As more and more farmers and other small agribusinesses arm themselves with smartphones and tablet computers, it’s no surprise that social media has taken root in the agriculture industry. Clay Cooper, director of client services at Plan B advertising agency, points to recent social media success stories such as the AgChat Foundation and a 2011 study by the American Farm Bureau Federation showing that up to 76% of young farmers and ranchers use social media.
"Without question, the platform is primed for use by agribusinesses," Cooper says. "But how does one begin to tap this powerful medium? It’s best to start looking at some practical, straightforward applications."
Cooper suggests six ideas for engaging in social media that can help farmers and small agribusinesses begin to build and strengthen relationships—and opportunities.
- Sign up for Twitter and participate in chats. You can follow ag-related conversations more easily if you search for common agriculture hashtags such as #AgChat, #farmtoschool or #sustainableagriculture.
- Create a farm blog that shares what you do on the farm and how you troubleshoot problems along the way. If you need inspiration, here is a link to a group of great farm bloggers.
- Create a list of trusted industry sources and email a newsletter of relevant and interesting stories.
- Attend tradeshows to network in person and collect Facebook and Twitter contact information, then follow up digitally after you return home.
- Audit and update your farm website for search engine optimization (SEO). Start here for some basic SEO tips.
- Join webinars (or even host one) that are focused on industry topics you want to learn more about.
This kind of social media and conduct outreach can be done even on a limited budget, Cooper says.
Additionally, the AgWeb App Store has dozens of relevant farming apps to help boost your smartphone’s IQ. Visit today!