Farm to Facebook

(Originally Published March 31, 2014)

One of today’s biggest topics in our agricultural industries is social media. There is no doubt social media is one of the most powerful forms of communication… and it’s growing. It’s convenient and reaches a lot of people, really fast. However it can be hard to convince everyone how important it is to make a presence on social media, and more specifically, Facebook. It is even more important that we convince those who are farming and providing the mass majority on Facebook with the food they’re eating while scrolling through old high school flames’ profiles.

The first problem and doubt I’ve heard over and over again – “I don’t need to be on Facebook. Who is there that I need to be talking to?” I can answer that question… everyone on there is someone you should be talking to. I mean, just look at this video to see how many people are using Facebook, every second, of every day:

The scary part? Every single person on this social media trend is being force-fed information every time they log into their profile. What’s something even scarier? It’s a lot of false facts thrown around to drive people’s opinions and views in a certain way. Conventional agriculture is taking a hard hit, and so are our farmers. That is EXACTLY why all of our farmers need to create a presence and voice on Facebook, to promote their products and the love and passion that is their business and livelihood.

I was recently a part of an eye-opening discussion that broke down what farmers need to focus on while creating their Facebook page:

1. Delegate. Who associated with your business has the personality for social media? Is it you, a spouse, your son or daughter? Maybe it’s even a sister-in-law or grandma. No matter who it is, the person in charge of your Facebook needs to have the patience and determination to put enough information out there to gain a respectful and significant following.

2. What’s your purpose? Are you trying to sell your products? Are you trying to let the public know how important it is to you that you to keep the care of your animals and land a number one priority? Or is it a way to be an advocate of your industry and practices? Know why you’re on social media and what message or image you are trying to portray.

3. Build your credibility. No one is going to listen to you if you’re not supporting your claims with cold hard facts. And if you don’t have a certain and confident answer, BE HONEST ABOUT IT. It’s is completely and totally OK to NOT have an answer. Just be clear that you are unsure of the correct answer, and have a backup of resources that you can guide them too.

4. Know your opponent. There are a lot of different character on Facebook. And in those interesting people, are individuals who are everything you stand against. Remember that arch enemy in high school that had a retort for everything you said? Yea, well they’re back… and they’re back with friends. Thousands of them. It is crucial to be prepared for people to lash out at your Facebook content with negativity, and to know how to respond to them in a professional manner. Always be the bigger person, and know how to listen before you speak.

Acknowledge the importance of the direction our industry is going, and be willing to change with it. Now get out their and show ’em what your made of farmers! And show a little sass while you’re at it 😉

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