Social media has become one of the most useful tools farmers and agriculturalists have to show consumers off the farm how food is produced and its value to a healthy diet. A group of U.S. dairy farmers recently learned that that’s not only true in our country, but for consumers around the globe.
In fact, residents of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that the producers visited as part of a U.S. Dairy Export Council trade mission boast the most social media accounts per person in the world. Consider how many such accounts you personally have — maybe Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are on the list for a total of four.
Becky Levzow, a Wisconsin dairy farmer on the trip, shared on the January 19 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream that around Dubai, where they visited to promote U.S. dairy products, internet users average eight to 10 social media accounts. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 80% get their news from social media.
Those facts are really important to recognize when U.S. dairy is looking to promote their product in this emerging market, Levzow continued. “Through posts and stories, we can really share about cheese and dairy experiences,” she said. “We can connect with key opinion leaders, and these are the people we really want to help tell our story. We want to be able to tell what we do, why we do it, and the pride we have in the dairy industry and the products we have.”
Cooking it up on screen
The four farmers who joined the November trade mission got exactly that opportunity when they taped cooking segments with two local TV personalities and food bloggers, one of whom was a dietitian, while the other was a decorated chef. Their combined social media following reaches more than 87,000 people.
Prior to the three-hour taping with a professional kitchen and film crew, Levzow described that they shared information and photos of their farms with the bloggers. For the video segment, pairs of the U.S. dairy farmers prepared a roasted pepper queso dip and a charcuterie board with the professionals to showcase and discus the versatility of dairy. “People are really hungry for recipes and new trends of what they can do with products,” described Levzow, a self-proclaimed lover of cooking.
During the preparation, the farmers discussed their farms and U.S. dairy farming with the hosts while answering their questions. The finished videos were posted for followers to hear those stories and have the ability to try the dairy-based recipes for themselves.
“This was key to the whole experience of that afternoon because we could really tell for ourselves the story,” Levzow believes. “So many times, I think things get lost on social media. This was a real story from the real people that do it.”
To watch the recording of the January 19 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is also available as an audio-only podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
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