Interaction holds key to social media strategy

05/11/2012 09:09:00 AM
Teresa Siles

Teresa Siles, Nuffer, Smith, TuckerWe’ve all heard the stats: 901 million people are on Facebook, 140 million people are on Twitter, and 161 million people are on LinkedIn.

It can be easy to get lured in by the sheer numbers and the potential to reach millions of people with the click of a mouse.

But is it really that easy? More important, how can those in agriculture use interactive capabilities and social media strategically to meet specific objectives?

At Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, we’ve helped scores of clients in all industries, including agriculture, with their online strategies.

Social media is changing the way that we as a society communicate, and, contrary to what some believe, social media is more than just water-cooler chatter.

People are using social media for everything from figuring out what car to buy to finding employment.

On the food front, social media has become a go-to source for recommendations on restaurants, recipes, culinary trends and health information.

And when food safety issues arise, it’s often social media that breaks or spreads the news in a matter of minutes.

While the fear of the unknown may keep many in agriculture and food industries at bay, social media poses numerous opportunities for those who use the tools well.

At the core of social media are the ideas of transparency, open communication and creating two-way dialogue — organizations that embrace these tenants will be successful.

Tips

For those in agriculture considering entering the social media space, consider the following:

  • Listen first. Monitor social media to see who is talking about relevant topics, such as produce, foodservice and culinary trends, and food safety.

Listen to what is being said as well as the sentiment around the discussion. This critical step will help pave the way for your social strategy.

  • Survey your audience. Rather than guess what your audience wants out of your website, newsletter or social profiles, ask them. Simple online surveys will tell you what tools to consider and where to invest your resources.

We’re in the process of a survey such as this for the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program as it considers new forms of online communication.

  • Add value. With so many sources of information readily available, websites and social channels need to provide content that keeps people coming back. Think about what you can provide to add value.

Recently, we helped Markon Cooperative develop its new website and social channels, including its “Markon on Your Menu” section, which serves as a culinary hub of information with operator-specific tools like flavor profiles, usage tips and an extensive recipe library.


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