Late in the night of July 27, a fire engulfed Anguili’s Farm Market, located outside of Youngstown, OH. Equipment, produce, and coolers are destroyed, and a propane tank exploded just as firefighters arrived, delaying efforts to douse the flames, a local newspaper reported. That same paper described the Anguili family watching destruction with tears in their eyes.
Early on Friday morning, the family posted its first Facebook notice on the fire:
It was a announcing a GoFundMe campaign to help them rebuild quickly. The goal was $10,000, and as of August 5, it amount raised was more than $16,000.
Just a few hours later another post making it clear the farm market was still open for business and plead for its customers to spread the word. It also started a new hashtag: #anguilitough
Those two appeals had a big impact. Late the follow day, Anguili posted a photo of several people putting up a hoop house and thanked an impressive list of volunteers for helping them get the temporary building up.
Over the next several days, the farm market continued to post updates and announce it was open for business.
On August 2, it posted a thank you for donated equipment from fellow farm marketers, Catalpa Grove Farm, Less & Less Farm and Haus Cider Mill, for donating labor and equipment to care for the crops.
Even smaller donations got a shout out on Facebook. This one thanks a donor for replacing a child’s bike that had burned in the fire.
And new hashtags were being added, including #payitforward, #shoplocal, and #helponeanother, while #anguilitough continued to be attached to each post.
Now, a week later, the farm has a new temporary building up (posted on August 1) and donated equipment, and has brought together a community who feel like they’ve made a significant difference for a local business that’s important to them.
Taking to Facebook allowed the farm to communicate with its customers during a disaster and kept their business going. The posts could be broken down into three types:
- Updates on how they’re responding to fire
- Thank you notes
- Business advertising
All of these were important, but the thank you notes likely had the biggest impact. They showed personal photos each time, illustrating exactly how the help made a difference to the Anguili farm, and it let the community know that it’s efforts made a tangible impact on the farm market.
And these posts were so popular, not only did hundreds “like” them, but hundreds of people are also reposting the posts on their own Facebook pages.