Social Media CRM: 4 New Ways Farmers are Talking to Consumers
For farmers and ranchers, CRM is shaping up to look like individual faces. Here's how they're making it happen:
1. Training. Fowle, also AgChat foundation president, says that his organization works one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to teach them how to use social media, as happened at the Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference that ran from Aug. 30 to 31 in Chicago.
Other entities, such as the Ohio Farm Bureau, provide step-by-step online guides to "sharing your story through social media."
2. Deciding on a message. The AgChat Foundation site relates that the organization wants to combat "misinformation" coming from "animal rights activists, environmental extremists and other pundits." Fowle points out that the organization's main mission is to give consumers faces and voices to identify with farmers and ranchers—to bridge the gap between them so that those in agriculture can tell their stories straight to the consumers and correct perceptions.
Mike "@farmerhaley" Haley, a grain and cattle farmer in West Salem, Ohio and AgChat Foundation vice president, may be the most public face of farming CRM. Aside from his nearly 11,000 followers, Haley got "#moo" to trend for seven hours on Aug. 2, 2009, to raise awareness about milk prices, according to Farm Industry News. The publication cites a similar effort by pig farmers to trend #oink on Aug. 16, 2009, that called attention to the fact that swine flu was H1N1—"Leave the pigs out of it, support pork producers!"
But organic farmers appear to have a different purpose. They're educating the public about what "organic" means; then explaining why it's important to buy food locally from small, organic farms, according to the November 2009 study "Breaking Down Market Barriers for Small and Mid-Sized Organic Growers" by the California Institute for Rural Studies, funded by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service.