In the social media age, panelists encourage ag to tell its story |

In the social media age, panelists encourage ag to tell its story

Colorado Beef Council's marketing director, Tami Arnold, speaks at the first day of Colorado Farm Show on the power of social media.
Kayla Young |

At first, officials from the Colorado Beef Council struggled to find the right message on social media.

“When we got started, we were doing what we thought it should be. We thought, recipes and nutrition,” said Julie Moore, the council’s education and nutrition director, noting Marketing Director Tami Arnold hit on the right formula when she added a focus on people.

“Then when Tami started posting the profiles, people … just loved that connection back with agriculture because they don’t have it,” she said.

With the changes, the council has used social media to send its marketing message to 8 million viewers in two months. With five months left to go in the council’s latest push, Arnold said she felt confident the organization would easily reach its end goal of 11 million impressions.

Speaking during the first day of the Colorado Farm Show on Tuesday in Greeley, Arnold pointed to the success of the council’s campaign to encourage farmers and ranchers to step up their game when it comes to an age group that often eludes them — Millennials.

“Social media has been huge for us because we can get information out to the masses in a short amount of time and within that, we are able to get our followers to like and share our posts. That creates a sense of entitlement, that they feel a passion for that brand and are willing to put it out there for others to see,” she said.

Through the council’s social media efforts, she said Facebook followers have increased 64 percent, most significantly among the Millennial age group, a generation highly curious about its food and eager to hear personal stories about producers.

Moore explained that the current campaign was preceded by trail and error.

“We’ve had to step back and really learn and read a lot of articles and blogs and have trainings offered through beef check-off to learn where they’re at and what they’re thinking,” Moore said.

While the divide between urban and rural has grown, so has intrigue about the food system. Questions that seem obvious or trivial to farmers and ranchers may capture the interest of urban consumers, many of whom have never had the opportunity to visit a farm, the panelists said.

“Not everyone can go on a farm tour but they can go to a farmers market. So we help equip people at farmers markets. We’re giving them brochures, we’re giving them signage, we’re giving them help so they are equipped to talked to that consumer face-to-face. It’s not just the grocery store anymore,” Moore said.

Moore encouraged producers to step out of their comfort zone and recognize the value of telling their story by posting videos or blogs about their day-to-day activities.

“Agriculture in general is pretty private. Years ago, I asked my dad how many cattle he had and he said, ‘Well, that’s like telling your bank account. You just don’t tell those things.’ I think we were all brought up that way and this is a new generation. They think differently and they have questions.”

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