In order to share stories on social media you must focus on what the message is.
Over the last decade social media has become part of our daily lives, both personal to professional. In agriculture farmers and companies have used social media to tell their stories and show what the industry is all about. However, to use social media to its full potential and reach the most people you need to focus on the message you’re trying to convey.
“The keys in my experience are understanding strategically what you’re trying to accomplish and executing in that. We see a lot of people sort of ad-libbing social media and I would argue that they’re not as successful in engaging a broader audience,” Michael von Massow, professor in the department of food, agricultural and resource economics at the University of Guelph, says in the Dec. 15 episode of Seed Speaks.
He adds to share your message correctly you need to think about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. You also need to consider how you’re handling feedback as that’s an important part of building your audience.
Lesley Kelly is a farmer from Saskatchewan who has run the blog High Heels and Canola Fields for the past five years. She shares stories about her family and life on the farm on her blog and social media accounts. When she first started blogging, she didn’t know what she was doing, but as her blog and social media presence grew, she found herself having to take stock of how she was handling social media.
“I really took a step back and thought about what was my tone? Why was I doing it? Why was it important to me? What kind of messages did I want to share? And my overall goal was to share a message or a different perspective and create a conversation,” Kelly explains in the episode.
The tone you use on social media is paramount, von Massow and Kelly both agree. Social media is a dialogue, and you need to be willing to exchange — share your opinion and listen to others.
“One risk that happens in social media is that we turn into very much an echo chamber. And we suffer from confirmation bias; we look and look for people who are saying the same things and have the same perspectives as us. So, I think tone is profoundly important in growing that audience, and building that that dialogue,” von Massow says.
If you’re a company looking at using social media you need to focus on what you want to achieve, Ewa Józefowicz Amador, client services manager with Seed World Group and owner of Ewa Józefowicz Amador Consultancy, explains during the episode.
“I think that it’s very important to have a solid strategy in place,” Józefowicz Amador says. “It is important to identify the goals of any social media activity. So, anything we do in social media, what we want to achieve and to define in general what we want to achieve through our digital presence.”
She adds companies need to engage with their audience and answer any questions to create a meaningful dialogue — this helps to establish connections with customers and build trust.
“I think that the lack of dialogue and engagement with consumers constitutes a big problem. And we still see that a lot of companies and organizations do not have a solid strategy in place on how to communicate with their audience, how to engage with them, how to tell them what they do, and what benefits it brings to the customers and to the general public as well,” Józefowicz Amador explains.
Having a social media strategy isn’t just about making posts and engaging with other accounts though, you also need to analyze the performance of content to see what works and doesn’t, she adds. Data and analytics are an integral part of social media.