Connecting the People & Science of Food & Farming
Why should people interested in food and farming care about social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? It’s really quite simple. Mass influence. Facebook reached 150 million users nearly three times faster than a cell phone. If you’re not at the table, you can’t be a part of constructing the conversation about nutrition, science and agriculture – nor can you counter the misinformation campaigns around food, fuel, feed or fiber.
Activist groups are becoming increasingly active on social networks and understand the power of messaging, according to Cause Matters Corp. research. The Humane Society of the United States has had a more than 100-fold increase in their Twitter following since January 2009. Videos on animal rights and environmentalism increase 30% monthly. The conversation is happening about food and farm – even if farmers and ranchers aren’t at the table talking. Sensationalism is replacing science – and we all stand to lose.
Food is an extremely hot issue – and it’s time for people with firsthand experience to leverage that through social media leadership to influence public opinion, rather than react to rhetoric. It will take experts from all sides of the food plate. Only 98.5% of the population aren’t in food production. How can we expect them to understand the origins of food, today’s practices or what’s really happening if we’re not using new media to communicate?
Cause Matters Corp. will help you grow the voice for your cause. Michele and her team have built communities around food and agricultural issues, such as #AgChat and FoodChat on Twitter. Trainings range from one-hour webinars to a full-day workshop, or Michele will work with you to build social media strategy for your organization. In a nutshell, you get a recipe designed for your audience’s social media needs.
Don’t be intimidated by today’s social world; Michele teaches a common sense approach to social media, combined with real life experiences of how farmers, ranchers, registered dietitians and advocates for agriculture have influenced significant change with these tools.
A list of articles and information geared to assist your organization in planning an effective social media strategy.
A compilation of resources to help the beginning social media user navigate through the various social media channels.
With over one billion users, Facebook ranks as one of the largest “countries” in the world. Originally accessible only to college students, Facebook is now used by teenagers and grandparents alike, with a FB corporate vision of becoming the yellow pages of the world. There are three key parts: personal profile, page (corporate, organization or community) and groups.
When Twitter is mentioned, many scratch their heads, wondering what it is or confused about how it works. It seems as though Twitter comes with its own language, communicating via “tweets”, “re-tweets” and “hashtags” only adds to the confusion (see below). To make Twitter more approachable, think of it as an online coffee shop with 300 million people. It’s a like a large party – just jump into the conversation.
Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board on steroids. It’s the newest social media darling and has driven new levels of e-commerce. Pinterest a fun place to play and test out different images to capture the interest of people outside of ag. You organize your own boards, group boards you allow others to post on or now secret boards.
Blogging almost seems as though its part of the internet dark ages, but blogging is still a valuable tool for reaching out and telling your story. Through the use of stories, experiences and pictures, bloggers are able to reach their readers on a more personal level.
LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals; it’s akin to an online rolodex and one of the most robust job search engines out there. Groups, business pages and networking are popular; it’s a good place to agvocate with the professional crowd, such as dietitians.
When you think of YouTube, you probably envision the videos that have ‘gone viral”: the Peterson brothers, a wedding party dancing down the aisle or Super Bowl ads. But more often, farmers are uploading videos to YouTube to explain how they’re farming and why they’re farming the way they are, such as “Water ‘n Poo”, Derek Klenkenberg and others.
Don’t let all of the hype surrounding new media intimidate you; Michele provides common sense approaches to social media, combined with real life experiences of how to influenced significant change through these tools. As she says “it’s not rocket science, it’s just different.” She’s learned by rolling up her sleeves & building communities around food and agricultural issues, such as #AgChat and FoodChat on Twitter. Her “Growing a Social Farm Conversation” ranges from one-hour webinars to a full-day workshops, or Cause Matters Corp. hand selects a few organizations to work with on a special project basis. Contact her if you’re interested in building a social media hub, personalized training on each of the tools or strategy.
A compilation of posts relevant to social media by Michele and guest bloggers.