Have you met someone at a party or gathering and then found out you share a passionate interest? You know, if I went to a Chicago Bears party and ran into a Pack fan, we are immediately friends. We have that common passion, which gets us talking and we may then discover we have more in common. I’ve found that I’m more apt to give that person more leeway if their interests don’t match up completely with mine. For instance, he’s got to have some brains if he loves Green Bay, so I’ll hear him out about his ideas on (insert the topic).
This works the same online as well. Online groups (hobbies, fitness, sports, food, etc.) are very popular, and they are a lot like topical cocktail parties (minus the cocktails unfortunately). Facebook knows how popular these groups are from its research. There are more than 100 million groups where a lot of online conversations are happening, and Facebook is working to add more features.
Why are groups more popular?
It feels safer: It’s safer to be in a group around a common theme than it is to just post publicly. You never know who’s going to comment on your personal post, but in a group, you start to understand who is going to answer and who isn’t.
You are with your tribe: Sometimes it’s easier to talk with the people who like the same things you like. People tend to help each other out. People are passionate and give you insights on the topic of choice.
You get notifications: Many online groups will email or send you an application notification to remind you of the discussion taking place within them. Facebook does this quite a bit with groups as well as putting the posts within your newsfeed (more than just a standard public post). They know you are more likely to engage in the group than on a random friend’s post.
The social networks want people to stay connected and bring them together with the people that matter to you. Groups do that.
This works for farmers as well. I see it every day as I work within large farmer groups online. And I totally get why farmers like to talk within these groups. They have inside jokes about cows, they ask each other questions about how to work with the cows, they sell each other cows, and they discuss their favorite things … mainly cows. The farmers might not all get along on their favorite breeds or the way they farm or which farm size is best, but there’s a camaraderie in taking care of these animals.
The problem is that if you want to reach the consumer, they aren’t in these groups. In fact, most of them don’t even know farmer groups exist.
Consider joining groups not associated with ag
Consumers are spending time in other groups, such as new moms, cheese foodies, Peloton nutrition, and their favorite sports team. These groups are powerful places to meet consumers and in a relatively safe space of a private group.
I’m not suggesting farmers stop talking within your farmer-focused groups. I’m just asking to allocate some time to consumer groups where you have an interest. I believe you’ll find a lot of interesting things happening in these groups and when people find out you are a farmer, there will be lots of questions and a lot of trust (because you’ve been an active member of their group).
Are you interested in joining online groups and aren’t sure where to get started? Are you a dairy farmer who needs help getting started in social media and connecting with consumers? Your local and national dairy checkoff can help — please reach out to them via dairy.org or me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to learn more about your national dairy checkoff, you can join our Facebook group or visit dairy.org.