The world is at our fingertips. Especially my generation, the Millennials, have grown up with the advancing technology, even taking computer classes as eary as grade school. This is why I think it is so important and one of the easiest things agriculturalists can do to agvocate and make a difference in consumers’opinion of how we raise our animals and grow our crops.
And when you think about it, how has PETA/HSUS and other anti-ag organizations managed to convince consumers of the “horrors “of agriculture? Mostly through social media. The only TV commercial I’ve seen is one for HSUS and that’s focusing mostly on dogs and cats. Anti-ag organizations have already harnessed the power of social media – why shouldn’t we?
I’ve witnessed a huge rise in agriculture getting their fair share of social media and it excites me. I want to see this trend keep growing because that is how we are going to reach consumers.
I currently volunteer as a Twitter moderator for the AgChat Foundation. Every Tuesday evening at 7 pm Central/8 pm Eastern everyone who wants to join the chat on a specific topic of the week can follow #AgChat.
In college, I was an administrator for one of my organization’s Facebook page, so my track record with social media has gotten quite extensive. So, I wanted to give my top 5 tips on agvocating and social media presence. Here goes!
- Don’t apologize – share away! Any good post about agriculture is a good one to share. Don’t hesitate or feel paranoid for being the crazy one that shares all the ag posts. All the best people are the crazy ones. 😉 While I wouldn’t recommend sharing an ag post every single hour of the day (we all know how it annoying it is to see someone go way overboard), a few a day? Hell yes (pardon my language).
- Follow, follow, follow! On every social media account you have, follow as many ag companies, organizations, and farms you can! Not only are they a great source for posts to share, but you never know if you may find your next job or volunteer opportunity! In addition to that, on Facebook, there are so many groups to join that give great tips and insight, as well as the freedom to share your own thoughts and questions to a group with a common interest and endless knowledge from across the world! I absolutely love the Women in Agriculture group, as well as Dairy Girl Network. There are so many more groups, and one for every flavor! All it takes is a little keyboard time in the search box.
- Agvocate to your strengths. Do you love taking pictures at the county fair or of the cute things your calves do or a beautiful corn field during harvest time? Instagram is your place! Do you like keeping things short, sweet, and to the point? Tap into twitter! Are you an expert at organizing boards and finding good solid articles or pictures? Become a Pinterest pro! Whatever social media platform you love the best, use that to your advantage! You’ll be way more inspired to agvocate when you don’t feel pressured that you have to tweet, pin, and post on everything every day. If we all played to our strengths on social media, think of the mass amount of agriculture that would blow every platform up every day!
- Be aware of your social media personality. Outside of your agriculture posts, pins, and pictures, be mindful of what else you post. There are undoubtedly going to be people you don’t know very well or don’t know at all that follow or friend you and if you are agvocating, you don’t want to undermine yourself. Our social media pages are our own personal pages and I’m not trying to tell everyone what they can and cannot post, however, if you post something about antibiotic use in livestock and then the next thing on your profile is a picture of that one night you had a few too many and you made friends with a trashcan, think of what someone would think. Think of the overall message your profiles on your social media accounts send to followers and friends.
- Stay positive. No matter whether you want to rant about something, or are commenting on someone’s post about how cruel farmers are to their animals, stay positive and diplomatic. No one is going to respect you or listen to what you know if you are mixing in expletives and name calling. I know, I know, it’s hard when someone attacks an industry you love, but you have to take the higher road. Every farmer and agriculturalist struggles with it (if you join an ag group you’ll see many a post about this same topic!) but it is necessary to get a positive view of agriculture.
I hope these little tips helped, I wanted to try and think of things that were more unorthodox and less of the common sense things. I hope I got you to think a bit. And with that, my friends, I leave you until next time. Agvocate on!