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Leveraging Social Media in Agriculture

Whether social media is used for personal or business, it has and will continue to have a tremendous impact on society. It’s not only revolutionized the way we communicate with friends, family and peers, but it has increased the speed of conversation dramatically. It’s also a huge factor in modernizing a business’s connection with their current and prospective customers.

Social media is a series of community-building networks — where we start and build relationships with people whom we may or may not meet in real life — to share our experiences and information.

At Spud Smart, we leverage social media networks to share industry news, feature stories, videos, webinars and podcasts relevant to potato farming. We also use Facebook and Twitter to connect to a community of potato farmers — to elicit conversations about issues that matter most to them.

We approach social media like any other marketing channel; the difference is that we factor it into a complete strategy rather than making it a separate entity.

Since the inception of social media more than a decade ago, a growing number of producers are using it to share their stories about farming and farm operations. Farmers are getting more personal by sharing their experiences in the field, and by communicating opinions on issues that matter the most to them.

One thing we’ve seen is a growing focus on the farm-to-fork movement — educating people about the importance of knowing where our food comes from, in ways that have never been used before.

Social media has also allowed farmers to leverage their networks to keep in touch with their peers, get a glimpse at what other producers are experiencing, and compare notes on overcoming challenges in the industry.

There is, however, still room for improvement for social media in the potato industry from a business standpoint. Most industry professionals and businesses understand the importance of being active on social media as a means of communication — yet, we often find sparse or non-existent engagement.

Since social media is an open dialogue, it enables users to express interest, or disinterest, in products, services or businesses in a public forum. For this reason, savvy agribusinesses utilize numerous social media channels to foster conversations with, and address concerns raised by their customers — the farmer.

Social networking through Facebook and Twitter opens a wide range of doors in terms of connecting ag businesses and retailers with consumers. The same level of engagement with social media can benefit those further up the supply chain as well, as more and more farmers and farm-based businesses are finding out.

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