better job at directing flow of interest from its App to the producers web page.
Who should we all absolutely be following?
Our favorite account for business tips/tricks is: @goaldiggerpodcast She’s considered a “social media guru”, so starting out she had a lot of relevant information on how to properly use social media to promote and grow a business. We actually listen to her podcast more than anything, but she still has lots of relevant information on her social accounts. As well as being a boss babe to follow, her truism in presenting herself is so refreshing and admirable.
Our favorite “lifestyle” accounts are: @windypeakvintage and @boxwoodavenue. Kristi and Chloe have a stunning presence on Instagram. We’re both very drawn to the simple homesteading life and really value setting up our homes and raising our families in the country. We think both of these accounts portray that simple yet beautiful farmhouse lifestyle that we admire.
What is your favorite content type (image/video/etc) and why?
We believe both photos and videos have their place and purpose. As business owners, we want to be able to show the beauty of our business but also its daily ins and outs.
So while our feed is mostly comprised of aesthetically flowing ranch pictures we just as equally use videos in the Instagram stories to show life on the ranch as it truly is, unedited and unfiltered. We don’t think we’d be as successful if we had to do one without the other. Balance is important.
What is your biggest tip for gaining followers and interaction?
Authenticity is your best friend. From the beginning, we understood that we would need to highlight what sets Ranch Wives Beef Co. apart and that’s our ranches and ourselves. We are both comfortable and confident in who we are, we’re very much so what you see is what you get. So we knew as long as we honored that truth we would attract followers that wanted to be active, present and supportive of our business journey. You’ll find that through our videos we do not take ourselves too seriously. We get stuck in the mud, lose our direction in our own fields and have mom fail moments just like the rest, and we don’t mind showing that.
You ladies are definitely becoming legends in my book. I really love what you have shared here ESPECIALLY the part about not getting to caught up in the numbers. What really matters is that at the end of the day, the right people are making it to your website and clicking that “Buy Now” button. Who cares that you’re getting 300 likes if that isn’t happening?!?!
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to teach us a little more about what you do!
Do me a solid and go follow them as a big thank you for sharing here with us!