Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 24) is Ag Day on Campus at UW-Madison sponsored by the Collegiate Farm Bureau. Even though I am not a part of the organization, I am going because I want to help spread the word about agriculture to consumers. With my recent brush with social media and this event tomorrow, it got me thinking about how I would take the connections I meet tomorrow and get them connected to other social media agvocates. Below is how I am going to do it.
1. Get to know them
The first step when you are at an agvocacy event is to give an introduction. In this introduction, make sure to give them your name, where you live and your connection to agriculture. At an agvocacy event, giving the person your connection to agriculture will make your opinions more sincere and give you credibility. After your introduction, ask them to tell you about themselves.
2. What parts of agriculture are they familiar with
Once you know each other and feel you can share information, it is important to ask them what they know about agriculture. It is really important to let them talk and not jump all over them when they get something wrong. We have to remember, they don’t live and breathe agriculture like we do. When they are done talking, talk about your experiences with what they just talked about. Give them stories about the practices you have witnessed and don’t talk in absolutes (i.e. “all farmers use the right practices when dehorning cattle”). Instead, tell them the truth about what you have witnessed and what you feel most farmers do. Then tell them, there are others out there that do not follow these practices. This will give you more credibility because you are more transparent with them.
3. What parts of agriculture do they want to know more about
After you have talked with them about what they know, ask them if they have any questions about what they don’t know. Is there anything that they hear in the media that they have a question about? Make sure to be upfront with them if you don’t have the answers they want to know about. The key is to direct them towards people that can give them a good answer, which bring me to point number four.
4. Tell them about social media agvocates in these areas
Once you are done with your conversation, make sure to direct them to social media agvocates that are knowledgeable about the agricultural issues you discussed. This will encourage them to connect with these people to get even better answers and examples. Don’t forget to connect with them as well. A great way to get yourself, the consumer and other social media agvocates connected is to have a tweet that goes something like this:
Hey @JPlovesCOTTON, @CONSUMER wants to know more about cotton. I thought you two should get connected.
This will put all of your Twitter handles in one tweet and allow you to interact with that person afterwards.
5. Actually interact with them
After the event, it is really important to actually interact with the person. The first step is to follow the person on Twitter. After that, make sure the social media agvocates and consumer are talking about the issues. From here, keep in touch with the person and keep interacting with them. The more you talk with them on social media, the more likely they are to come to you for agriculture know-how than the alternative. That is the point of all this after all, to be the consumers first choice for answers related to agriculture.