BY RACHEL ENDECOTT
Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 conference in Nashville, TN. This conference brought together agriculturalists from across the US and Canada for a day and a half of learning about how to communicate “beyond the choir” about agriculture, with a focus on using social media. I was fortunate to be chosen to attend this conference, and even more fortunate to have my registration sponsored by the Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
In no particular order, here are my Top 5 Take-Home Messages from Agvocacy 2.0.
- Be yourself! Consumer research from the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, as well as feedback we received from 3 “mom bloggers” at the conference suggests that folks outside of agriculture want to know about how their food is produced, but also want to know about the people producing it.
- Pick your platform. It’s hard to be all things to all people. Pick a social media platform you are comfortable with and make it your go-to resource. For me, I prefer blogging and Facebook over Twitter, but I learned more about how I might use Twitter in the future.
- Don’t over-spew information. The social media world can lead to information overload incredibly quickly. Putting some thought into your topics, posts, and tweets can lead to positive agvocacy impacts amongst your readers and followers.
- Stick to what you know. Use your personal experiences and knowledge to communicate with other ag and non-ag folks via social media. This not only increases the level of trust of your readers or followers, it also allows them a more personal view of what you do (see take-home message #1, “Be yourself!”).
- Face-to-face communication is still key. This conference focused heavily on social media, and I think those platforms are incredibly powerful tools to use in agvocacy. However, we cannot forget that the people we interact with on a daily, face-to-face basis might also have questions about agriculture and food production. What better resource to address those questions than someone involved with producing that food?
I’d like to again thank the Research, Education, and Endowment Foundation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association for sponsoring my registration for this conference. I learned so much and made great new friends from across the US and Canada who are passionate about agriculture. It’s nice to know there are kindred spirits out there doing their best to advocate for agriculture!