The phrase “social media” keeps popping up among agriculture conferences this year.
Its great to see that farmers are trying to teach people how their food is produced. I love speaking on this topic because it gives me a chance to help farmers connect with their consumers.
The question I get at the end of every presentation is the same:
Where do I begin with this social media stuff?
Social media is truly its own world. Through social media, agriculturalists have an opportunity to interact with not just each other but thousands of consumers at a time.
Ohio Farm Bureau put together a very helpful social media guide that covers several popular sites. This is by far the most comprehensive and easy to understand guide I’ve seen. I literally recommend it to everyone I know.
My personal advice is to start with Facebook.
Facebook has many advantages for social media beginners. It is relatively simple to understand and you only interact with people who you actually know/approve.
A great Facebook resource for beginners can be found at CNET.
Once you’ve mastered Facebook, I recommend trying Twitter.
Twitter is a micro blogging website that is made up of 140 character posts similar to Facebook’s status updates. It also requires a little more patience and can be confusing at first, mostly because of the confusing twitter lingo.
Once you conquer the language barrier you need to find people to follow.
For ag folks, a great way to start finding people is to use Follow Farmer. Follow Farmer is a list of farm and agriculture related twitter users who have asked to be listed on an ag only directory.
To be featured on Follow Farmer simply tweet a request to the Follow Farmer account. I would say something like “@followfarmer please add me to the follow farmer list. I am a beef cattle and showpig farmer from Kentucky.”
Once you’ve mastered Facebook and Twitter you’re ready for the big leagues: YouTube and blogging. But that’s another post for another day.