I’ve been working in the agriculture industry for six years, and since coming on board, I’ve been intimately involved in almost every dairy issue or crisis as well as attending almost every one of our industrywide crisis drills.
Here’s what I recommend you do soon — if not today — to prepare, because the worst time to get control of your online presence is during an actual issue or crisis.
1. Google search your farm and business.
What pops up for the Business or Knowledge Graph? Most businesses probably don’t even know what this is, but it is information Google has collected from various websites about your business. If you haven’t claimed it, it’s pretty easy to do.
Just click the link that says, “Claim This Business.” Google will walk you through the process of verifying that you own the business through your business phone. Make sure you can answer this phone when Google sends you its online code. If you aren’t there, then you will have to verify the business via postcard, which will take a few weeks.
Once you have control, you’ll be able to put in your hours, add photos, and see when someone reviews your farm or business. You’ll also be able to dispute bogus reviews, which is what happens a lot during a crisis.
You should also review the top articles that come back for your farm or business. If there are negative articles already, I can show you how to push them down on the search engine results page.
2. Do a Facebook search for your farm or business.
A quick search of your farm or business’ page will help you find out what shows up first. If you don’t have a Facebook page, but you see one, click on the result. This could be a Facebook community page, and you can claim ownership of this page, just like with Google Business Graph.
If you have a Facebook page, make sure you understand who is in control of it. Many farms have family members who control the page. Know who that person is and how to get in touch with them quickly. I would recommend you change some initial settings on the Facebook page:
- Allow others to post to the page but only through moderation. Make sure no one can automatically post to your page.
- Add a banned words list. There are certain words that you don’t want people to use when they comment or try to post to your page. If they use that word, it will automatically be hidden from your business feed and you’ll be able to block the user and delete the comment before anyone sees it.
- Set the profanity filter to strong.
3. Do a quick search for your farm or business on the other social media platforms.
Search Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others for your social media presence.
If you already have a profile or page on these platforms, make sure you know who is using it and is in charge of it. Make sure they can edit, change the settings to private, or take it down if necessary.
4. Get control of your farm or business website.
If you have a website for your farm or business (which I recommend), make sure you know the person who has access to it and can change the information on it quickly. If the website doesn’t allow access because it’s too old or has issues, then consider rebuilding it so you can control the content.
A crisis is not the time to be chasing down answers to these questions. Please consider taking the time to look into this, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or through my social profiles. If you are a dairy farmer and you would like training on things like this, please check with your local checkoff or want to know more information about your checkoff, please consider joining our Dairy Checkoff Facebook group.