I asked several dairy farmers who are successful in connecting with consumers through social media for their best tips. I'll be sharing these tips over the next few blog posts. Here are tips from Amanda Freund, a Connecticut dairy farmer and marketer of CowPots:
I was an early adopter of Facebook (joining in 2003) but a bit late to the Instagram and Twitter world. It can be overwhelming to enter into a platform where so many people have been generating content for years. These are my recommendations for your success:
Find a time of day that best suits your schedule and try to make it a routine to post in that window of time. My first chore of the day is feeding cows, and while I’m waiting for the grain auger to fill the mixer wagon, I try to post then. It helps you set a time goal and provides your users with fresh daily content to look forward to.
Post what matters to YOU.
You may notice that calf, dog, and baby pictures get a lot of “likes.” But if that’s not your personal interest, then don’t force it. Your best content will be what intrigues you personally. If it’s old equipment, diesel engines, or silage bunks . . . well then, post about that! There is an audience for EVERYTHING, and if you use the right hashtags, they’ll find you. It feels like way too much of a chore if you are trying to post about farm stuff that’s not appealing to you.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Who do you like following and why? What hashtags do they use? There’s no shame in posting similar content and reusing hashtags.
It’s not all cows, crops, and cheese.
Don’t discount the value in posting about non-farm stuff. As dairy farmers, we need to continue to find unique ways to reach consumers, but they’re not necessarily following farmers or searching for agriculture-related hashtags. So, if you go fishing, make pottery, take lots of hikes, or have a leprechaun collection, share that content and find the hashtags that best relate to those specific areas of interest.
Organize your photos.
Admittedly, I’ve never been good at this. But consider it your “rainy day fund.” Sometimes there’s just not much to take a picture of. If you have your photos saved and somewhat organized, you’ll find it much easier to pull an old picture that might be relevant to a current topic or time of year. If you have to search for a few minutes to find the right picture, you’ll probably give up and not post (this happens to me often).
You are not alone.
If your biggest concern or fear about getting online and posting pictures and stories to social media is the potential for negative comments and backlash, remember that you are not in this alone. There is a wide network of farmers who are well groomed in engaging with all sorts of people online, and we are here to support you. If you are uncomfortable with answering someone’s question or responding to negative comments, use Dairy Management Inc., local checkoff teams, and other farmers in social media to help.
The author is a Senior Vice President of Digital Initiatives at Dairy Management Inc.