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News & Media: Staff Columns

Four things to learn from activists' playbook

Wednesday, December 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joanna Wavrunek, digital communications manager
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What had been a “should” when it comes to social media for the agriculture community has become a “must.” Millions of customers are ready and willing to engage with farmers. When we don’t take that opportunity, animal rights activists and others are there to fill the void.

As a community, we need to ensure that the social media world is getting the most accurate information from the most credible source – the farmer.

Activists are gaining traction and influencing young customers by being patient and consistent. We can take a cue from our opponents by studying their tactics – something I do each day – to beat them at their own game. The difference: We have the truth on our side.

Here are a few things that each of us learn and do:

Prepare: Create a social media calendar that allows you to crank out content on a regular basis. Keep your posts simple and short. Photos, videos and blogs are the best ways to interact with customers. It is important to create a constant flow of content to keep your audience engaged. Take time to write down a few ideas for each month. Keep in mind upcoming holidays, events and busy periods on the farm and use them to your advantage. The more prepared you are, the less stress you will feel.

Pay attention to trending topics: Every day there is something specific that thousands of people are talking about on social media. Be creative in inserting yourself and agriculture into the conversation.

An example of a recent trending hashtag was #ImNotVeryGoodAt. The social media world was finishing the sentence with a variety of responses. I jumped in to mention a dairy product that most people can’t resist – ice cream! Note that I also used agriculture-related hashtags, such as #AgChat and #UndeniablyDairy to make sure the ag world saw the post too.

Create relationships: We create relationships from values and emotions. Do the same when creating your social media posts. Capture the beautiful sunsets, new-born calves, cows going outside for the first time or your children helping on the farm. Anyone can relate to scenery, family and good times.

Reuse content: If you took the time to create a post, be sure to put it in a folder and use it again. If something you posted attracts a lot of attention on your social channels, make note of it and re-share it again at another time. Farmers know how to recycle on the farm; we need to do the same in the social media environment.

Dairy Strong created professional videos that involved a dairy farmer and a dietitian to be circulated during June Dairy Month. We plan to use the videos again around Thanksgiving because people will be buying dairy foods for their Thanksgiving meals.

Be patient, consistent and optimistic.

You will gain followers and increase engagement. We will take the lead in reaching customers.

The article is a part of the Dairy Strong Blogger series with Progressive Dairyman.

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