@DairyBusiness: A producer's tips on social media
By Kayla Jentz
While I love social media, and love sharing my own take on it, I realize that there are many, many others out there who would love to do the same. So, I’m giving up this month’s space to a producer guest, Carrie Mess, whom I consider to be an all-star when it comes to promoting dairy via social media. She’ll take it from here!
It seems like everyone is using Facebook, Twitter or their blog to connect to a world beyond their front porch. Dairy farmers can use the same tools to connect our customers with the food they eat. These are my simple tips to reaching out and connecting to strangers via social media:
• Ask questions! Everybody has an opinion or a story and many of them want to tell it. It can be as simple as asking how the weather is where they live or a question about what their favorite type of cheese is.
• Don’t be afraid to have fun. Social media is all about being social! It’s not the place for stuffy speech and an uptight attitude. Be yourself. Social media is made to create conversations. Do you want to have a conversation with a robot or with a real person?
• Share stories about your farm and your family, but remember to also share the parts of your life that aren’t about the farm. If all you ever talk about is farming, you’ll get other farmers to listen, but you won’t connect as well with non-farmers. We all have hobbies and interests that don’t require milking twice daily, talk about those too.
• Share! Share! Share! See something you think others may find interesting? Maybe a blog post made you laugh or think? Share it! You don’t have to be witty and interesting all the time, you can share other people’s interesting and witty thoughts and ideas and then converse about what you shared.
• Photos rule the internet. I take a picture almost every time we have a new calf born on our farm, and I post it to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. People love to see baby calves. Taking a picture and posting it right from your smart phone is a simple and easy way to share what you’re doing on your farm.
• Explain any industry terms that you use or don’t use them. Think about it, the word “heifer” is a part of our everyday vocabulary, but most people don’t have the word for a pre-calf female cow at the tip of their tongue.
• You know what they say about wrestling with pigs… Even when someone attacks you, or your method of farming, don’t attack back. Provide facts but don’t fight with activists. You won’t change their mind but the silent onlookers are watching and your words will help form the view they have about farming.