Looking back on my recent push at social media, I have found some things I cannot live with out and some things I with I had before I started. Here are my top five needs to become a social media agvocate.
1. Social Media Strategy
The most important thing you need to become an amazing social media agvocate, is a strategy. Laying out your goals and who your audience is can help keep you on the right track and guide your message. For instance, the objective of my blog is to help farmers and agriculturalists become agvocates on social media and my audience is farmers and agriculturalists that want to reach consumers using social media. I actually sat down before I started this blog and laid out my goals and how to measure success. Even after you make a social media strategy, it is important to remember that you can always change your goals and audience. You should be doing something that you enjoy and love to take part in 365 days a year. For a blog strategy (that can help drive all of your social media plans as well) check out Stanford Smith’s FREE 7-Minute Blog Strategy.
2. A Blog
The foundation of your social media initiatives should be your blog. This is where you can shed light on your experiences and create a genuine conversation about agriculture. Providing your viewpoint to the conversation is important and the best way to do that is through a blog. I personally prefer to use WordPress, but there is also Tumblr, Blogger and many other blogging platforms.
3. A Smartphone
A smartphone is one thing every beginning social media agvocate should have because it makes becoming a social media rock star easier. I use my smartphone almost every day to check my Twitter feed, read blog posts and so much more. It is always with me and I can use it to check social media whenever I have some down time, which is typically on the bus ride to work in the morning. Maybe you will find time when you are out in the field, eating (a quick) breakfast or maybe when you actually get a break in a day.
You will come to realize that you will begin to love social media and want to be in on the conversation all the time. This happened to me when I first started and I almost used too much data on my phone. It is really important to understand your data plan for your phone so you don’t have a massive bill waiting for you at the end of the month. I learned to use WI-fi whenever possible.
Twitter is where most social media agvocates across the nation share their blog posts and have conversations with consumers and other agvocates. This powerful tool allows you to interact with people in a totally different way than other social media platforms. Through hashtags (#) and Twitter handles (@), you are able to seek out people you want to listen and talk to in 140 characters or less. This is cliche, but you can actually have a conversation with someone without blasting out the information. The Tao of Twitter is a great book that really helped explain Twitter for me.
5. A Posse
Undoubtedly after a few weeks, you will hit a lull. You will find that being a social media agvocate is not very fun anymore. People are not looking at your blog posts and you have been sitting at 100 Twitter followers for two weeks. This happens to all beginning agvocates. Having a posse (group of aspiring social media agvocates) will help you get through the initial hard times. You can get a posse by convincing other agriculturalists around you to become social media agvocates with you. Lean on your posse for support, share tips on what works and what doesn’t, share each others content and give feedback on blog posts so everyone knows that they are on the right track. This posse is all about encouragement and making sure you stick with becoming a social media agvocate.
Social media is a great avenue to tell your story, but it is something that needs to be understood first. Make sure you have these top five needs for becoming a social media agvocate before you start, otherwise you may fall flat on your face.