As of July 2020, Facebook has 2.6 billion active users. YouTube has 2 billion, Instagram has 1.8 billion, and TikTok has 800 million, totaling to 7.2 billion active users every day. That’s 80 times more active social media users every day across those platforms than there are acres of soybeans planted in the United States each year.
Using these social media platforms can drive customers to your agricultural business. You just have to know what platform to use and how to use it.
Before you put your agricultural enterprise online, ask yourself these questions:
- Will I actually use this platform regularly?
- Who is my audience? Who am I talking to (saying “everyone” is not an answer here)?
- What am I trying to say?
If you have answers to all of these questions, you have a good start.
Once you have those answers, understanding the differences between the platforms is important. That plays into who you’re talking to and what you’re trying to say. The general breakdown looks like this:
- Facebook is for people to connect with family and family-style locations. Places that hold events, are comfortable with video, and provide ways for families to connect do very well on Facebook. Baby Boomers, the Silent Generation, and Generation X make up the largest chunk of Facebook users.
- YouTube is where people go to learn and be entertained. If you have something to teach or show and are comfortable making videos, this is a good place to go. Millennials and Generation Z are the most active users.
- Instagram is a photo-heavy platform where people go to keep in touch with their favorite brands, celebrities, friends, and family all in one place. The point of Instagram is to archive your life, show off a little, and keep up with the things you care about. Instagram is also the most popular platform for selling specific items to consumers.
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Because this extrovert is having a hard time staying sane, 🙃 I’m pretty excited to be part of this kid’s segment this week with American Dairy Association North East. 🕙 Every morning at 10 a.m. EST, a ten minute segment will air on their page (on Facebook) about a specific part of our dairy farm. Check out the schedule below 👇 . . Monday: Calf Care . . Tuesday: Cow Care . . Wednesday: Cow Nutrition . . Thursday: Learn how to milk a cow . . Friday: LIVE segment from my kitchen as we make something fun! . . Let us entertain your kids for a little bit each day this week!
- TikTok is a video platform with all styles of content that is rapidly gaining popularity. While mostly for Generation Z, there are plenty of Millennials, you just have to look in the right place. TikTok can be used for nearly any purpose, but the most popular accounts are almost solely for the entertainment value.
In addition to what I’ve shared above, here are examples of popular and successful accounts on each platform:
Look at Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Young’s is a family dairy farm with all the trappings of a classic agritourism location, including its own brand of ice cream. It’s loved by locals and has visitors from all over the country come every year. On Facebook, the farm has 104,000 likes and plenty of loyal fans, which contribute to its popularity. Consistent and frequent posts of what’s happening at the farm, personal family moments, customers in action, employees, and photos of their ice cream keep fans engaged.
A great example of an agricultural business on YouTube is Cole the Cornstar. Cole is a corn farmer from central Iowa. His videos are entertaining, vlog-style clips from his and his family’s daily life. He puts new, scientific-based practices to use, explains how farms work day-to-day, and exemplifies the polite and wholesome mid-westerner. This plays well into educating various different audiences about real-life grain farming in the Midwest. With 387,000 subscribers, he is well on his way to cornstardom.
One of my favorite social media agriculturalists is The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers in Great Falls, Montana. Providing a hand-made product in America is awesome but adding a family history of making and using wool products in vibrant colors and textures makes for an incredible visual appeal. Her 41.8 thousand followers on Instagram would agree. The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers is an excellent example of taking the family business to a new level.
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Zoe by @cocoknits! A beautiful lightweight, open cardi made from Soka’pii. Learning the Cocoknits Method has been on my to-do list all year & I am looking forward to having the digital class here at the studio sometime this fall/winter! Speaking of our studio + Cocoknits, we now have a variety of tools here! Excited to be bringing in all my fav fiber thangs! . . . #thefarmersdaughterfibers #knitstagram #knittersofinstagram #knittersofravelry #handknit #slowfashion #handdyed #yarnporn #knitstagram #yarn #knitting #crochet #makermovement #markersofinstagram #maker
TikTok is one of the newest and most popular apps on the market right now. Someone who is taking full advantage of that to educate the young(er)(est) generation right now is Lacie Evans in Ohio. She has a small herd of mixed breed ex-show heifers and is using them as an educational tool on her TikTok account, @laciemevans, with a follower count of 562.4 thousand, a good amount of whom are actively involved in her cows’ lives, even naming one. Lacie answers questions from her followers to create an informative account for people who are not exposed to agriculture in their everyday life.
So if you want to promote your farm on social media, do your research about your customers, stay genuinely yourself, know where you should be and who you should be talking to, and see what some others are doing. Most importantly, have some fun with it and don’t be afraid to try new things. You may even end up liking TikTok.
Jessy Woodworth is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she studied agricultural communication and animal sciences.