Nov. 10 2017 07:00 AM

Reaching people online is one thing, but actually engaging them is when communication and education can truly begin.

“Where should I be spending time online so I can reach consumers?” This question always comes up while I’m training farmers and ag communicators about how to connect with consumers.

My response is that it depends on whom you are trying to reach.

Right now, most people are spending their time on Facebook. Now, I can’t tell you exactly how they are spending their time, but we know they like watching videos since these seem to be the only communications that go viral.

Following Facebook is YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit. Check out the rest of the infographics on where people spend their time online at Dreamgrow.

Image courtesy of Dreamgrow
If you want to influence people, you need to have something more than just an opportunity to reach them because “reach” is very different than “engagement.” Engagement (measured in comments and shares) is when you know you are affecting another person.

My hope is that farmers become very targeted with their audience. That they would define exactly who they are and know what they believe. Then, they can do their best to connect with and relate to them.

I think the easiest and most effective way to engage your audience is through a common cause or hobby. In other words, what do you like doing besides farming?

Is it cooking, raising kids, running races, eating wings, flying drones, snowboarding, weight-lifting, watching football, or something different?

When you have something in common with your audience and you choose to participate in those hobby groups online, you’ll have a better chance at influencing them with your insider knowledge of agriculture.

If you need help using different social networks, the dairy checkoff has step-by-step instructions inside the Dairy Hub. Or, you can reach out to me at, and we’ll connect you with your local, state, or regional checkoff staff.

Don Schindler
The author is a Senior Vice President of Digital Initiatives at Dairy Management Inc.

Join us on Monday

Dave Barbano

The webinar “Fine tune herd care with new milk analyses” will be held on Monday, November 13, at noon (Central time).

Milk quality specialist, Dave Barbano, Cornell University, will discuss milk fatty acid (FA) testing technology. The mid-infrared milk analysis tool is a new concept for improving efficiency of milk production when used in combination with other herd data. The webinar is sponsored by Quality Liquid Feeds (QLF).

Register at