Keck: Social media strategy is important
“It all starts with a strategy,” explained Environmental Tillage Systems Marketing Director Caitlin Keck. “When we get into our marketing plan and our marketing strategy, social media is going to be a subset of that.”
Keck discussed the use of social media in agricultural businesses and important considerations that should be made when deciding what the best individual strategy is.
Businesses should first set goals for marketing before planning out social media goals, as it gives overall direction.
“We need to know how social media will support that business plan and fit into that greater marketing plan,” she said. “Then we need to get into the fine details of our budget for social media.”
It is also important to consider how much time a business has to put toward social media use.
Keck commented, “Do we have one to two hours per week, or do we have five to 10? That also depends on how much our business relies on social media for finding customers and getting sales, too.”
Identifying competitors and studying their social media strategy is also important to figure out how to make a business stand out.
“The next step after really honing in on that strategy is getting specific, and that’s really the meat and potatoes of our social media plan,” said Keck.
The type of content that a business posts will be specific to their operation type.
“If we are a produce business selling to consumers some examples would be, we could post about when we plant our produce and some of the new varieties that we’re growing,” she continued. “We could also post recipes, and that might encourage people to have more ideas about what they can do with their product.”
Determining what type of people a business wants to follow them will also influence their choices of content to share.
She commented, “If we need to connect with those folks, how are we going to get them to follow us?”
Especially if more than one person will be posting content, it is important to set guidelines around what the business is and how it will be represented on social media.
There are several social media platforms that businesses can choose, depending on their target audience and what type of content they want to share.
One that has grown rapidly in recent years and is very popular with younger demographics is Instagram.
“It’s basically a platform that’s image driven. It has a bunch of filters where we can make something look vintage or like it’s summer or winter or that kind of thing,” said Keck.
She noted that the focus of images tends to be on art, food, entertainment and clothing, so agricultural businesses in those sectors may find it appealing.
“On the other hand, if we’re doing something in production agriculture where we want to advocate for our particular segment of the industry, Instagram would be another good option for us,” continued Keck.
Another commonly used platform is Facebook, which excels in building relationships with people, but it is more challenging to connect with a broad audience.
“It takes a little bit of time to build up those people that follow our page and sometimes it takes advertising dollars,” commented Keck.
Because there is not a 140-character limit per post, Facebook is ideal for sharing articles and links with followers.
Twitter’s strength is the ability to quickly post or re-tweet someone else’s information, meaning that the business doesn’t have to come up with all of their own content.
“It’s limited to 140 characters. The point of Twitter is connecting with people outside of our immediate followers and using hashtags to do so,” explained Keck.
According to Keck, the third step after selecting platforms is creating a content calendar.
First, businesses will need to decide what content is relevant to their followers and reflects their business.
“Are there some key events that are connected to the industry such as conferences, meetings and business milestones, or there could be other key publications in our industry that we would use as a resource for sharing materials with our followers,” she said.
A helpful strategy for Keck has been taking on day a week to schedule content for the following week.
“I will flag articles or bookmark webpages throughout the week,” she explained. “I’ll save it for Friday afternoon and spend an hour or two reading all of the content, figuring out if this is something that reflects my brand and would be good to share with my followers.”
Keck noted that some content needs to be shared in real time, but by planning the week ahead, businesses know that they’re covered regardless.
“Scheduling content is just a good way to make sure that we have something out there during the week, and then we can always fill in as things happen in our business throughout the week,” she concluded.
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.