Dino Giacomazzi is the fourth genera-tion manager of his family’s dairy farm near Hanford, Calif. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the need for dairy farmers to engage consumers through social media. Social media is about having conversations. But it’s also about telling stories, your story, the story of how you care for animals and manage natural resources. Your story is the true story of agriculture—not the one being told by PETA.
Stories are being told online using text, pictures, video, and audio. The delivery mechanisms have names like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. With all these different places to post your story and have a conversation, it can become a daunting task to handle it all. How are we as producers supposed to manage a business, spend time with family, volunteer locally, and participate in all these online conversations?
One of the solutions is using a tool like Tumblr. Tumblr is a short-form blogging website and mobile app that lets you post a variety of message formats to Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter all at once. Think if it as an all-in-one social media app.
From the Tumblr mobile app you can post video, pictures, text, quotes and links, and you can host chats. The Android app comes with a desktop widget that gives you one-click access to each of these features.
Once you have composed a message or snapped some pictures or video, Tumblr lets you customize the Facebook and Twitter posts individually. This is a good feature because you don’t want the Twitter hashtags showing up on the Facebook post, and you want to make sure your Twitter post doesn’t exceed the 140-character maximum.
On www.Tumblr.com, your posts are listed in reverse chronological order and people can follow your story and watch it unfold as it happens. You can also schedule posts for future deliveries. This is a handy feature for consistent posts—for example, if you want to profile a different cow each week and call it "Moo-Cow Monday."
You could take a picture of ol’ Bessie on Saturday, write a bit about her and have it automatically post for you Monday at noon. Don’t forget "Tractor Tuesday," "Weed-Whacker Wednesday" … you get the drift!
The best reasons to be engaged in social media are the things you learn and the friends you make.
Signing up for Tumblr is easy and free. It only takes a few minutes to download the app and connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Tumblr is one of many multi-platform blogging tools, and the big social media sites have useful mobile apps, as well. The trick is to try out a few and stick with the ones that fit you best.
Engaging in social media provides many benefits to your business and the dairy industry in general. But I have found the best reasons for participating are the things you learn and the friends you make along the way. If you are participating in social media via Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter or others, I’d like to hear how you do it. Drop me a line @dairydino so I can learn something from you, too!
- May 2013